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Nature Detectives Kids Club

Kids 4 to 11 years old are invited to join the Nature Detectives, an interactive and engaging way to foster children's appreciation of nature.

 Mystery Guides

Join the club by participating in self-guided tours and activities. Each Mystery Guide takes you on an exploration of a specific open space property. Kids do not need any special knowledge or equipment - just curious minds and a sense of adventure.

Guide Features

  • Activities that highlight the natural surroundings and history of each location
  • Map
  • Four to six mysteries to solve

Earn Prizes

When children complete a Mystery Guide, they receive a prize and a certificate. The prize will be something they can use for their future outdoor explorations.

Mystery Guides

No need to print out the Mystery Guides as they are usually available at trailheads.

Return completed Mystery Guides at Nature Detective Club mailboxes at trailheads. Families and groups may request Mystery Guides by calling 303-678-6201.

A mystery awaits, detectives… so get out there, and have fun!

 Nature Detectives Library

Want to learn about plants, weather, geology, local history or animals? Take a look at Nature Detectives, an insert for kids that is part of every issues of Images, the magazine of Boulder County Parks and Open Space.

The inserts are also great resources for grown-ups (teachers, scout leaders and parents) working with kids. Students and all curious nature-lovers can use it as a resource for papers, science projects, or just a fun way to learn.

