Today was a gorgeous, perfect day. Cool, but sunny. Warm enough for shorts and t-shirts but not hot. It probably would have been a bit chilly for water fun. But what we did instead was perfect for this day! First we packed a picnic in the car and headed west. First stop was Arena Cheese. This place has the best cheese curds around. You have to get there early in the day or they won’t be available. I’ve stopped at 2pm before and they’ve been out. So this was about 10am and they had maybe 10 bags left. They are made the same day and they are so fresh and squeaky! Another plus to getting there in the morning is that you can watch the cheese making from the observation window. The kids find this fascinating, most likely because cheese is pretty much their favorite food.
Next up we took the scenic route through Spring Green and up Hwy 60 (seeing 5 deer in the process) and headed up to the International Crane Foundation. Now, maybe my kids are the exception not the norm, but they are fascinated by any kind of museum, zoo, or nature preserve. They love to explore and learn, which is great for me since I LOVE museums and zoos and nature preserves too. ICF was wonderful. We lucked out and arrived just as a tour bus was leaving and left a couple of hours later when another tour bus was arriving. So it was not busy at all and the kids could freely explore. The place has all 15 species of crane that exist in the world. It was so very interesting to see these cranes that live normally in Africa or Asia or Australia. The kids especially liked the Blue Cranes. As a bonus, cranes love wetlands so there are a number of ponds on the property and we saw hundreds of tadpoles. The Whooping Cranes and one other species were actively nesting. There is a fabulous little picnic gazebo and a family education center (read: small museum) too. My daughter liked that the cranes were so visible so that she could draw them in her journal. This is one of her favorite things to do when on adventures lately. So she drew a Whooping Crane on a nest and a Sarus Crane, which is the tallest flying bird in the world. The ICF costs $9.50 for adults but kids 5 and under are free.
Also, today we saw a fawn in our yard. So, fawn in yard, 5 deer while out driving, hundreds of tadpoles and 12+ species of cranes. As G said, “We are really getting into nature now!”
To top it all off, when going to bed tonight we heard sandhill cranes fly over the house squawking. Perfect!