Saturday proved to be, at long last, a perfect day for spring to take flight, and the Earthplace nature center led the celebration in Westport.
Earthplace's annual Spring Fling event brought hundreds of people to the Woodside Lane nature center and sanctuary for a free open house that featured kite and birdhouse making, art, food, nature hikes and lots of opportunities to engage with friends of fur, fin and feather.
"We're delighted it's finally spring," said Tony McDowell, the Earthplace executive director.
"You can tell that families were looking forward to sunny weather," he said.
While the gusty wind blew over a few signs, it also boosted kites skyward.
Visitors got to go on a bird-watching tour, as well as check out the pond, where naturalists shared facts about creatures of the spring season.
"It's great," said Mark LaClair of Westport. "We're having fun."
"This is my first time to this place, I hate to say, but the kids are having a blast," he added.
"Spring Fling is about celebrating the changing of the season and opening up our facility to the community, and all that our facility has to offer," said Sara Cronquist, Earthplace's community engagement manager.
"We have all sorts of activities going on," she said, including visits from the Wilton Parrot Rescue, which featured grand, colorful birds, and members of the Harbor Watch team, who led the stream investigation.
"I think it's awesome," said Marina Dubrovina of Westport. "It's such a great opportunity for families to get together and for babies to get close to all these animals."
Snakes, turtles, guinea pigs and parrots -- the range of animal ambassadors was considerable.
"I love it," said Kerry Fitzgerald of Westport, who was enjoying fresh-made pizza with her son Jack, age 3. "I think it's a great turnout on a beautiful day."
"It's beautiful here," said Andrea Lupinacci of Westport, whose son Matthew, now 6, had attended the nursery school. "They always do a really nice job."
"It's nice to bring the family together again and see old friends and old teachers," she said.