Explore the Great Outdoors in the Witte Museum’s New Exhibit, Backyard Adventures

This post was written in partnership with the Witte Museum.

If you enjoy exploring the Great Outdoors (or like the idea of the Great Outdoors but prefer to view it from the comfort of the Great Indoors), you will love the Witte Museum’s new exhibit, Backyard Adventures. This exhibit opened February 15 and allows visitors to experience the fascinating science in their own backyard through educational, interactive experiences.

Frequent Witte Museum visitors may notice connections between Backyard Adventures and some of the museum’s regular exhibits, such as Texas Wild. The Backyard Adventures you’ll find here are meant to teach children what they might actually experience in their own Texas backyard, as well as at local parks and trails. The Witte Museum also hopes to encourage people to get outside and explore the world around them by making connections between the natural world and the importance of being active, such as what is taught in the museum’s H-E-B Body Adventure. The museum has plans to host nature walks in the near future that will build on their goal of encouraging restorative activities, which have a positive impact on development and health. Check the Witte Museum web site for dates and times.

So what can you expect from Backyard Adventures?

Peek under the house to see what lives under the deck.
  • After entering the exhibit, you’ll have the opportunity to view (if you dare!) what just might live under your own deck at home. Peer through the trellis to see what you can spy.
  • Take a virtual “Walk Through the Seasons” and watch as the weather and seasons change before your eyes (and get a little exercise while you’re at it!). And then test your skill in the backyard pitching cage, which measures your throwing speed.

My favorite part of the exhibit is an interactive, backyard-inspired miniature golf course complete with pneumatic tube chutes, a Foosball table, a giant spider, and a Plinko-style board that drops your ball right back into the bucket where it started. This course is continuous, so the game keeps moving from start to finish, encouraging the kiddos to keep moving.

 

  •  Ever wonder what types of animals lurk in your backyard at night? Find out using night vision cameras in the nocturnal exhibit.

    Challenge your family to a round of Garden Golf.
  • View the backyard from a dog’s and bee’s perspective to see how their vision differs from a human’s vision at the Color Vision table.
  • Challenge your kids (or a friend) to a game of Plant vs. Insect, where you can choose a feature of an insect (such as specialized mouthparts) and a plant (such as tough leaves) to see who will win. Sort of like an educational, computerized version of Rock, Paper, Scissors.
  • “Dress up your imagination” as you dress like a frog, snail, or insect to role play and imagine what it might be like to live as one of these creatures in a garden.
  • Play a game of Food Web Pond to learn about food chains. Choose to be mosquito larvae, tadpoles, carp, or a kingfisher, and see how these living creatures affect each other in the natural world.

  • Collect some nectar (and exercise) in Nectar Collector. Learn how bees pollinate flowers as you virtually land on flowers to collect their nectar and pollinate them.

  • Get your hands dirty (well, dirty in a “clean” way) as you “dig in the dirt” and learn about the physical and mental health benefits of outdoor activity. Play with the “soil” by moving it around, watching the colors change as the soil depth changes, and spread out your hand to make it rain.
  • Play Giant Pumpkin Bonanza, a virtual garden where you and a partner are challenged to choose the correct type and amount of fertilizer and water to grow the biggest pumpkin.
  • Spend some time playing in the workshop area, a tool lover’s dream!

  • Take pictures in the Instagram-worthy photo backdrops of this adorable exhibit to document your visit.
  • Visit the gift shop filled with Backyard Adventure-themed merchandise, such as cuddly stuffed animals, Audubon stuffed birds with real bird calls, locally-sourced honey with cute messages on the jars, tiny veggie and flower gardens to grow at home, and plenty of outdoor activities to keep your kids busy all Spring and Summer.
  • And so much more!

Backyard Adventures is open through May 3, and admission to this special exhibit is an additional $5.00 over regular museum admission. Tickets are available online. You will leave with a new appreciation for the natural world around you and perhaps a desire to get out and discover the science in your own backyard!

And did you know that the Witte Museum offers Kids’ Night Out on select nights? Parents can drop off their children and enjoy an evening away while the kids eat dinner and enjoy an evening of activities and museum exploration. Kids’ Night Out is available for children ages 6-12 and runs from 6:00-10:00 pm on select nights. Check out the Witte Museum web site for more information.

Jill is a small-town girl at heart but has loved discovering all San Antonio has to offer since moving here in 2004. She and her husband of 18 years are proud Texas Aggies and parents to two elementary-age girls. Jill worked as an editor, writer, and 4th-grade teacher before discovering her dream job as a taxi driver (for her girls). As a stay-at-home-mom, she spends her days volunteering at her kids' school and at church, attempting to exercise, pondering how four people can accumulate so much dirty laundry, and driving her kids to numerous extracurricular activities. She has recently taken her love for all things Disney to the next level by becoming a Disney Travel Planner. Follow along on her family’s adventures in San Antonio and beyond on Instagram at @satxfamily or email her for a Disney (or Universal Studios) vacation quote and planning assistance at [email protected] Favorite Restaurant: The Melting Pot Favorite Landmark: Japanese Tea Garden Favorite San Antonio Tradition: San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo