Visitors to the Fish Ladder Visitor Center this past weekend had quite the viewing session. The eel-like sea lamprey could be seen slithering through the water, its jawless, sucking mouths opening wide against the observation glass. Hard to believe that you need only drive into Bellows Falls to see a creature that lives in both freshwater and saltwater AND pre-dates dinosaurs.
Several shad were also seen; dams, overharvesting, and pollution put shad's once plentiful numbers in peril in the 1990's according to PBS's Outdoor Journal, but their population within the Connecticut River due to restoration efforts, including fish ladders.
After taking the underwater view in, there's more to explore with the help of naturalist Rachel Brown, who is at the center on Fridays and Saturdays. On both days, Brown leads a free one-hour family-friendly program on a different topic each week at 11am. On Sundays, docent Hailee Galandak-Cochran is on hand to field any questions visitors may have.
This Friday and Saturday at 11am, she will be speaking about the incredible behaviors of birds. Titled "Feathers and Flight", Brown will lead attendees as they search for local featured creatures and observe their special characteristics.
The center is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays until Labor Day from 10am-4pm.