Family Nature Night goes to the Caribbean

woman reading a story

It may feel like the weather outside is frightful, but Caribbean Night will be so delightful at the Dickinson County Nature Center.

The final Family Nature Night for 2019 has a tropical theme.

“We thought it would be fun to take it outside the parameters of Iowa and think a little warmer,” said Bryanna Kuhlman, environment education coordinator. “The temperatures are starting to drop and the days are getting shorter, so we thought it would be fun to talk about someplace a little warmer.”

The all-ages event will begin 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27, with a look at where the Caribbean Sea is and what countries are located there. Kuhlman will also read a story and talk about some of the animals found in the region, including sea turtles, starfish, conch, coral and sharks.

“We just wanted to introduce a new part of the world and educate about a new ecosystem,” Kuhlman said.

Then families will get to explore a variety of Caribbean-themed activity stations. The program will feature a boat engineering challenge where families can build their own small sailboat from recycled materials and see how well it moves across the water with the help of fan-generated wind.

Participants will also get to create a seashell buddy, make an erupting volcano and “walk the plank” with a balance beam over a pool of water.

“We have something for our engineers, our crafters, our scientists and our active kids,” Kuhlman said.

The event might feature a few other tropical surprises as well.

“It’s fun to learn about different places and different cultures and different animals,” said naturalist Ashley Hansen.

Family Nature Night will continue in 2020 with programs at 7 p.m. the fourth Friday of each month, beginning Jan. 24 with a Winter Camouflage theme. For a full year’s schedule, visit the Programs page at or keep up on the latest on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.