Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lichterman Nature Center

The Daughter and I took a picnic lunch and spent the afternoon on this beautiful Spring day at the Lichterman Nature Center. It'd been years since The Daughter had been there, and she was sorely disappointed. We started going in the early years when there were few improvements, few structures and much more of a wild feel. Now the buildings are large and many, and you can see adjacent office buildings or retail establishments and clearly hear traffic from almost everywhere. One bridge on the forest trail was down completely, closing that section of the trail "for maintenance" that looks like it's been pending for some time. It wasn't the only part of a trail that was closed. I'd rather they had used the money they spent on scattering "teaching pavilions" all over the grounds for a fund to ensure upkeep of the grounds. I'm glad we can remember what it was like before.

There are also way too many geese.

We walked the trails and saw birds and wasps, one lone dragonfly (we used to see bunches of them when the lake was full of water lilies), lots of turtles (there are some in the photo above) and little fish, and a fox. The fox caught what may have been a rat and scurried off from the meadow to the woods with it.

We had an enjoyable afternoon, but as The Younger Son says, "There's really no need to go back." It does bring back fond memories, and I think the kids are building a nice collection of when-i-was-a-child talking points. They agree with me that "improvements" often don't actually improve anything.


  1. I feel your pain. But, more importantly, I applaud your pain. Maybe that sounds rather odd, but as a person who has worked for a Zoo I appreciate someone who actually cares. And there are so many things that are done wrong. And so many "childhood memories" at stake here.

  2. A few of us tried to tone down the redevelopment of Lichterman in an attempt to preserve the rustic character and focus on wildlife and native plants. Unfortunately, corporate sponsorship and poor Memphis leadership couldn't see our point of view. It's education program is now terribly underfunded and what money they do get has to go to maintaining all the fancy crap that the capital improvements created--typical Memphis.

  3. I talked to one of the staff soon after the new building opened, and she said that most of the staff she knew preferred the more rustic look. I think her words were something like, "But when what you want to do is attract more school groups...."

    My kids started calling it Jurassic Park when the new entry sign went up.