Paying Mantis time for Nature Blog

People love to visit the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center for many different reasons. Some want to visit our adorable seals and enjoy watching their playful antics. Others come to find a bit of tranquility and peace as they slowly stroll through the underwater exhibits entranced by the life swimming and gliding gently through the water. Some hope to learn something new. And, still others are satisfied in knowing that their admission has helped support important ocean conservation research. Most people are drawn to the Aquarium because of our incredible animals – fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians! But the Aquarium also offers a surprising exhibit that many guests don’t consider: our Nature Trail.

Our Nature Trail is an amazing space that offers so much to our visitors and the coolest part is that this exhibit never serves up the same experience twice. This 1/3-mile-long outdoor space offers guests something new to see, hear, and smell with the changing seasons and even with each passing hour. We might catch a bird nesting in a tree in the spring, or a crab crawling out from the mud when the tide goes out twice each day. You can never fully anticipate what little critter might scurry or slither across the path at your feet, or what might land in the treetops above your head. Each season the foliage is offering up a new palette of colors, textures, and shapes in leaves, blossoms, and branches.

The Nature Trail invites you to experience nature along Owls Creek just as it is. It gives the most observant among us the chance to see what is often unseen in our hurried and distracted life. The photos here represent just one person’s single walk along the Nature Trail when she took time to patiently and carefully observe what could so easily be missed.

We invite you to visit and take your own quiet stroll down the Nature Trail. If you are carefully observant you might discover some of the wonders that were captured in these photos. You might find something totally new and incredible!

We invite you to share your photos with us on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter! Be sure to tag us with #virginiaaquarium so we can see what you have found and to inspire other nature explorers to make their own Nature Trail discoveries.