The holidays are meant to be a time of celebration and reflection as we enjoy special traditions and ponder various meanings, unique to our own beliefs. Yet for families in particular, the holiday season can also mean added chaos and disappointment with failed attempts to meet unrealistic expectations.
We’re fortunate to live in a community where we have easy access to a multitude of shopping, entertainment, high-end foods, and wonderful cultural events. Yet, for many families, the pressure to indulge even more than usual in these “extras” can be especially high during the holidays.
Thankfully, there are also alternatives available that are focused on enjoying the simpler things of the season–while also spending time with family, and not breaking the bank.
Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve offers a wonderful schedule of ongoing and special family-friendly events and activities year round. There is no break because the temps drop, or the trees become bare. In fact, the staff at Ruffner Mountain makes a big effort to celebrate the little things that make every season unique. In doing so, they’re also helping families to learn more about our local surroundings, and to also appreciate the many qualities that make it so interesting and special all year long.
This holiday season, carve out a little extra family time to head over to Ruffner Mountain and attend one of several (affordable) kid-friendly events:
- What: Kids in Nature (KIN): Spend some time outside at Ruffner Mountain exploring! KIN programs focus on a different topic each month and includes a naturalist-led hike and a craft. In December KIN attendees will learn all about mammals!
When: December 14
Cost: $5/ $7 (non-members) per child. Chaperones are free.
- What: Stories Under the Stars: Enjoy a crisp, cold night – bundled up around a warm toasty fire listening to entertaining stories from Storyteller Zechariah Hook. This event is perfect the entire family. After story time, guests can indulge in S ‘Mores and cocoa.
When: December 20, 6:30 pm – 8 pm
Cost: $5/ $7 (non-member)
- What: Christmas Bird Count: Join Ruffner staff for the Christmas Bird Count bird watching hike! Winter is a perfect time to see birds because of the lack of foliage on the trees. This hike is open to all levels of birders, from beginners to experienced, and all levels in between. Learn to identify birds by sight, and also learn the common calls of several birds. This is a moderate hike.
When: Dec 21, 8:30 am
Cost: $5/ $7 (non-member)
- What: Keep it Simple Silly (KISS) program: Each month, Ruffner holds the Keep it Simple Silly Join us for this monthly mini program. This month we will be making a bird feeder to help our feathered friends through the winter months.
When: Dec 28, 1:00 pm
Cost: $2/ $3 (non-member)
Ruffner Mountain is located at 1214 81st Street South, Birmingham, AL.
For more local event listings (family-friendly and other), see our Events Calendar!
About Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve:
“Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve is a 1,011 acre natural oasis located on one of the last undeveloped stretches of the Red Mountain ridge known as Ruffner Mountain. Just a 10 minute escape from downtown Birmingham–Ruffner feels like a world away. Enjoy a short stroll or explore the mountain for an all day adventure. Miles of peaceful forested trails with surprising biodiversity, wetlands teaming with wildlife, remnants of our past mining history, and spectacular views from several overlooks await those who venture out. Learn about nature and the environment by attending a program or workshop or by visiting our Alabama animal exhibits, including raptors, turtles and other interesting native wildlife. Whether you are a teacher looking for a quality field based experience for your class, or an adult wanting to learn more about native plants and animals or environmental stewardship, Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve’s programs offer something for everyone and all ages.”