Nature Discovery Bottles

Nature Observation Globes

Back in September, I introduced the Nature Center discovery stations at both my library and home that I’ve been supplying with treasures found from outside to invoke a curiosity for the great outdoors. There has been interest regarding what has been on display since, so I’m writing up a couple posts outlining a few of the highlights. First up, these nifty nature discovery bottles! Tennessee had a long a beautiful fall and towards the end I found a way to preserve and observe pieces of it at home and in the library.


While on a grocery store run I spotted these flavored water beverages and was instantly reminded of a Pinterest find about creating natural artifact globes. The water bottles were fifty cents a pop, so I bought several that the 4-year-old inhaled and I later repurposed into these….


Isn’t it awesome how the globe magnifies the specimen inside? And there really isn’t much to making these discovery bottles. All I did was remove the water bottle label, added natural specimen my daughter and I found, filled the bottle with tap water, and then sealed it. That’s it! For the discovery bottles housed at the library’s Nature Center, I wrapped a long, durable piece of table around the cap. Just in case.


I regularly rotated 3-4 discovery bottles at the library’s Nature Center every other week. Depending on what was inside the bottle and the temperature of the building, the water sometimes grew murky and eventually needed to be changed. I would either change the water out and keep the specimen inside the bottle or change out both the water and add a new item for observation. They were quite the attraction! At home we kept 3 discovery bottles that L and I would change out whenever we felt like it. Sometimes the bottles would be stationed at her little Nature Center indoors or we would keep them outside for experimentation with temperature.


As it grew colder and colder and the world around us because brown and brittle, I reached out to the local arboretum, Reflection Riding Arboretum, to see if they had touch table artifacts they’d be willing to lend the library. They graciously loaned a turtle shell, snake skins, wild turkey feathers, and a piece of coal to be on display for a few weeks in November and December along with other circulated found items on display.

Arboritum Touch Table Nature Center


Another addition was this pesky, parasitic plant that’s also a well known decoration around this area that encourages lovers to kiss at Christmas. You guessed it… Mistletoe! A coworker shimmied up a tree outside the library and collected a stem for the kids to observe. It was fun to introduce the kids to both the mistletoe and piece of coal during the time of year when popular holiday culture was in full swing. The majority of them didn’t know what either was and it was exciting for them to hold the items in their hands and make the connection.

Onward march into wintertime!

Tomorrow, I’ll post about the Nature Center’s current provocation… The magic of snowflakes.


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  1. […] Eve 5. …And they all fall down. 6. snail feast 7. harvest sunset 8. This month’s nature discovery bottle collections 9. Mushroom foraging + identification 10. November’s reflections 11. Deer and […]

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