Red Top's Mountain Cove Discovery Room opens weekly beginning Saturday
by Marie Nesmith
Jun 02, 2011 | 4234 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Red Top Mountain State Park Seasonal Naturalist Marcus Toft lays a piece of pottery down among the artifacts from the park on display in the Mountain Cove Discovery Room.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Red Top Mountain State Park Seasonal Naturalist Marcus Toft lays a piece of pottery down among the artifacts from the park on display in the Mountain Cove Discovery Room. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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A victim of last year's state budget cutback, the former Mountain Cove Restaurant at Red Top Mountain State Park is being transformed into a "hub" for programming and hands-on learning. On Saturdays this month from 1 to 7 p.m., patrons will be able to visit the Mountain Cove Discovery Room and get a sneak peek of this work in progress.

"It's going to be an education area, where we'll be able to do some passive things, where they can just kind of come in when they want and be in an area where if it rains we can still do some programs and activities," said Steve Hadley, Resource Manager II for Red Top Mountain State Park. "[It is an] education hub, so people can know where the programs are going to be and know that there's always someplace where they're out of the weather, out of the heat, out of the rain and we can do programs. They can come and do hands-on activities.

"We're having a soft opening [this month]. Right now we're kind of taking it a month at a time, starting with June. In June we're just going to have it open [Saturdays] 1 to 7 and see how that does, and we may expand or contract that in July and the following months. It won't be complete [in June] but we will have five to seven different kinds of activities they can do with or without staff. Its [completion is] still out of our immediate reach because there's still some budget questions going on and some other things."

In addition to interacting with exhibits, ranging from reptiles to bird watching, people will be able to participate in scheduled activities. At 1:30 p.m., there will be a program highlighting three non-venomous snakes, followed by a 4 p.m. craft project in which children can create a "nutty" acorn person.

"[The exhibits] will be a lot of hands-on things," Red Top Seasonal Naturalist Marcus Toft said. "So one of them will be a touch box where you can reach in and just by using your sense of touch try to figure out what's in there and then we'll have some information about what you're actually touching.

"We have an animal watching station with some binoculars and field guides. We're going to have a microscope station with some slides and information that we're putting together. We're going to have some [details about] trees, like ... how they grow and how their growth is reflected by what's happening in the environment."

The cost to visit the Discovery Room at 50 Lodge Road S.E. in Cartersville is a $5 parking fee. For more information, call 770-975-0055.