We met up with a longtime friend and her kiddos at the 577 Foundation this week. I hadn’t been there since I was a child, so it had been a decade, okay, two decades, since I was on the grounds. And let me tell you it is ah-mazing! There are so many magnificent things for the children to see, do, and learn, and the best part, it is all FREE!
History of 577 Foundation
The property goes back to the 1880’s as an old farmland, while the deed to the place was actually signed by President John Quincy Adams. In 1935, Duane and Virginia Stranahan purchased the 12 acre property, built their home and raised a family of six children. Virginia always had an interest in gardening & agriculture. Their home was a small farm with pigs, chickens, cattle, horses & victory gardens for each of the 6 children.
Many of the riverfront estates began to sub-divide and develop. None of her 6 children wanted this place, so Virginia decided to return her property to the community in a way that will preserve the land she loves, teach stewardship & make it useful to as many people as possible. At the age of 80, she decided to practice her belief as a preservationist. “To keep a corner of Perrysburg green” and “give people a way to get down to see the Maumee river” were a couple of the reasons she gave people when they questioned why she was preserving her estate from development. “Whatever we do here, let’s be educational, environmental, experimental, and let’s have fun” these words were often used as she opened her grounds and facility to the public. And one of the most significant comment when people asked what we were all about was “What would you like us to do?” (Source)
What will you will find at the 577 Foundation?
We started our exploration in the Geodesic Biodome! The Biodome was filled with fun learning opportunities from solar energy, data showing the weather related conditions in the Dome, a fun scavenger hunt, Koi pond, and more!
Virginia’s Children’s Garden
We than followed the path around to Virginia’s Children’s Garden. It was the most adorable garden filled with fun interactive activities for the kids including climbing apparatuses, games, small wading stream, a stage to dance and/or put on a puppet show, tree house, and more!
Then we were off to Did’s Dig, where each of the kiddos channeled their inner paleontologist and searched for 350 million year old silica shale fossils like, clams, sea lilies, corals, trilobites and bony fishes including sharks! Best part, the kiddos got to take their fossil finds home with them!
After searching for fossils the kiddos had worked up a sweat so we headed back in time to the 19th century to cool off in a Log Cabin home. It was donated and moved there in 1995. It was originally built in 1804 and replicated to be an example of the 19th century.
After checking out the Log cabin home the children wanted to go back to Virginia’s Children’s Garden, which was clearly their favorite. On the way back we did happen upon the Compost Corner. There are several compost bins for, leaves, weeds, vegetables, etc. that the community organic gardeners are asked to use for any scraps taken from the garden. Then, once everything composts the result will be rich nutrient fertilizer to go back on the garden, talk about sustainable!
We were there for two hours and barely skimmed the surface on all the magnificent educational, hand-on, and most importantly, fun experiences 577 Foundation offers. On the way out we did stop in the Carriage Room that is filled with books for the Once-Read Book Center. The Book Center is open daily and operated by non-profit organizations. And this part is really awesome; the proceeds from the purchase of books benefit the group in charge as well as Read for Literacy.
For more information about book donations, signing up for one of the amazing classes offered here, or perhaps you have a talent you wish to share via a class, here are all the details…..
Hours: Monday-Sunday 9am-5pm
Address: 577 East Front Street, Perrysburg, OH 43551
Phone: Phone: (419) 874-4174