The reindeer are back! This year these amazing creatures are the star of the ‘Tis the Season for Science.
Roam on over to the Academy
This season we’re learning how reindeer, and their wild relatives the caribou, survive and thrive in the wintry Arctic. Touch caribou fur and see why it insulates so well. See how caribou find food hidden under snow. Watch caribou antlers grow and touch pieces of real antler. Watch caribou move and see how their feet help them stay on the surface of the snow.
After you learn all about these amazing creatures, don’t forget to follow the migration tracks to the East Garden to visit our friendly live reindeer and see them up close and in action. One of our reindeer experts will be there to answer any questions that you may have.
Outside the Academy
Experience how caribou feet help them stay on the surface of the snow
In the Bay Area, snow is a rarity, but there are sandy beaches with dunes. Walking in sand is a lot like walking in snow. The next time you go to the beach with your family, bring some home-made “sandshoes”, or, if you have them, actual snow shoes. To make a sandshoe, cut stiff cardboard into pieces that are bigger than your feet, but not so big that you can’t walk with them on. Place your foot or shoe on the cardboard and make four holes surrounding the foot. You can tie the cardboard on with shoelaces. Before heading to the beach, we suggest that you test out your shoes to make sure you’re able to walk in them.
At the beach, find some loose sand dunes. Walk around in your shoes or in your bare feet and notice how your feet quickly sink into the sand every time you take a step. Then stop and strap your sandshoes to you feet and start walking. Notice how you don’t sink as much or as quickly, and how much easier it is for you to walk. You may decide that you will use sandshoes whenever you go for a stroll on the beach!
Learn more about the people who live with reindeer
The Sami people of northern Europe rely on reindeer for food, shelter, and clothing. To learn more about Sami family life, read the Far North by Jan Reynolds [available at SFPL] with your children.