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Nature Comes Alive

Posted on Thursday, June 10, 2021 at 11:12 am

Tims Ford recently welcomed their new attraction, which is yet another stop your family can make during the summer break. – Sarah Raymond photo

By Sarah Raymond

If you have ever been to the Tims Ford Visitors Center, you may have noticed a little wooden building off to the side. For the past couple of years, the building has been undergoing a transition from being used for storage to becoming the new Nature Center, a place that hopes to serve as a great supplement to children’s education.
Saturday, June 5, was the grand opening for the Nature Center as Park Manager Shawn Settle took a chainsaw to the green ribbon. While this method of cutting is unorthodox, he felt it would be a fitting welcome for a new park exhibit. Volunteers and donations were vital assets to the creation of the Center, and Jack Daniel’s was a significant contributor on that list. It is filled with history, learning materials, and even a few creatures, making it the perfect introduction to park life for adults and
children alike. There are other projects in the works, such as a potential rock-climbing wall, a repelling station, and a library filled with content focused on the park.
Among the available sights is a dark walkthrough exhibit with a bee section where guests can watch the bees and read about their life cycle and processes. This same hallway will also house an amphibian exhibit, which is set to arrive soon. There is also a walk-through exhibit with informational panels that explain the history of Tims Ford Lake, and all of the information comes courtesy of a thesis project. A student pursuing her Master’s degree decided to do her project on the inception of the lake and how it became what it is today, so all of the pictures and information she compiled are now on display for all guests to see. A place designed to assist students was made in part by this student’s work, and it is a practical way to see the impact that a solid education can have.

Destiny Adcox, Park Manager Shawn Settle, and Mark Matzkiw with his horse Jackie are excited to open the Tims Ford Nature Center for the community. – Sarah Raymond photo

The rest of the building possesses a hands-on artifact table, two snakes, turtles, fish, pelts, informational boards, and mounted animals. Settle stated that Tims Ford sees about 50 school groups each spring, and this entire structure will assist teachers in their endeavor to teach students about science. No textbook can ever completely capture the magnitude of the various sciences, so this is a place where children can easily find practical, tangible examples that will enhance their education. With the exception of special events and extenuating circumstances, the Nature Center will be open for business Thursday through Monday.
In addition to the Nature Center, Tims Ford has plenty of sights to see. Pontoon Boat tours will also take place Thursday through Monday, and visitors can sign up for these one-and-a-half-hour tours by visiting either the website or the Visitors Center. Other events that will take place during the summer include a boating camp, junior ranger camp, and survival school. Saturdays at the Ford include food trucks as well, which will be located behind the softball field. Even if you cannot attend one of these events, hunting, boating, swimming, hiking, biking, golfing, fishing, birding, and camping are all available activities. The Visitors Center is located on 570 Tims Ford Drive and can be reached by calling 931-968-3536.