Despite the chill in the air, Audubon Community Nature Center’s first of three weekends of Audubon Lights was a great start to the three-weekend event, according to Audubon officials.
Trailside forests and ponds were aglow with lasers, spotlights, rain lights, and more, making a trail around the Nature Center.
“It was awesome on the first weekend of Audubon Lights to sit around a fire, listen to live music, and relax with a hot drink while people came through,” said ACNC Public Engagement Specialist Jeff Tome. “The Nature Center was fully open, so people could explore three floors of exhibits, shop in the store, or just warm up inside.”
Children lounged on the giant concrete turtle and spotted salamander in the outdoor Nature Play Area, and food and drinks were served in the backyard by Audubon’s VolunTeens, raising money to help Snapping Turtle get a new indoor home.
All this replays on Friday and Saturday nights, April 1 through April 9, 8:15 to 10 p.m.
Visitors have been mesmerized by the variety of crazy patterns in the fireside demonstration of spinning LED hula hoops on Friday nights. Saturday nights feature live acoustic music by the fire.
The self-guided walk starts near the parking lot and travels just under half a mile. The path goes over flat terrain that includes a gravel road, grassy trail, and paved trail. Luminaries light the trail edges; since some sections are darker than others, a flashlight may be helpful.
The trail has eight lit murals and fake flowers created by Infinity Visual and Performing Arts.
Audubon VolunTeens sell concessions to raise funds for the new Snapping Turtle enclosure.
Visitors who buy a Nature Center membership at Audubon Lights receive four free items from the outdoor glow store that has small LED light gadgets and glasses that refract the light and make the trail even more amazing. LED gadgets and glasses are also available for individual purchase. Bringing cash makes purchasing easier.
Be sure to dress for the weather. Audubon Lights happens rain or shine but will be canceled in extreme weather.
Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for Nature Center members and children 3 through 15, and free for ages 2 and under.
Paid reservations are encouraged by the night before the date. They can be made by calling (716) 569-2345 during business hours or going to AudubonCNC.org and clicking through “Upcoming Programs.” Walk-ins are welcome to arrive between 8:00 and 9:45 p.m.
Business sponsors for this year’s Audubon Lights event include Ahlstrom Schaeffer Electric Corporation, Allegheny Outfitters, FSC Systems, and Buffamante Whipple Buttafaro, P.C.
Additional support for Audubon Community Nature Center is provided by 2022 Community Partners that include: Bob Frucella’s Tax Service, Hal and Mary Conarro, Univera Healthcare, Carnahan Jackson Foundation, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Hultquist Foundation, Holmberg Foundation, Jessie Smith Darrah Fund, Lenna Foundation, Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation, Curt and Susie Westrom, and Whirley-Drinkworks!
For information on how to become a business sponsor and or Audubon Community Partner, contact Leigh Rovegno at LRovegno@AudubonCNC.org.
Audubon Community Nature Center is located at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown, N.Y., and Warren, Pa. Dawn to dusk daily you can enjoy the six miles of trails and outdoor Nature Play Area and view Liberty, Audubon’s non-releasable Bald Eagle, all for free.
The three-story Nature Center building houses interactive displays, a collection of live animals including the Hellbender exhibit, the 2021 Nature Photography Contest winners, and the Blue Heron Gift Shop. Visitors are welcome Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and Sundays, 1 – 4:30 p.m. Nature Center members and SNAP/EBT cardholders have free building admission daily. Building admission is also free every Sunday for non-Nature Center members.
To learn more about Audubon and its many programs, call (716) 569-2345, find Audubon Community Nature Center on Facebook, or visit AudubonCNC.org. Face coverings are optional while visiting inside the Nature Center building. If you have been recently exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or are currently experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms, wearing a face covering is highly encouraged.