Head to Play Days at Hays This Summer

Hays Nature Preserve is one of Huntsville’s hidden gems – but did you know they offer FREE programs for kids in the summer? Operation Green Team and the City of Huntsville offers this fantastic gift to the community, and you don’t want to miss it in June. Play Days at Hays is a great way to get outdoors in nature, and maybe even learn a thing or two about animals, conservation, and the world around us.

Play Days at Hays Details & Dates


Who can come to Play Days at Hays?
Activities are geared for kindergartners to sixth graders. With the help of an adult, a younger child could participate. If you have questions about the Play Days at Hays program, call 256-564-8077.

What should you bring with you?
For all these events, children should wear old comfortable shoes and play clothes that can get a bit dirty. Bring a bottle of water and put on your preferred insect repellent, especially on the lower legs, it’ll fend off unwanted insect bites. Children must be accompanied by an adult during the sessions.

Scavenger Hunt

Tuesday, June 5 from 10AM – 1PM
School is out & summer is here! No better way to kick off Play Days at Hays than with a fun nature scavenger hunt. Come pick up your hunt list, marker, and bag (for special collectibles). When you return to the playground to show us your findings, we’ll have a special treat for you! Tuesdays are drop in days! No need to register, just show up ready to play.


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Texture Adventure

Thursday, June 7 at 9:30 AM – 11 AM
Call 256-532-5326 to RSVP

You can find so many different textures in nature from gritty sand to slimy mud. We will talk about the different textures and walk through the Preserve to see how many we can find. Space is limited. Reservations are required on Thursdays.

Hairy, Scary, but Mostly Merry Fairy Tales

Tuesday, June 12 from 10 AM – 1 PM
Be ready to be mesmerized by a fabulous local author and nature expert, Renee Simmons Raney. Renee was featured on absolutely Alabama for her storytelling of The Natural History of Fairies. Each child will create their own “Fairy Lure” and a feature for your fairy garden, while supplies last. Story times will be 10am, 11am and Noon. Tuesdays are drop in days! No need to register, just show up ready to play.

Let’s Go Fishing!

Thursday, June 14 at 9:30 AM – 11 AM
Call 256-532-5326 to RSVP

Bring your rod and reel, or use one of our cane poles! Operation Green Team will have worms. You come ready to practice your fishing skills during our ‘catch and release’ activity at Bar Lake. If you need a bit of help baiting your hook, just ask. Reservations are required on Thursdays.


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Butterfly Bonanza

Tuesday, June 19 from 10 AM – 1 PM
Tina with Butterflies by Tina will take us on a journey through the lifecycle of a butterfly. Learn about the anatomy of a butterfly using a larger than life-size model. You can then explore the Preserve with a butterfly-themed scavenger hunt. Tuesdays are drop in days! No need to register, just show up ready to play.

Bug Out Discovery

Thursday, June 21 at 9:30 AM – 11:00 PM
Call 256-532-5326 to RSVP

Bugs and insects are enjoying a great life at Hays. They are helping to keep our Preserve healthy. Your children will make a lady bug or baby bee from a piece of recycled egg carton, and then set out in search to collect some insects of our own. We will have magnifying glasses to borrow to look at the critters up close and personal!


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Nature Art

Tuesday, June 26 from 10 AM – 1 PM
Back by popular demand our watercolor in the trees event! Hint…you might have a whole lot of fun making your masterpieces. We provide everything when you pop-in to let your creativity run wild. Wear clothes that can get dirty! Tuesdays are drop in days! No need to register, just show up ready to play.

Gardening Shed

Thursday, June 28 at 9:30 AM – 11:00 PM
Call 256-532-5326 to RSVP

Have you been wondering what’s going on at the new building at Hays? Sign up for this one! Bring some gloves, or use some of ours, and learn about gardening with hands-on activities. We’ll have a little something special for you to take home!

Hays Nature Preserve

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