beaver creek in winter

Little J and I spent an absolutely magical afternoon at Beaver Creek Conservation Area this week. Located just 13 kilometres south of Saskatoon on Highway 219, Beaver Creek offers a convenient and educational escape into nature during every season.

Beaver Creek Conservation Area is a protected creek, river valley and short grass prairie habitat in the Meewasin Valley. There are opportunities to learn about the area's diverse flora and fauna in the interpretive centre, through staffed activities and along a selection of four nature trails.

On this particular visit, Little J and I spent two hours exploring Beaver Creek together. We planned one hour inside and one hour outside, which worked out well for us.  

My son really enjoyed pretending he was "Beaver Boy" in the recently remodeled beaver lodge downstairs. There are buttons to push for a narrated description of how the beaver prepares for winter. There is also a display of a beaver skull, teeth, tail and fur. After a good 15 minutes of rodent role play, I finally lured Little J into other areas of the centre by promising a puppet show.

There are 20 or so wild animal hand puppets behind the curtain of the centre's Aspen Grove stage. Little J and I each took a couple turns acting out different scenarios with the animals. He especially loved playing with these two frogs. I loved to hear him giggle as I paired a menacing skunk up with a curious fox pup in one of my impromptu skits.

Next, we explored the educational displays, costumes and masks in the larger theatre area. There were a few hands-on educational pieces appropriate for my 3-year-old in this area. I can tell that we have a lot of learning to look forward here to as my son grows into some of the other educational materials.

The costumes are one-size-fits-all hooded ponchos in various materials that allow for a lot of creativity. In this picture, my son and I have declared a truce after battling it out as a bear and a snake.   

We then shed our animal skins and headed back upstairs, where one of the staff members set us up with a bird-feeder craft. (She gave us a useful tip that black oil sunflower seeds are best for backyard bird feeding, as most bird varieties enjoy these seeds.)

We finished the afternoon with a one-kilometer walk on the Yellow Trail. Before heading out, a helpful staff member gave us some black oil seed in a baggie, and it didn't take long to put it to good use.

Several Black-capped Chickadees came out to say "hello" immediately. We sat down on the first flight of steps and a couple of the friendly little birds came to eat the bird seed out of our outstretched hands.  (Actually, the birds only lighted on my hand. Little J's proved to be a bit too small and wiggly.)

These lovely little creatures could be found all along the trail. On this day, these were the only wildlife making an appearance, but we saw much evidence of other critters in the snow. We spotted deer, bird and rabbit tracks, trees gnawed down by beavers and a few patches of yellow snow.

While we're on the subject of wildlife, don't let the cougar sign near the entrance scare you off. I asked a staff member about that, and she said none of the staff who work out at Beaver Creek have ever seen a cougar. The sign was posted three or four years ago when there were cougar sightings along the river within city limits.  

Of course, there is a chance to see larger wildlife. Our noisy little walking partners may actually help deter sudden encounters with wildlife. By walking together on the path and making noise as you walk, you are more likely to alert wild animals, giving them a chance to retreat.

There are several sets of stairs on the trail, so a stroller is probably not a great idea. An infant in a carrier would work well as long as extra care was taken on a couple icy patches that have formed around the bridges. Both the men's and women's washrooms are equipped with a change table for your little ones.

If you aren't up for a hike, you can enjoy the beautiful view  from the centre's back deck or the look-out area to the right of the interpretive centre. The latter, shown here, would be a beautiful location for a picnic. You are welcome to bring bag lunches out to Beaver Creek. Just make certain you don't leave anything behind.

My son said two or three times along our Beaver Creek hike, "It's a beautiful day, Mommy." I whole-heartedly agreed!



I think you will agree that Beaver Creek Conservation Area is a local treasure with everything you need for a special outdoor adventure with your children. We would love to hear about your Beaver Creek experiences in the comments section below!



4 comments


Kirsty Snowsell said...

You make a great bear!!! This is a great review Laura...keep up the good work. I may have to take Charlotte there to see the chickadees - she would love that SO MUCH!

A. Smith said...

I love coming to your site for ideas. We've never been there but it sounds like it's well worth planning an outing to. Thanks for all the tips :)

theclarencewhiteblog said...

So, how many reminders do we give the kids not to eat that yellow snow?

My hand would be wiggly, too if it had a bird on it.

Anonymous said...

We love Beaver Creek and are hoping to visit there for the planned activities at school break. It is one of our first stops in spring too for the Easter Hare count. Great pic with the chickadee!

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