Listing of All Nature Detective Inserts

Filter: For example: "spider"
Muskrat Swims Home2017rodents, tails, beavers, rats, voles, Algonquian, runways, tracks, adaptations, webbed, feet, lodges, tunnels, dens, feeding, platforms, habitat, beneficial, teeth, predators, prey, wetlands, underwater, cattails, babies, kits, territory, scent glands, dr
Ptalking…um, that is…Talking About Ptarmigans2016white-tailed, camouflage, predators, prey, habitat, alpine, tundra, willows, seasons, molting, foods, grouse, nesting, babies, eggs, adaptations, feathers, activity
Sweet Dreams, Yellow-Bellied Marmot2016hibernation, ground squirrels, burrows, dens, tunnels, food, estivation, habitat, predators, prey, babies, life cycle, colony, communication, social, scent glands, whistles, territory, activity, rodents, teeth, incisors
Roly-poly Roundup2016pill bug, exoskeleton, sow bug, isopods, gills, pouch, life cycle, eggs, babies, survival, molt, conglobate, habitat, senses, food, decomposers, defenses, camouflage, predators, prey, observation
Wake Up Turtle, It's Spring2016snapping, painted, hibernation, basking, eggs, nests, predators, prey, life cycle, camouflage, defenses, foods, habitats, ectotherms, scutes, carapace, plastron, activity, observation
Star Light, Star Bright, Let's Find Some Stars Tonight!2015Sun, Earth's rotation, constellations, Big Dipper, Polaris, North Star, Orion, Rigel, Betelgeuse, Canis Major, Sirius, Taurus the Bull, Aldebaran, observation, activity
Grasshoppers Have An Age-old Bad Reputation2015fables, eggs, nymphs, life cycle, winter survival, sounds, senses, compound eyes, molt, food, camouflage, slant-faced, spur-throated, banded-wing, predators, prey, defenses, observation
Questing for Kestrels2015predators, prey, raptors, talons, beaks, falcons, habitat, defenses, eyespots, flight, flying, hovering, windhover, sparrow hawk, foods, adaptations, nests, babies, kiting, kites
Leaping Leopard Frogs & Croaking Chorus Frogs2015camouflage, calling, air sacks, life cycle, eggs, tadpoles, polliwogs, gills, predators, prey, tails, metamorphosis, senses, swallowing, habitats, skin, hibernation, defenses, activities, sounds, ectotherms, freezing, body temperature
How a Meadow Jumping Mouse Named Preble's Got So Famous2014threatened, habitat loss, specialist, generalist, deer mice, feet, predators, prey, tails, defenses, hibernation, nests, burrows, life cycle, food, senses, survival, floods, activity
The Truth About Wild Turkeys2014birds, habitats, roosts, predators, prey, defenses, flight, calls, flocks, foods, feathers, camouflage, nests, activity
Mayflies, Stoneflies, Caddisflies Galore2014insects, dipper, nymph, water, fly fishing, hatch, larvae, metamorphosis, molt, life cycle, cocoon, swarm, drumming, predator, prey, pollution, streams, underwater viewer, word search
Dig Badger Dig2014coyotes, predators, prey, prairie dogs, burrows, tunnels, food, shelter, habitats, babies, defenses, adaptations, activity, observations, claws, tracks
A Red-tailed Hawk Named Kaya2013Birds of Prey Foundation, rehabilitation, injuries, babies, predators, hunting, food, raptors, talons, beaks, adaptations, rodents, flight, eyesight, habitats, migration, territory, nests, camouflage, observations, activity
Awesome Quaking Aspen Trees2013leaves, fall color, roots, clones, seeds, photosynthesis, bark, habitats, wildlife, succession plants, writing activity, observations
Looking for Little Lizards2013camouflage, lagartija, push-up, communication, body language, scales, ectotherm, hibernation, short-horned, six-lined, racerunner, red-lipped, prairie, predator, prey, tails, adaptations, senses, defenses, habitats, observations, experiments
Funny Fox Squirrels: Two Pounds of Mischief2013rodents, introduced species, habitats, predators, prey, feet, defenses, eyes, senses, incisors, teeth, tails, chickarees, pine squirrels, Abert's squirrels, food, shelter, nests, survival, observations
Bison Are Not Boring2012buffalo, survival, defenses, predators, habitats, calves, herds, wallows, body shape, cowbirds, Native Americans, tribes, activity
Eye to Eye with a Praying Mantis2012bugs, insects, defenses, predators, prey, camouflage, compound eyes, senses, survival, eggs, nymphs, molting, exoskeleton, mantises, ground mantids, observation
Catching Bobcats2012wildlife biologists, wildcats, trapping, research, predators, prey, radio collars, camouflage, habitat, rabbits, diet, adaptations, dens, play, lynx, tracks, signs, scat, scrapes
