Visitors Say the Darndest Thing-Quotes from Visitors

Quotes from Visitors to Programs Through The Years

Naturalists tend to have a very funny sense of humor. (Picture: Ashley Kennedy by Karen McDonald)

Something to Make Visitors, Naturalists, and Interpreters Sigh and Laugh

Over the years, I've worked at several parks and outdoor education centers. In that time, I've always kept a quote wall for those classic moments that just have to be recorded for posterity. If you're an outdoor educator, or just a park visitor, hopefully you can relate. If you have any you'd like to share, feel free to e-mail me ( and I'll add them. Warning, some have slightly mature content.

When asked about her group of students, "Don't ask me, I'm the teacher. I don't know anything."

"Are those crackles and baffle-head ducks?", asked a visitor about some local birds, meaning grackles and bufflehead ducks.

Instructor: “Why do you think we use alcohol in hand sanitizer?” Student: “To get the germs drunk!”

"Can I return this [toy] turtle? It has lipstick on it and my son wants a boy."

"Hello, nature center.", Interpreter answers the phone. Caller, "Yes, I'm calling about getting my social security card."  Interpreter replies, "This is a nature center." Caller says, "Are you sure?"

"Can you do something for this shark? He keeps getting washed up by the tide every time we put him back.", referring to the 3 foot long spiny dogfish (shark) which they walked from the beach, to the nature center, holding it by its tail with its head in a lunch cooler full of water.

Retired visitor standing with an interpreter while watching his group get coffee before a bird hike: "Look, a flock of gray-tufted-coffee-suckers!"

"We also have hog-nose snakes in the park. They have a stumpy nose, a triangular head, they puff up and hiss, and will eventually play dead if pushed." Visitor, "Sort of like a wife then, eh?" Interpreter switches subjects quickly.

Visitor, "I hate it when things get runded over."

Kid: "How much are these walking sticks?" Staff member: "$11.99." Kid: "Can you lower the price just for today? Hmm...these would make a good weapon for old people."

Interpreter asking about a bird call, "Do you remember what that bird is?" Student, "A boob-white!" (meaning Bobwhite).

Visitor coming in, "We were at the beach and saw all these little white round things (pause). What were they?" [Naturalist shrugs]

Interpreter to a group of kids, "So, what makes a dolphin a mammal?"  10-year-old student, "Non-nucleated red blood cells?" Interpreter thinks to herself, "Really, this is the first thing you think of?"

Question from intern, "What does a roadrunner sound like?" Answer from staff member, "Meep-Meep." Intern, "Really, that must be where they get it for the cartoons." Staff person smacks her own forehead.

Roadrunner (Photo: Wiki Commons)

Group leader, "What types of things would you record about animals in your nature journal?" 8-year-old child, "For each page, I'd record different animals because they remind me of my dead guinea-pig." (How do you respond to that?)

Visitor in gift store, "Look dear, a book on insects." Husband replies, "I guess that's better than out-sex."

Camp counselor to camper at lunch, “Either eat the banana or put it back in your lunch, but don’t sit on it.” (Child pulled the banana out from under his rear and put it back in the lunch box.)

“Can I have some glue on my nose?”, Camper during craft time.

“I have a tick under my wanger!” (Yes, this really was said.)

Camper: “When I’m a teenager, I’m coming back here!”  Instructor: “To be a counselor?”  Camper: “No, to catch frogs silly!”

Camper 1: “My dad speaks Yiddish!”  Camper 2: “My grandpa’s from Yiddish!”

“Go soak your balls on the other hose!” –Counselor during water games.

At the Aquarium - Guide: This is the place they do necropsies on animals to see why they died, which is like a human autopsy. Child: Didn’t they do an autocropsy on Michael Jackson? Guide: I’ll let your counselor answer that.

Guide to group of children: How many meals do you eat? Child: Three, and a casual snack.

Something you'll only hear with science education, "Do we have special scissors for dead things?", Counselor to staff member.

Instructor talking about Proto-slow for aquatic plankton: "It's like crack for aquatic invertebrates."

Instructor's wisdom to interns when class was interrupted: "If you're trying to entertain a large group of 3 to 5-year-olds, try not to compete with a duck giving itself a bath."

“I have a seven-year-old and a five-year-old. Can the seven-year-old be in the canoe and steer the five-year-old by himself?” -Mother phoning in.

Visitor, looking very concerned during a program: “Where is the poop-shoot on a crab, and how can I avoid eating it?”

When children are asked alternative names for male crabs (Jimmies), responses so far include: Hank and Dominic.

