Outdoor Discovery Center, Laketown announce parks programs

Participation increases in outdoor events.
A participant in the Outdoor Discovery Center Frog Catching program on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023, at Farview Park, 6257 138th Ave., skims the small pond. More than a dozen children with their parents searched for amphibians, insects and other aquatic life in the free program sponsored by Laketown Township.

The Outdoor Discovery Center has announced its parks programs in Laketown Township for the upcoming season that include frog catching, a wildflower walk and blueberry picking.

“We are very fortunate to have the ODC close by and offering so many opportunities to experience the outdoors,” said Brad Laninga, chairperson of the Laketown Township Parks and Recreation Commission which sponsors the free events with the Outdoor Discovery Center.

“It is our hope that by providing the outdoor programs we might encourage families and individuals to explore some of our parks for the very first time.”

In 2023, 198 people participated in eight total programs, according to numbers released by the Outdoor Discovery Center earlier this month. Some of those people participated in multiple programs.  

In 2022, 97 people participated in six programs.

Andrea Woody, naturalist at the Outdoor Discovery Center, talks with participants in the “Explore with Your Senses” program at Shore Acres Park on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023. Kids used all their senses around the park in the program partnership with Laketown Township.

The programs for 2024 are:

  • Woodland Wildflower Walk, April 30, Sanctuary Woods, 4750 66th St.
  • Frog Catching, May 21, Farview Park, 6357 138th Ave.
  • Little Explorers, June 17, Wolters Woods, 6281 147th Ave.
  • Family Kayaking, July 16, Gilligan Lake.
  • Blueberry Fields Forever, July 22, Huyser Farm, 4188 64th St.
  • Incredible Insects, Aug. 23, Shore Acres, 6602 138th Ave.
  • Explore with Your Senses, Sept. 10, Shore Acres, 6602 138th Ave.
  • Night Hike, Oct. 4, Huyser Farm, 4188 64th St.

Events are free. Some require registration. For more information, visit Outdoordiscovery.org.

Lincoln Bahner, 3, of Saugatuck, reaches into a bag filled with rocks as part of the Sept. 6, 2022, program “Explore with Your Senses” at Shore Acres Township Park, 6602 138th Ave. in Laketown Township. Program coordinator Analiese Schmitt of the Outdoor Discovery Center looks on.

Laketown Township parks also offer other activities including pickleball at Township Hall Park, 4338 Beeline Road, disc golf at Shore Acres, Lake Michigan access at Laketown Beach, 6710 142nd Ave., and walking and bicycling on the township’s more than 10 miles of multiuse paths.

For more information on township parks, click here.