Drums of Spring 2012birds, woodpeckers, communication, calls, northern, red-shafted, songs, feathers, tongues, predators, prey, nests, holes, flight, foods, ants, competition, habitat loss, activities
Tails Talk2011animals, communication, defenses, predators, prey, body language, movement, physiology, camouflage, adaptations, activity
Way to Go, Seeds!2011plants, dispersal, sprouting, growth, activities, animals, adaptations, foods
Summertime Turkey Vultures2011birds, flying, feathers, migration, scavengers, senses, carrion, adaptations, predators, prey, flight, defenses, nests, pellets
A Few Minutes in the Life of a Pocket Gopher –2011tunnels, habitats, ecosystem, senses, defenses, predators, prey, rodents, adaptations
Snow Dust2010snowflakes, crystals, ice, water vapor, clouds, wildlife, predators, prey, camouflage, experiment
Show Time for Antlers2010elk, bugling, horns, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, mountain goats, pronghorn, velvet, bones, keratin, defense
What's the Big Deal about Nature? Plenty!2010air, plants, oxygen, water, wetlands, foods, crops, scavengers, shelter, outside, outdoors, observations, activities, wildlife
Dabbling and Diving into Spring2010ducks, dabblers, divers, coots, adaptations, webbed feet, bills, beaks, flight, flying
Snowshoe Hares – Winter Rabbits2009predators, prey, feet, camouflage, sub-alpine, survival, habitat, rabbits, jackrabbits, cottontail, senses, defenses, signs, tracks, adaptations
Bee Thankful2009honey, pollen, crops, native, pollination, beeswax, beehives, hives, farm, senses, wax, life cycle, metamorphosis, predators, defenses, wasps, yellowjackets, pesticides, dancing
Don't Shrug Off Shrubs2009foods, shelter, bushes, scrub, habitat, wildlife, seeds, fruits, shrubland, signs, skunkbush, three-leaf sumac, antelope bitterbrush, mountain mahogany, observations
Spring Brings Snowmelt2009water, flow, drinking water, water cycle, source, habitats, experiment, observations
Bald Eagle Challenge2008threatened, habitat loss, raptors, pesticides, predators, prey, senses, nests, hunting, flying, wings, flight
Time to Bring in the Crops2008harvests, farms, crops, bees, squirrels, chickarees, pikas, predators, prey, jays, Clark's nutcrackers, seeds
Why, Oh Why, Cacti?2008prickly pear, habitats, defenses, succulent, bees, plants, mountain ball, flowers, fruit, winter survival, observations, cactus, foods
Tiger Salamander Heads to Her Pond2008dragons, amphibians, life cycle, predators, prey, metamorphosis, ectotherms, senses, camouflage, defenses, hibernation, burrows, habitats, folk tales
Porcupine: A Prickly Critter2007quills, Arapaho, rodents, defenses, predators, prey, senses, guard hairs, habitat, adaptations
Rattle-tattle Rattlesnake2007snakes, predators, prey, venom, rattles, pit vipers, senses, fangs, jousting, hibernation, camouflage, defenses
Life in the Zone2007plants, climate, temperature, wildlife, habitat, mountains, vegetation, treelines, plains, grasslands, foothills, montane, subalpine, alpine, prairie, insects, forests
What is a Nature Detective?2007senses, wonder, journal, sound map, wildlife, animals, plants, weather, observation
Who Are You Calling a Weasel?2006predators, prey, long-tailed, short-tailed, mustelids, musk glands, camouflage, ermine, tracks
Farming for Food and Wildlife2006coyotes, habitats, farmers, ranchers, human disturbance, corridors, mammals, birds, snakes, insects, hedgerows, crops, agriculture
Do You Guess Kingfisher or Great Blue Heron?2006birds, fish, predators, prey, habitats, nests, migration, adaptations
Silly Names: Snow Fleas and Mourning Cloaks2006springtails, butterflies, insects, leaf litter, tree sap, predators, defenses, camouflage, hibernation
Ponderosa Pine Forest: mmm smells like ice cream2005trees, forest, smells, sap, pines, conifers, roots, fire, beetles, mistletoe, Abert's, squirrels, tassel-eared, witch's broom, truffles, fungus, birds, habitats, activity
Can a Plant Become a Rock?2005coal, Hopi, mining, miners, lignite, sub-bituminous, seams, fires, Coal Creek
Osprey, That's What!2005prey, predators, birds, fish hawks, pellets, nests, migration, reservoir
Moose Not Meese2005deer, antlers, Algonquin, predators, prey, defenses, babies, adaptations, habitats
Resourceful Ravens and their Relatives2004crows, jays, corvids, folktales, foods, predators, prey, magpies, intelligence, Clark's nutcrackers, cached, calls, imitation, body language, experiment, flight
Nocturnal Animals and Night Vision2004senses, eye shine, tapetum, diurnal, night, predators, habitat, behavior, activity, sight, rods, cones, experiments, eyeshine
