My kids are outdoor explorers. They love to be outside finding new amazing things and even creatures during warmer months. We spend a lot of time in our backyard and nearby parks enjoying nature as a family. We have enjoyed the exploring gear of Backyard Safari Outfitters for several years now. They make learning and outdoor exploring fun for kids. I received Backyard Safari Outfitters gear for my kids to facilitate this post.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park Beaver Marsh
Last week headed to one of our favorite trails, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Beaver Marsh to test out our new Backyard Safari Outfitters gear. The Cuyahoga Valley National Park Beaver Marsh is an excellent place to take your family because there are so many different things to discover and experience.
There are two ways to Beaver Marsh, one is by parking near Szalay’s on 4563 Riverview Rd in Peninsula. This is a longer walk and may be too long for kids. For a short exploring walk, we park near Ira Rd. This is a short walk that is only about 1 mile from the parking lot past Lock 26 to Beaver Marsh and back. If you have young kids, this is a great option.
The path takes you alongside a wide creek on one side and thick wooded area on the other. You’ll find plenty of wild flowers and blackberry bushes on both sides during the Summer. Soon, you’ll find the old Lock 26. It’s amazing to learn about the role the lock played not so many years ago and to see what is left of it.
To the edge of Lock 26 is my son’s favorite spot for finding snails, frogs, and turtles. Out came the Backyard Safari Mini Scoop Net. This is a nice size net for wet and dry locations. It is light so kids can easily take it with them and not ask you to hold it! It can be used for butterflies in the air, lizards on the ground or fish, crabs, crayfish, and snails in the water.
Once they collected a couple snails, the Backyard Safari Outfitters Bug Shack/Critter Shack came into play. It is sized just right and includes a handle for hikes and backyard play. Your kids will love collecting their favorite creatures and placing them in the Critter Shack to furuther explore. My kids found large, slimy snails at Lock 26. However, the Critter Shack is perfect for all sorts of fun like frogs, fish, lizards, crawfish, snakes, and bugs. The top is easily removed and is a breathable mesh. The Critter Shack is water tight, so you can even keep water loving creatures in it – temporarily, of course.
For closer observation, the Backyard Safari Magnifying Glass helped see the snail up close. It magnifies 4X.
Once we released the snails, we finished our walk to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Beaver Marsh. Elijah tried to catch little fish while on the boardwalk of the Beaver Marsh but with not luck. We did see several large and small turtles though – so it was still very exciting. We even saw a muskrat but no beavers.
It is always fun to walk across the boardwalk and take a break on one of the lock-out spots with seating. This is normally where we stop for a snack and drink too.
My son is the best salamander spotter around. I remember when he first starting finding salamanders when he was just 4 years old. My husband and I remarked that we had been taking hikes in parks for years and never once saw a salamander yet our 4 year old spots them everywhere he goes! At age 8, he finds them with ease with his 6 year old sister. This week, he found another Salamander. I believe it was a Redback Salamander, but I’m not for sure. They like moist forest, so our yard is just perfect.
My kids put the salamander in the Summit Backyard Safari Outfitters Land & Water Lighted Habitat. The Land & Water Habitat is pretty cool, offering 360° viewing from all sides. It can be a home to all sorts of bugs, frogs, salamanders, turtles, lizards, snakes, and more. It has a built-in pool for water-loving creatures. Our salamander was a little too small for this element and tried to get between the pool liner and the sculpted terrain. We got him out of his hiding spot and freed him. This would be perfect for the toads and frogs my kids find later this Summer. You can even connect the Backyard Safari Bug Vacuum to the port so you never have to worry about an escaped creature!
As you can see, we have had a lot of fun checking out nature with our Backyard Safari Outfitters gear. Be sure to check out their website for all the cool gear your kids will enjoy all year long.
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This was not a paid post. My own opinions were used based on my perceptions and experience. Thank you to Backyard Safari Outfitters who provided the products for review and giveaway.