Children receive interactive weather and science lessons at Lake Metroparks Weather Day
Kids create their own tornadoes in a bottle after watching a demonstration at Lake Metroparks Weather Day on Jan. 15. (Bryson Durst – The News-Herald)
Children learned about solar balloons and static electricity, took home bottle twisters and were sprayed in a lake effect demonstration during Lake Metroparks Weather Day on Jan. 15.
The weather day was hosted at the Environmental Learning Center at Jordan Creek Park in Concord Township. The goal is to “get families interested in the weather,” said Outdoor Education Director Heather Freeman.
One way staff aimed to do this was through a lake effect demonstration.
At the beginning of each hour, visitors and staff were scheduled to gather over a large floor map of Lake Erie and its surrounding areas. Outdoor education specialist Erin Litwiler explained how lake effect systems begin when cold air blows across warm lake waters.
After the lesson, the children were sprayed with bubbles representing snow.
The park is also equipped to teach about solar balloons for half an hour every hour. Freeman explained that black balloons absorb sunlight. The air inside heats up and expands, causing the balloon to float when placed in cool air outside.
She added that people can make solar balloons at home using garbage bags.
In between these lessons, visitors participated in laboratory activities. Kids can make their own bottle hurricanes by mixing water, dish soap, and glitter in a bottle, then closing, inverting, and shaking. In an adjacent room, they learned about static electricity and watched how a charged straw moved when they placed their fingers nearby.
Freeman added that outdoor activities are also available along the park’s StoryWalk for visitors who want to get outside. The activities discussed “how to dress for the weather and how to prepare for the elements here in Northeast Ohio,” she said.
Visitor Joe Willaman said his kids seemed to love the park’s scavenger hunt, as well as the lake’s snow and tornado activities.
“They did a really good job, with all the activities and stuff,” he said of the staff.
“I hope families enjoy exploring the weather, and looking at things in a different way, because we all take the weather for granted sometimes,” Freeman said.
The weather day was one of two events scheduled by Lake Metroparks for children outside of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. At the Glen Prison Sanctuary in Kirtland, visitors to Wild Simplicities learned about animals that have similar traits but are not closely related.
The park district also has events scheduled when kids are out for Presidents’ Day on February 19. The Environmental Learning Center will host an open house for Nature Craft Day, and Penitentiary Glen will host a Lost World event about animals that once lived in Ohio at 8668 Kirtland-Chardon Road and Farmpark will host a farm on Monday at 8800 Euclid-Chardon Road, Kirtland.
The Environmental Learning Center changes themes each year for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Presidents’ Day Open House, Freeman said.