Family Picks

Family Picks: Give a hoot about a weekend of owl classes

CorrespondentJanuary 16, 2014 


Learn a lot about owls, do some owl calls and meet two live owls used in education programs at Piedmont Wildlife Center.


This seems to be the weekend of owls in the Triangle. Several parks are hosting programs designed to teach children about these solitary hunters who live all around us but are seldom seen.

• At 10 a.m. Saturday at Umstead State Park in Raleigh, a ranger will read the classic children’s book “Owl Moon,” the story of a father and child who take a snowy moonlight hike in search of owls. Afterward, children will learn about the owls that live in the park.

The program will last about 90 minutes and registration is required. Call 919-571-4170.

• At 4 p.m. at Wilkerson Nature Preserve in North Raleigh, there will be another opportunity to learn about these nocturnal birds.

During a 90-minute program, children will get to dissect an owl pellet, which is a lump of feathers, fur and bones that an owl regurgitates after swallowing its prey whole. By cutting open the pellets, children can discover the bones of the owl’s last meal.

They will also get to make an owl craft, learn about the owls that live in the nature preserve and learn to hoot like an owl. If they are lucky, they might spark a bit of conversation with a real owl.

The program is best for children ages 6 to 9, and the cost is $3 per child. Register by calling 919-996-6764.

• Last, if you want to recreate the magical nighttime hike from the book “Owl Moon,” Falls Lake in Wake Forest will give you an opportunity on Saturday at 8 p.m. – a night when the moon will be nearly full.

A ranger will lead families on a night hike around Sandling Beach, where they can listen for the calls of screech owls, barred owls and great horned owls that live nearby. The hike will end with a camp fire and s’mores.

Meet outside the Sandling Beach gate at 8 p.m., wearing warm clothes and hiking shoes and carrying a flashlight. Before you go, RSVP to Kate Boysen at

MLK Day activities

Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and the Cary Arts Center is offering a fun way for families to celebrate his legacy this weekend.

From 3-7 p.m. Saturday, the center will host the MLK Jr. Dreamfest, a musical tribute to the great civil rights leader. The day will include dance, song and spoken word. There will be poetry readings, a musical presentation by a Shaw University music professor and a “family frolic dance” led by a DJ.

The event is free and open to the public. For information, call 919-460-4963.

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