You know those green signs around Monroe that point you to the Webb Mountain Discovery Zone? Have you ever thought of following them? If you do, then you will discover an outdoor learning center featuring easy to walk trails with 28 interpretive signs, a self-directed scavenger hunt and a butterfly garden.
The Discovery Zone focuses on how people and animals have used the land, in the past and present. But I can’t truly tell you what you will find, because the best part of the Discovery Zone is what you will discover. The truth is: no two strolls through the Discovery Zone are ever exactly alike.
The Discovery Zone is used extensively by the Monroe school system and some nearby towns for field trips. If you have a child in elementary or middle school, they may already have visited the Discovery Zone and can probably teach you a thing or two as you explore its trails.
“My favorite part was when we found a cool diving beetle in the pond,” explained 10-year-old Peyton Sullivan of Monroe, “I thought it looked like a crab."
"I also liked that it is very educational being there and I learned a lot about different types of trees,” he said.
There is a real benefit in just the act of walking through a quiet forest, exploring. The Discovery Zone is the perfect place to look for clues as to what (or who) might have been there in the moments, hours, or even centuries before you strolled through. I grew up playing in the woods of Connecticut but the informative signs featured throughout the Discovery Zone have me looking at the forest with new eyes.
“Fall at the Discovery Zone is a great time of year for the whole family to spend together and allow children to become engaged, active participants and interact with nature," said Tom Ellbogen, director of the Discovery Zone.
"Our scavenger hunt encompasses over four miles of trails and serves as an ‘I-Spy’ for nature, science and history, while also offering several hands-on activities that produce spontaneous, memorable moments that we believe have a more lasting and significant impact on today’s children than the more traditional, passive hike,” Ellbogen said.
The Discovery Zone is a separate destination from Webb Mountain Park located down the street. It has a less rigorous trail system than Webb Mountain Park, making it a bit more family friendly and less intimidating for the novice hiker.
Whether you have 30 minutes to spare or you are looking to pack a picnic and get out of the house for the afternoon, follow the green signs to the Discovery Zone and see what you can discover.
Webb Mountain Discovery Zone is located at 71 Webb Circle in Monroe. It is open every day from sunrise to sunset for self-guided tours. Scavenger hunt cards are available and dogs are allowed. For more information, visit www.webbmountaindiscoveryzone.com.