Wisconsin Nature, Center News

Evenings at the Center

One of the many joys of summer is the long-lasting daylight, giving you more time to be outdoors in the luxurious warm weather. Enjoy these summer evenings at the Center, where there are sights on the trails you might not see during the day, as well as programs waiting to be experienced.

Viewing Harder to Find Wildlife

Unwind after a long day at work by hiking at the Center. If you like seeing animals, visiting in the evening is a great way to view creatures you see less of during the day. Mammals are more prevalent at this time, especially farther away from people. Many mammals are either nocturnal or crepuscular (active at twilight) in their rhythms. Drop by to take an evening stroll; there’s a chance you’ll see deer, or possibly voles, shrew, muskrats, weasels, raccoons, and foxes. Bird activity increases in the evening as well.

If you’d like to hear the sounds of a natural chorus, head over to one of our ponds to listen for frogs and toads, who do their calling and mating at this time. One of the most fascinating of the insects are the nocturnal fireflies that are heading towards peak activity in July. Later in the summer, insects of the grasshopper and cricket order will engage in an ancient ritual, singing for mates. Scientists believe this was the first animal produced sound on land, starting 420 million years ago.

There’s a different feel here after 5:00pm compared to what you experience in the daytime. The world slows down, and the atmosphere is even more relaxing. Walking in the woods and prairies or down to the lakeshore is a great way to close a busy day.

Many Things to Experience

When you hike here in the evening, you might consider sticking around for one of our many summer programs. A treat for music lovers is Soundwaves, our summer concert series. It takes place on Tuesdays beginning July 9 for five weeks from 6:30pm – 7:30pm. Enjoy the rhythms of your favorite bands as they perform at the scenic Pavilion overlooking Lake Michigan. If you’re a moon lover, we will be going on a hike each night of the full moon. You will see the Buck Moon, Sturgeon Moon, and Harvest Moon while basking in the calm evening atmosphere. Full Moon Hikes happen on Thursday nights, once a month, from July through September.

Join us in Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11. We will explore the history of the mission, and then view the moonrise over Lake Michigan. And, if you’d like to enjoy a little nightlife, come for Night Life: Fireflies, Bats, Frogs, and Flying Squirrels. See the Center from the vantage point of the later hours by first meeting Amelia, our resident Flying Squirrel, and then going on a hike to find fireflies, bats, and frogs.

On your hike, you might run into people studying wildlife and collecting data for citizen science. Consider volunteering to help gather information that will help scientists working to conserve the natural world.

Spending your summer evenings at the Center is a great way to gain access to the lesser seen world of nature. Our fascinating programs combined with the ambiance you find here will allow you to enjoy just a little bit more of what the Center has to offer.