Discover Nature with Museum in the Parks

The Alachua County Library District is partnering with the Florida Museum of Natural History to give library patrons the opportunity to enjoy nature. The Exploration Backpacks are available for checkout from all 12 of the Library District locations.

The backpacks are filled with items to foster discovery in nature. They will have binoculars, a plant press, butterfly net, bug enclosure, bug lens, hand lens, a clipboard, a pocket microscope, and instructions in English and Spanish. Backpacks will also include The Nature of Florida: An Introduction to Familiar Plants, Animals & Natural Attractions field guide and an optional survey that can be submitted upon return for a free group pass for admission for up to four people to the Butterfly Rainforest Exhibit.

Exploration Backpacks

“The backpacks enhance the experience of families who may not have these items and can now see the parks through a new lens, literally,” said Florida Museum Youth Outreach Coordinator Alberto Lopez.

For the last two years, the Florida Museum’s “Museum in the Parks” program has provided opportunities for children and their families to explore local and state parks, meet scientists, and to observe artifacts from the museum’s collections. The Exploration Backpacks will be a new way for the community to engage with nature outside the walls of the museum or library. 

The Exploration Backpacks will be added to the area of the Library District’s collection known as the Library of Things. This collection features items like STEM Kits, Sensory Toys, Birding Kits, and Book Club Kits.

The amazing hiking trails and local parks throughout Alachua County are the perfect setting for using these discovery kits. 

You must have a standard library card to check out an Exploration Backpack. Library cards are free, and you can sign up for a card at any Library District location. One kit can be checked out per person for two weeks and may be renewed up to two times. Kits should be returned inside the library instead of book drops.

This program was made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum & Library Services.

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