Catherine Verdier lives in Norfolk with her husband and daughter. She blogs about kid-friendly living in Hampton Roads at Where the Watermelons Grow.
The Weyanoke Bird and Wildflower Sanctuary is one of Norfolk's best-kept secret spots -- you literally won't find it on a map (Google Maps has it listed as "Bluebird Park" for some strange reason).
I never would have discovered it if I hadn't gotten lost in West Ghent some months ago and turned down a lane at the end of Armistead Bridge Road to turn around. It was bare and wintry then but I remember thinking that we would have to go back and visit as soon as spring came. And last Saturday, Anouk and I finally did.
The Saturday thing is important -- Weyanoke Sanctuary is only open to the public from Saturday at 10 to Sunday at 5. In between times, it serves as a field trip and scouting destination and is carefully tended and maintained by a group of volunteers from the Cape Henry Audubon Society, who also host nature walks on the third Saturday of each month.
The Weyanoke Sanctuary is tucked behind a chain link fence in a residential area close to the terminus of the Nofolk Southern Railroad but once you've passed the gate, it seems to belong to a different world entirely. Everything is very quiet and still save for the sounds of trees rustling and branches moving, water running.
Little mulched paths wind through stands of wildflowers, ferns, shrubs and native trees -- everything carefully labeled, which was a nice perk. Here and there are benches so you can sit and watch the birds coming to the feeders that are scattered throughout the sanctuary's eight acres, and the chattering squirrels hopping from branch to branch.
It was all so enticing in fact that I had a hard time keeping Baby A. on the paths. Every so often she would take off charging through the underbrush. Luckily, I didn't see any labels for poison ivy so there's that.
On the way back to the car we stopped to watch several locomotives chugging into the terminal, which was a nice perk. Overall, a great kid-friendly destination that doesn't cost anything at all and reveals a nice hidden corner of our familiar city.
Tags: Norfolk, VA Where The Watermelons Grow
Category: Guest Post