Learning center has 'green' Christmas planned
By Jessica Creagan
WABASSO -- For the second consecutive year, the Environmental Learning Center is staying open late for a special Christmas season event with unique ecological experiences.
The Winter Green celebration will be held at the Environmental Learning Center in Wabasso on Dec. 14 from 4- 8 p.m. and is loaded with activities for all ages, a press release said.
"Last year was very successful, people had a wonderful time," said Holly Dill, executive director of the center.
Admission to the event is $5 per person, but children 12 and younger are free. Members of the Environmental Learning Center are also admitted free.
"I think the best thing about this event is getting people outdoors in a natural setting and celebrating the Indian River Lagoon," Ms. Dill said.
This year's event will include Christmas caroling, courtesy of the Osceola Singers, the Beachland Shark Singers and the Sebastian River Middle School Madrigal Choir.
One of the most popular activities from last year, WinterGreen NightLights, will also return, Ms. Dill said.
Visitors can paddle along in mangrove trails with a guide, experiencing the environment aglow with battery-operated LED lights.
"It was the most popular event so we are going to make sure we have plenty of guides on hand so as many people as possible can explore the Indian River Lagoon," she said.
The NightLights tour length varies by paddler, but usually lasts about 20 minutes, Ms. Dill said.
The native plant garden will also be decorated with lights for the winter celebration.
Visitors can also experience a high-tech scavenger hunt with the help of global positioning units and clues on the learning center's property.
Younger guests will enjoy visiting with Santa, making ornaments from recyclable materials or reading a Christmas story on an outdoor walk.
"The Story Walk opportunity is very unique here in the Treasure Coast, we are the only ones that have one, I believe," said Ms. Dill.
"In the Story Walk program, we take one page of the book at a time and put it on a sign so families can walk along the path and read the story together," Ms. Dill said.
This year, the featured book is "All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go" by Dan Joseph and Lydia Mendel.
"We think it's a wonderful way for parents to have an eco-experience with their young children," Ms. Dill said.
The learning center's gift shop will be open during the event, as will the Touch Tank and Discovery Station, with environmental exhibits and aquariums, a press release said.
For more information about WinterGreen NightLights or other information about the Environmental Learning Center, call (772) 589-5050 or visit www.discoverelc.org.