Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sarett Nature Center

There is a fall color show going on all throughout southwest Michigan these days. I'm always on the lookout for great pics of fall colors so D and I headed over to the Sarett Nature Center with that goal in mind.

This was our first trip to Sarett so we began with a stop at the main building to pay our admission fee ($6/person including admission to the butterfly house) and get a map.

There are some interesting exhibits inside the main building including a few live animals and few stuffed ones. You can also gaze out the big windows at birds, chipmunks, and squirrels feeding and playing.

I'm fascinated with owls so this figure really appealed to me.

But enough with the inside displays. We were looking for fall color! The docent recommended two trails to us. One trail went to "the overlook" which gives you a treetop view of the surrounding forest, the other trail went down into the marshy area where there are wildflowers to be found.

The trail to the overlook was very easy to follow. It's a wooden walkway just a short distance away from the main building. The overlook is a well built structure that doesn't sway or move. It is a long way up from the ground and wouldn't be a good choice for the vertically challenged.

As you can see, it does indeed put you right out among the treetops!

As you can see (click on the image to view larger), the trees in this area were past peak. A lot of trees had already dropped all their leaves and many others were in the process. At times it looked like it was raining leaves... pretty to see, difficult to capture in pictures.

After our trek to the overlook, we headed in the opposite direction. We went down the hill to the marshy area in search of wildflowers. This hike was more challenging. There is no wooden path, just a narrow ground path that snakes it's way around bushes and marshes.

We probably would have had more luck if we knew what we were looking for. But neither D nor I are wildflower experts and didn't have a flower guide book with us. We only saw a couple flowers here and there. Not much to see for all of our hiking effort.

This is my attempt at capturing leaves raining down (from the tall tree on the left). You probably can't see them but I know they're there. ;-) Note for next year: fall colors come early to the Sarett Nature Center! My guess is the leaves around here were probably looking their best mid to late September. Mostly yellows and golds with a tough of orange. No reds to be seen.

The Sarett Nature Center is located at:

2300 Benton Center Rd.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Phone: (269)927-4832
www.sarett.com

Stay tuned for our experience in the butterfly house!

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