Butterflies Flutter By2004wings, scales, pollinators, pollen, moths, nectar, foods, camouflage, defenses, caterpillars, insects, silk, chrysalis, predators, puddling, experiment
Cottonwood Trees – Discovering a Special Plant2004Lewis, Clark, Corps of Discovery, bark, Mandan tribe, habitat, plains, narrowleaf, riparian, animals, foods, catkins, experiments
Wise as an Owl2003great horned owls, animal sayings, camouflage, calls, hooting, feathers, talons, prey, predators, eyes, ears, pellets, nests
Loveable Ladybugs2003ladybird beetles, aphids, migration, mountains, insects, metamorphosis, eggs, larvae, exoskeleton, pupa, foods, defenses, predators, experiment
Go Fish2003fishing gear, foods, hooks, line, poles, bait, lures, bobbers, pan, bluegills, crappies, sunfish, angling, anglers, swim bladder, gills, scales, slime, habitat
The Wonder of Wildflowers2003pasqueflower, plants, shelter, snow, glacier lilies, buttercups, hairs, seeds, violets, roses, survival, scientific names, play, story
Making Friends with Chickadees, Nuthatches and Wrens2002experiment, spishing, squeaking, birds, calls, songs, nest boxes, bird house plans, house sparrows, foods, eat
Sensational Spiders2002silk, spinnerets, webs, exoskeleton, wolf, jumping, black widow, dragline
Cool Facts about Garter Snakes2002hibernation, ectotherms, experiment, western, plains, scales, shedding, prey, predator, defenses, basking, reptiles
Proverbs for Rainy Weather2002weather prediction, rain, water vapor, evaporation, clouds, experiments, ants, folk tales
Tracking Down Wildlife Visitors2001animal tracks, neighborhood, city, urban, skunks, raccoons, racoons, fox squirrels, cottontail rabbits, red foxes, habitats
Stamping with Grass2001grasslands, plains, prairies, postage, stamps, habitats, climate, grazing, pioneers, settlers, cattle, farming, weather, roots, pollination, fire, drought, prairie dogs, bison, foods, experiment
Crow's Quest for Fire2001wildfire, forest, succession, folk tales
Earthworms Recycle2001worms, plants, castings, tunnels, soil, predators, experiments
What Are the Geese Honking About?2000goose, flight, migration, feathers
The Buzz About Bees2000honey, solitary, pollination, wasps, parasites, bumble, hibernation, nests
Dramas in the Night Sky2000stars, constellations, Big Dipper, Orion, Cassiopeia, outer space, moon, myths
How Turtle Flew South for the Winter1999migration, hibernation, ponds, ecosystems, frogs, beavers, muskrats, fish, plants, wildlife, observations, folk tales
The Power of Water1999erosion, floods, geology, rock formations, rivers, caves, sand dunes, wind
Fluttering Shadows in the Night1999bats, mammals, echolocation
A Flight of Fantasy1999hawks, predators, prey, red-tailed, Swainson's, rough-legged, migration, paper glider
Sticks and Stones and Woven Homes1998nests, birds, squirrels, wasps, killdeer, owl, eagle, hummingbird, robin, oriole, predators, prey
Tremendous Trees1998leaves, fall color, bark, spruce, fir, pine, willows, aspen, cottonwood, observations
Nature's Engineers1998beavers, dams, meadows, lodges, ponds, nocturnal, extinction
Choppers and Hoppers -- Who Are We?1998rodents, incisors, hibernation, squirrels, jumping mice, porcupines, prairie dogs, beavers
What Do They Do in Winter1997hibernation, ptarmigan, turtles, torpor, survival, ladybugs, toads, boreal
Looking into the Prairie1997grasslands, habitats, plains, prairies, fires, bison, grasses, prairie dogs, predators, prey, burrowing owl, settlers, pioneers, Native Americans, sod houses
Stalking the Elephanthead1997wild flowers, plants, scientific names, ponderosa, pines, milkweed, kinnikinnik, habitats, settlers, pioneers, aspen, grasses, fireweed, plant key
The Ever-Changing Earth1997geology, uplift, erosion, geologic change, rocks, igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic, fountain formation, mountains, minerals, Flatirons
Fire!1996forest, wildfire, animals, ecosystems, cycles, Native Americans, succession, foods, insects, plants, seeds, decomposition
The Life of a Ponderosa1996pines, trees, ecosystems, life cycle, insects, animals, habitats
Tales of the Alpine Tundra1996ecosystems, adaptations, treeline, marmots, pikas, habitats, hibernation, krummholz, ptarmigan, plants, glaciers, erosion, experiment, rocks
Natural Inventions1996tools, adaptations, insects, animals
Patterns in Nature1995tracks, camouflage, spiders, webs, leaves, tree rings, rocks, geology, clouds, pine beetles
Everyday Art1995Native Americans, tribes, tools, artists, pottery, baskets, pots, weaving, hides, clothing, leather, quills, paints, painting, tipis, tepees, teepees, petroglyphs, pictographs, dyes
