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Backyard Wilderness at the Great Lakes Science Center

We were provided with tickets to see Backyard Wilderness at the Cleveland Clinic DOME Theater and admission to the Great Lakes Science Center to facilitate this conversation. All opinions are my own.
Backyard Wilderness at the Great Lakes Science Center

A few years ago, I stopped home with my son before dashing off to get his sister from daycare. I happened to glance in the backyard and I noticed a deer. It was so still and I was in such a rush that it registered as a memory.

My grandparents had a plaster statue of a deer resting on the ground. It was life-size but not lifelike.

When we walked out of the house the deer had moved. She was beautiful and scary all at the same time. All I could think was she could do some serious damage if she felt threatened by us.

I nudged my then six or seven-year-old to the car and she stared us down with majesty. I had no idea if she decided to claim our backyard as hers or if she planned to leave. Either way, I still had to get the baby from daycare.

I called the city and was informed that we live close enough to the Metroparks that we just had to share.

It was a very real reminder that we are part of a bigger world than our suburb.

The Great Lakes Science Center invited us to view the latest Cleveland Clinic DOME Theater movie - Backyard Wilderness.

Spanning a seasonal year around a typical suburban home, the film displays a stunning array of unique wildlife imagery and behavior – all captured by cameras mounted inside dens and nests, and moving along the forest floor and the bottom of a pond. The film follows Katie, a young girl, and her family who at first are overly engaged with their busy lives and electronic devices. But soon, Katie begins to explore the beauty of nature right outside, and uncovers some of nature’s secrets that we so often overlook. From a den of coyote pups and a nest of wood ducks to tadpoles, salamanders and a family of white-tail deer, the film reveals our animal neighbors in rare and breathtaking detail. The film reminds us that sometimes in ordinary places, you can uncover extraordinary things - you just need to step outside.

“Backyard Wilderness” is an Arise Media/Archipelago Films production in collaboration with HHMI Tangled Bank Studios, and is being released by SK Films. It was produced and directed by Andrew Young and Susan Todd, who wrote the film together with SK Film’s Wendy MacKeigan.
I was so excited! Growing up, my family went camping every weekend all summer and in the fall. We had the complete run of the forest surrounding the campground. This movie could help inspire my kids to explore their backyard.

Granted, our backyard is nothing like the one in the movie. Our suburb leans more towards an urban area rather than a rural area. We do have a very vast Metroparks area. We have many trees and a lake within walking distance.

Watching the seasons, animals, and their habitats grow and change in the enormous DOME Theater was beautiful. I felt emerged in the movie, surrounded by gorgeous photography. The music was a star itself, ushering the viewer from one moment to the next in harmony with the changing seasons.

The movie opened up a discussion on how we could explore the seasons, just like Katie in the movie. One way is using apps like Seek and iNaturalist to identify as many species of wildlife, birds, plants, and bugs as possible. We also downloaded the Backyard Wilderness Family Activity Guide for more ideas.

Of course, we can't just go to the movies! We also spent the afternoon checking out favorite exhibits and caught a daily science demonstration.

This weekend is Curiosity Carnival! Six stupendous science demonstrations and hands-on activities all weekend and, since school will be out, Monday, too!

Experimenting at the Great Lakes Science Center

#StayCuriousCLE at the Great Lakes Science Center

NASA at the Great Lakes Science Center

Backyard Wilderness will be playing weekends at the Cleveland Clinic DOME Theater at the Great Lakes Science Center. 

For tickets or more information go to

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