With temperatures slowly rising and sunlight gradually increasing, signs of springtime have some York county residents looking ahead to a change of seasons. York County Parks will also be looking ahead next weekend - way ahead - to summer during Ocean Days, a weekend-long event bringing the shore to York.

This family-friendly event will feature hands-on crafts, activity tables, and touch tanks for children to explore from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 22, and from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 23, in the Nature Center at Nixon Park. Marine Science Educators from the Chincoteague Bay Field Station, in Wallops Island, Va., will be on hand to discover the shore and the wildlife you might share a vacation with.

Educational programs will be offered throughout the weekend. Admission for the entire weekend is $2; children ages 5 and under, as well as park members with park membership card are free.

  • Tides Story Walk: Take a walk, read a story and learn about the shore on a self-guided stroll along the streamside lower geology trail while reading the selected story, which will be attached to posts spread out along the walk, from 8:30 a.m. to dusk Saturday, March 22, and Sunday, March 23. No registration is required for this event.
  • Fish Printing: Try your hand at gyotaku, the Japanese art of fish printing, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 22, and 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, March 23. The art form evolved more than 100 years ago as a means for fishermen to record their catches. Tools will be provided. To do additional prints, consider bringing your own T-shirt, cloth bag or other craft item to stamp. This hands-on craft is included in the weekend event fee, and no registration is required.
  • A Sea Turtle's Life: Discover what it's like to live like this sea reptile from 9:30 to 9:50 a.m. Saturday, March 22. Nixon Park intern and National Aquarium educator Lauren Albright will use props, costumes and audience participation to help understand these sea creatures. This program is included in the weekend event fee, and no registration is required.
  • Under the Sea: Children can discover the unique marine habitats of the Eastern shore and the creatures that live under and along its waterways from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 22, and from 3 to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 23. Hands-on activities, games and active observation of marine animals will offer an opportunity for the entire family to engage with underwater creatures. This program is included in the weekend event fee, and no registration is required.
  • Plankton Races: In this race, the slowest wins! Children will learn about these organisms that can't swim against a current, then build their own plankton and "race" it from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 22, and 1:45 to 2:45 p.m. Sunday, March 23. The last one to sink wins. This event is for children ages 8 and up, and is limited to 15 participants. This event is included in the weekend event fee; registration is required by calling 428-1961.
  • In the Waves: Chincoteague Bay Field Station staff will discuss the geology and ecology of the shore, where waves crash and dunes form from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, March 22. Staff will explore what animals deal with in this environment and examine why the shore looks the way it does. This program is for children ages 8 and up, and is included in the weekend event fee.
  • Living Like a Jelly: What is it like to be made of 98 percent water? How do you feed yourself and move? Nixon Park intern and National Aquarium educator Lauren Albright will use props, costumes and participation to explore these and other questions about these underwater invertebrates from 2 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 22. This program is included in the weekend event fee, and no registration is required.
  • Creature Feature: Come face-to-face with some of the most common fish and invertebrates of Coastal Virginia from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 22, and from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Sunday, March 23.  This event is included in the weekend event fee, and no registration is required.
  • Sharks of the Atlantic: Nixon Park intern and National Aquarium educator Lauren Albright will offer a family-focused presentation on some of the most common species of Atlantic Sharks from 2 to 2:45 p.m. Sunday, March 23. This event is included in the weekend event fee, and no registration is required.

For more information on Ocean Days at Nixon Park call 717-428-1961.

- Reach Amy Peiffer at apeiffer@yorkdispatch.com.