Little Burrow on the Prairie1995prairie dogs, rodents, adaptations, predators, prey, mammals, tunnels, communication, habitats, ecosystems, foods, survival, calls, bubonic, plague, defenses
Butterfly Days1995insects, gardens, nectar, habitats, flowers, metamorphosis, chrysalis, monarch, migration, camouflage, defenses, senses
Wind1994air, temperatures, clouds, wind chill, activities, energy
Who Whoo!!1994owls, birds, senses, nocturnal, predators, prey, pellets, feathers, nesting, great horned, burrowing
Twinkle, Twinkle!1994stars, moon, planets, sun, earth, rotation, activities, seasons, day, Polaris, poles, north, south, constellations, myths, meteors
Wild About Worms1994earthworms, plants, castings, tunnels, soil, predators, worm bin
Out We Go!1993activities, observations, tunnels, tracks, insects, snow, animals
Too Much Trash!1993garbage, recycling, animals, insects, decomposition, rotting, soil, nutrients, composting, landfills, dumps, biodegrade, recycle, reduce, reuse, activities, worms
Leaves1993activities, trees, photosynthesis, conifers, deciduous, evergreens, needles, animals, insects
Getting Around1992observations, animals, adaptations, activities, snowshoe, hare, rats, wings, bats, mammals, snakes, worms, shells, insects
Super Seeds1992plants, sprouting, growth, dispersal, activities, foods, animals
Animal Babies1992animals, habitats, nests, young, babies, foods, life cycles, food chain, ponds, metamorphosis, predators, prey, precocial, altricial, nests, great horned, owls, mice, activities
Story Time!1991folk tales, animals, activities, stories, Native Americans, myths
Teeth Talk1991animals, adaptations, foods, observations, tooth
Amazing Insects1991crustaceans, roly-polys, pillbugs, praying mantis, predators, prey, activities, foods, mouths, bugs, ants
Listen to the Animals1990communication, language, sounds, calls, songs, observations, hearing
Cattails1990plants, seeds, habitats, wetlands, nests, marsh, foods, Native Americans, animals, insects, muskrats, birds, camouflage, activities
Wild Neighbors!1990animals, habitats, city, nocturnal, towns, nests, activities
Birds in Winter1989survival, migration, adaptations, feeders, observations, foods
Predator and Prey1989animals, insects, foods, birds, spiders, teeth, survival, defenses, camouflage, adaptations
Recycle It!1989recycling, wildfire, fires, forests, beetles, activities, insects, soil, garbage, composting, animals, decomposition, rotting, nutrients, worms, life cycle
Raccoon Round-up1988racoons, animals, mammals, teeth, survival, adaptations, foods, omnivores, activities
Ready, Set, GROW!1988plants, energy, sun, foods, photosynthesis, chlorophyll, animals, carbohydrates, leaves, activities, wildflowers, food chain
Vision1987senses, sight, animals, adaptations, eyeshine, activities, predators, prey, defenses, camouflage, patterns
Journeys1987animals, foxes, migration, crossbills, butterflies, monarch, birds, bird banding, seeds
Fur, Feathers, Slime and Scales1987animals, skin, scales, molting, feathers, fur
Animal Families1987animals, Canada geese, spiders, bats, sunfish, beetles, turtles, raccoons, young, babies
Snow & Ice1986flakes, crystals, algae, glaciers, observations, tunnels, animals, snowshoes
Insects1986ladybugs, dragonflies, fleas, life cycles
Fossils1986geology, rocks, dinosaurs, coal, oil, rock formations, ancient, animals
Night and Day1986animals, habitats, night, day, fungi, insects, roosting, birds, bats, adaptations, predators, prey, senses, owls, pellets, butterflies, moths, activities, nocturnal
Animals in Winter1985survival, hibernation, camouflage, predators, prey, migration, tracks, activities
Fall Festivals1985constellations, activities, bats, skeletons, bones, teeth, animals, foods
Camouflage1985animals, bittern, defenses, butterflies, deer, eggs, spiders, survival
Forests1985trees, ponderosa, pines, ecosystems, habitats, fir, spruce, aspens, squirrels, chickarees, pinedrops, orchids, tree rings, timberline, bark, activities
Animal Homes1984observations, shelters, wasps, beavers, swallows, caterpillars, orioles, caddis flies, activities
Fields and Meadows1984habitats, ecosystems, grasslands, plains, prairies, grasses, animals, prairie dogs, towns, tunnels, burrows, voles, runways, observations, sod houses, grasshoppers
Ponds and Puddles1984habitats, ecosystems, wetlands, water, animals, Native Americans, cattails, observations, amphibians, frogs, reptiles, birds, dip net, life cycles, activities

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