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Cabin fever? Go wild with the kids

Published January 10, 2012 8:32 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Parents, grandparents, Big Brothers and teachers. Are you looking for something to do with the kids during the cold months that doesn't involve Wii, Legos or vampire movies?

The annual Great Salt Lake Bird Festival, which is held in May, is calling for entries for its Student Art Contest. The festival invites kids, K thru 12, to submit an original drawing or painting of a black-crowned night heron — the 2013 Festival Spotlight bird — using personal observation, field guides, or Internet resources to research their artwork. An instructional packet with pictures is available at http://www.GreatSaltLakeBirdFest.com. Entries due by April 6.

But the contest, of course, is just the excuse to pry your kids off their butts and propell them outside. Here's your follow-up punches:

Winter Wednesdays of the Tracy Aviary

Admission is "free" every Wednesday through February — you'll still have to contribute $1 toward conservation. Tracy Aviary, 589 E. 1300 South, Salt Lake City (in Liberty Park). The kids can observe and sketch all kinds of birds, including raptors and flamingos. And, yes, black-crowned night herons have been seen in and around the park.

Wild Wednesdays at the Ogden Nature Center

This week at 3:30 p.m. the subject is fantastic falcons. You and the kids can observe a live falcon (much more interesting than a heron), learn about its habits, ecological challenges and killing skills while sketching them. Ogden Nature Center, 966 W. 12th Street, Ogden.

Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area

The WMA is only 20 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City and offers an opportunity to see bald eagles, northern harriers, kestrals, various ducks and barn owls. And you can park the car and walk. Wouldn't that be exotic? 1700 W. Glover Lane (925 South) in Farmington. More info: http://bit.ly/xoIxUQ

And if your teen's interest in the wild world takes off? (Hey, it could happen.) Here's an opportunity to add photography to the mix:

Picture Perfect Winter at the Ogden Nature Center

With another contest to whet their interest, take teens 16 and over to the Nature Center to photograph nature on ice. Winners will be announced Feb. 4. Entry deadline is Feb. 2. Get the details here: ogdennaturecenter.org. There's a small entry fee.