Located near Centura Health in Avon right off of I-70. An innovative natural science learning campus for residents and visitors of the Eagle Valley. Free and open to the public.

318 Walking Mountains Lane, Avon, CO 81620

Located at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola on Vail Mountain out of Lionshead Village, Vail. All visitors must have a pass to ride the gondola. Free and open to the public with valid gondola pass.
Nestled along Gore Creek near the Betty Ford Alpine Garden and Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail Village.
601 Vail Valley Drive, Vail, CO 81657

Walking Mountains Blog

Backyard Nature Challenge!

Posted by Walking Mountains Science Center on Mar 17, 2020 1:45:00 PM
Walking Mountains Science Center

As we practice social distancing during turbulent times, we shouldn't stop learning and exploring. When exploring through the Backyard Nature Challenges, please treat humans like wildlife... give them their space!

Below, follow our Backyard Nature Challenges updated daily for new adventures to do at home or in your backyard (ie. backyard, neighborhood, balcony, open-space near by). These challenges come from our incredible Education Staff working to teach even during this time. 

You can follow our Facebook Page (@walkingmtns) to interact live with other community members and our staff. 

View all videos on our Youtube Page: Backyard Challenge Playlist

Backyard Nature Challenge: Watershed Wonders

As the snow melts the water will flow into local streams and rivers. This is where our watersheds get a lot of their water. A watershed is the area of land where all the smaller streams and rivers flow into a bigger river. Today’s challenge is to find a stream near where you live. Follow the stream for as long as you are comfortable. Does it meet a bigger stream or river?  Take photos or draw what you see. 


Backyard Nature Challenge: Map Making

Maps are an important aspect of everyday life. What are the five essential parts of a map? How do maps show the shape of the land? Watch this video to learn more about map making and then send us photos of the maps you create of your favorite places!

Backyard Nature Challenge: Gratitude Journal


It can be easy to get stuck in a cycle of negativity, especially if you’re stuck indoors or miss your companions. However, practicing gratitude, or what you are thankful for, can actually improve your mindset and bring positivity to your day! Walking Mountains challenges you to bring positivity to your day and practice gratitude by writing a thank-you letter to Nature! You can use words or drawings to let Nature know why you are thankful. Hang up your letter somewhere where you and your family can see it and be reminded throughout the day of all there is to be thankful for.

Backyard Nature Challenge: Home in a Habitat

Today’s challenge is to build a habitat for an animal that may live outside near your house (like a squirrel or bird). What makes up a habitat? It’s food, water, shelter, and space. Want to know more about what animals need in their habitats? Learn from our friends in Girl Scout Brownie Troop 57212 who show us how their pets get their habitat needs met.  When you finish designing your habitat post a picture in the comments or a video of a virtual tour of your animal’s habitat.


Backyard Nature Challenge: EcoArt

There is so much beauty around us in nature. Eco-art is the practice of making art from natural objects you find outside. It can be a small sculpture, a design, or just a shape that you really like. After completing your art show a friend or family member, take a picture, and then destroy it so it looks as though it was never there. Don’t forget to use materials that are already on the ground and not taken off of a living organism. Comment on this post with pictures of your eco-art creations! Or tag #WMSCBackyardChallenge.


Backyard Nature Challenge - Spring Sleuth


Saturday will be the first day of spring!  There are many signs of spring. How many can you find around your home? Send us a photo of something that indicates spring is coming and any stories about something that surprised you.

Need ideas of where to look? Check out this scavenger hunt page


Backyard Nature Challenge - Leaf Out


Spring is when the leaves start to come out. We call this “leaf out”. Are any leaves coming out in your neighborhood? Go for a walk and see if you can see leaves in any of these stages. If you find a leaf that is fully open take a picture of it and try to identify what plant it is. Post a photo or drawing of your leaf in the comments. If you can’t identify it- maybe we can.

Check out project budburst to learn about how everyday people can make observations about leaf-out and share them with scientists. https://budburst.org/


Backyard Nature Challenge - Special Spot

Staying at home doesn’t mean you have to stay inside! Each day Walking Mountains will post a backyard naturalist challenge for kids and adults. See how many challenges you can complete!

Spending 10 minutes in the peace of nature can be good for your body and your mind. Find a quiet spot outside where you can see trees or plants. Get comfy. For 10 minutes be very quiet and see what you can see, smell, hear and feel. You can write or draw what you are experiencing.



Topics: Family Activities, Kids Activities, Backyard Nature Challenge

Walking Mountains Science Center

Written by Walking Mountains Science Center

Our mission is to awaken a sense of wonder and inspire environmental stewardship and sustainability through natural science education.