Nestled inside the Hamill Family Play Zoo is the Nature Swap, a special trading post where kids can share stories and artifacts from their time spent in nature.
Here’s how it works: Kids ages five and up can bring in objects they find in nature and exchange them for others like fossils, shells, and rocks. Larger items such as deer antlers and llama fur are fair play, too – as long as kids come by them naturally.
When children bring in items, they are awarded points, not only for the item, but for things they tell us about it. They also receive points just for sharing their stories and feelings about exploring nature. Swappers can use the points they earned to take home (for keeps!) items on our shelves, or they can save up their points each time they swap, adding up points in our computer like grown-ups amass money in a bank.
Swapping guidelines are as follows:
Things you cannot trade:
Examples of things you can trade:
Important Collecting Information:
Never collect in national and state parks, nature preserves, or other areas where natural materials are protected. Never collect any natural materials that are protected by local state, national or international laws. If you aren’t sure, ask!
When collecting, choose your items carefully and leave lots of other natural items for other people to find.
Currently, the Nature Swap is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays year-round. It opens at 10:00 AM and closes one half hour before the Play Zoo exhibit closes.
Download a printer-friendly version of Nature Swap Instructions.
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