The Buzz About Bees
Students will learn the important role bees play in our lives – from making honey to pollinating food crops. The difference between bees and wasps will also be highlighted. For older groups, information on native bees and honey bee diseases will be included.
Discover some of the wildlife species that have come back from the brink of extinction through wise conservation practices. Emphasis on beavers, river otters, eagles, and turkeys.
Examine replicas of a dinosaur track, skull, egg, tooth, and more as you explore these animals. Story time is available for younger children upon request.
Meet live amphibians and enjoy an interactive story while learning about frogs and toads. Learn the calls and songs of local species.
Focusing on Illinois bats, participants identify truths and myths about these fascinating mammals. A variety of activities will entertain and educate students. Note: No live bats.
Examine pelts, skulls, tracks, and scat of Illinois mammals to piece together what their lives are like. This program can tie in well with the French fur trading era of Illinois history.
Dig up the differences between rocks and minerals, and begin to recognize the roles they play in everyday life. This program can also include a look at fossils.
Snake and Turtle Show
Meet a real snake to find out what they are really like. Live turtles and snakes help students learn the true nature and value of these creatures. May be adapted for various age groups.
Symbols of Our State
Glimpse Illinois’ natural history through the state symbols that school children chose to represent Illinois. We can cover the state tree, bird, wildflower, mammal, insect, prairie grass, fish, amphibian, reptile, fossil, and mineral. Some live animals included.
A Trip Through Time – Geology of Illinois
Take an imaginary trip through time to explore the geologic history of Illinois. Discover warm tropical seas, dark muddy swamps with giant insects, and the ice age.
Discover the truth behind animals that are often misunderstood or not considered particularly “cute” or “cuddly”, and the important roles they play in ecosystems.
Whoo Goes There? Owls
Learn about the habits and habitats of native owls. A craft is available for younger ages upon request. For older groups, students can dissect an owl pellet for a fee of $2.00/pellet. Note: No live owls.
Wild and Wonderful Wolves
Are Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs really presenting an accurate story? Learn about the history of wolves and how people view these animals today.
Governor Oglesby Mansion
The famous Oglesby Players perform the play “President Grant Visits the Oglesby Mansion” each spring. The play is based on Grant’s historic visit to Decatur in 1880, and is offered to area school children. It is especially appropriate for fifth graders. Admission is FREE.
After the twenty minute play, the children will have a chance to ask questions of each character: President Grant, Governor Oglesby, Mrs. Oglesby, their servant girl, and the docent as they tour the mansion. The actors will respond to student’s questions from the perspective of their 1880s character. Watch for more information at oglesbymansion.org.
Native American Life-Ways
What was life like for the Native Americans who inhabited Illinois? What natural resources were available and how did they use them? Take a trip back to a different time and culture.
Native American Sky Legends
The first people in North America had many legends about the beginning of their world. Students will enjoy this interactive storytelling session as they learn about American Indian traditions and the night sky.
One Room School
What was school like in the 19th century? Learn about one-room schools, teachers’ duties, lessons, and student life with this interactive presentation.
What kinds of toys did children have in the 1800s and what games did they play? Discover the fun of old fashioned pastimes during this interactive presentation.
Trappers and Traders
Who were the first Europeans to explore and exploit Central Illinois? Find out what they were looking for and how they interacted with the people already living here.
What was it like to be a traveler in the old days of stage coaches and steam trains? Learn how to pack light and make do.