With all due respect to the four Presidents born in February, to which we celebrate with a special day, I think there is a good reason why the second month of the year is the shortest.

With all due respect to the four Presidents born in February, to which we celebrate with a special day, I think there is a good reason why the second month of the year is the shortest.
’Cause it’s bad – as in B-List.
Come on, the biggest thing that happens this month is whether a groundhog sees his or Bill Murray’s shadow? February is so messed up that it doesn’t even have the same number of days each year!
Certainly there’s no bow hunting, unless you’re a bit angelic and called Cupid. And didn’t we consume too much chocolate during the holidays anyway?
No, I’m sorry, February is not really good for anything, except maybe getting from the old year into spring training and snagging, turkey and mushroom hunting, fishing, etc. Trouble is, we gotta do the hard time, especially after this weekend when we won’t even have a lopsided Super Bowl to look forward to.
OK, I’ve got a royal suggestion: the Remington Nature Center.
Not heard of it? That’s because it has quietly and just recently opened. But, trust me, it’s worth the drive north to St. Joseph.
If you’re an outdoors devotee, then no doubt you’ve had the joy of wandering in and around the Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area in Blue Springs. If so, then you’ll find a lot to like about the Remington. It is devoted to Missouri natural history, but with a different bent on history. There is a much more emphasis on human history, especially as it unfolded in the St. Joe area.
There is a social and cultural look at how man’s touch impacted nature. A mock-up of city streets in the mid-1800s, Civil War uniforms, how Native Americans incorporated farming techniques into their daily lives, how pottery was first made during the Woodlands Period and even how early man made spear points and stone tools during the days of the wooly mammoth.
You’re greeted by a wooly mammoth at the front door, in fact.
“WOW!” a youngster gushed as he entered with his family. “How do you shoot something like that?”
Then turning back to his mom, he asked, “How do you shoot something like that?”
Everybody in earshot of the young man laughed.
But it wasn’t such an outlandish question. The mammoth was vital to human existence during that period; just as the buffalo was essential to the Native American.
“You know, we have all kinds of comments,” said Andrea George, Exhibits and Events Coordinator. “And that’s the funniest thing of all – that and the facial expressions when people first come through the door. The reaction of people seeing this for the first time makes my job really worthwhile.”
Of course, it’s that mammoth “wow” moment that’s pretty hard to top. But considering the 7,000-gallon aquarium, the 1,200 Native America artifacts, the parade of Missouri animal mounts past and present, rain gardens, the magic animal tracks in the sand and the other interactive lab setups – well, there are a lot of “wow” moments inside the Remington walls.
“We wanted to feature the mammoth because it really exemplifies the cultural side of this area. The paleo man absolutely needed the wooly mammoth to survive because of how it provided food, clothing and tools,” Andrea George emphasized.
Becky Carter had three children in tow when she visited recently.
“I think this is absolutely great,” she said with a broad smile. “Anytime St. Joe can bring something in that’s educational for the kids I think it’s wonderful. It’s easy to come here and an inexpensive thing to do on the weekends. These guys (looking down at her children) really enjoyed the animals and the train.”
Besides, all the fun is not just inside either. The Remington sits alongside the Missouri River and there’s a riverwalk that allows for a spectacular view of the Loess Hills Bluff toward the east.
The Remington, located at 1502 MacArthur Drive, is open every day.Oops, it will be closed however on Monday, Feb. 16 – for Presidents Day.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: The Remington has a great website: stjoenaturecenter.info. The Remington Nature Center is operated by the City of St. Joseph, but made possible by several major contributors, including the Missouri Department of Conservation.