"The males are the ones with rufous chests." -animal keeper,  "Psst, guys, 'rufous' means 'red'." -Counselor,  "In what language?" -a camper.

Camper: “Let’s be Team Happy Place!”

Instructor: “And we have true jellies and false jellies. Does anyone know what a false jelly is?” Camper: “Um, the jelly that you put on your sandwich?”

Intern asks staff person: “So, what is mid-canoe poop protocol, concerning a camper that has to go?"

Staff person comes in with cuts on legs, their response: “Well, it was a dull razor and I had a lot of energy…”

Visitor: "Could you please stop those owls on the trail from throwing dead body parts down on the trail, It's disgusting.", referring to the nest of baby owls and crow bits that flew off the nest onto the visitor.

Instructor: “What is a coprophage?” (an animal that eats poop) Camper's reply: “A type of mashed potato.”

Canoe Instructor: “What is the wooden beam in the middle of a canoe that we tell you not to sit on called?” Camper: “I know it has to do with milk.”

Administrative assistant sent out an e-mail to all staff: "If you ordered something from Tingley Rubbers, please let me know immediately." After a lot of snorting and giggling, we later found out Tingley Rubbers is a company that makes galoshes.

Camper: “Ewww, that mud smells nasty.”  Counselor: “That’s the smell of soft skin.”

“Yo!” Scientist trying to get kid’s attention. “Aw, he just threw up a hit word, he got my attention now!” -7th grade boy.

Scientist: “Sedges have edges.”  7th grade boy: “Does he always rhyme? He a reincarnation of Dr. Seuss or sumthin?”

During Frog Dissection: “If anyone needs help probing their nostrils, let me know.”

Interpreter: Blue crabs open their mouths sideways like grocery store doors. Girl Scout: Well then, how do they kiss?

Instructor: “We’re going to go put our waders on now” Student: “My dad’s a waiter at Olive Garden.”

Teacher: "What are the two things on top of an insect's head?" Child: "Antlers?"

Instructor: “OK, everyone, put your gloves on and shake your condiments” (mixing mustard for an earthworm extraction).

Also for your reading pleasure, and a good laugh, I'm including the answers to a wildlife biology study guide that my students filled out. These are the ALTERNATIVE answers: 

Wildlife Biology alternative Study Guide for Practicum

  1. What are the main differences between reptiles and amphibians?

Reptiles, with their sneaky scales and disturbing quietness, are probably out to get us all. Amphibians, on the other hand, have bulging eyes and wide smiling mouths that signify that they are happy, cute, and moderately deranged. Also, amphibians are squishy.

  1. What is the difference between venomous and poisonous?

Both are probably going to kill you, so what does it matter?

  1. How can you tell a venomous snake from a non-venomous snake?

Have the snake in question bite you and see what happens!

  1. What is an exotherm?

An exotherm is a thermos that has lost its thermos status. Hence, ex-otherm. (It used to be exthermos, but that just sounded weird.)

  1. Some salamanders are lungless. How do they breathe?

Lungless salamanders can’t breathe, because the only way to breathe is through lungs. Lungless salamanders tend to die very quickly because of this.

  1. What is the major difference in spot patterns on leopard frogs and pickerel frogs?

Leopard frogs have spots that more greatly resemble a leopard's, and pickerel frogs have spots that more greatly resemble a pickerel’s.

  1. Why are male juvenile five lined skinks bright blue?

Juvenile five lined skinks are bright blue because teenagers have fashion sense.

Juvenile fivelined skink (Photo: Wiki Commons)
  1. What are the top and bottom parts of a turtle’s shell called?

The “top” and the “bottom.”

  1. Why can a turtle not crawl out of its shell?

A turtle cannot come out of its shell because it is too shy.

  1. Describe the major differences between the shells of turtles that live in water and on land.

Because people are in the water less than they are on land, water turtle shells are undeniably cuter. This allows the two types of turtles to get an equal amount of the collective “Awwwww”s of gullible humans, as turtles often suffer self-esteem issues. Sadly, this is the only available therapy for turtles.

  1. Why do frogs not have large rib bones?

They don’t have big rib bones because their chests aren’t big enough. This also means that frogs do not have large lungs, and as a side effect, they breathe very shallowly and rapidly.

  1. Describe at least three types of information you may see on a range map in a field guide.

You will see where birds can be found, where birds can’t be found, and where you can find irregular birds.

  1. What is a field mark?

A field mark is a man named Mark who is standing in a field.

  1. What do the two numbers for binocular magnification mean? For example, 7x35.

In this example, they mean “seven” and “thirty-five.”

  1. How can you describe the position of a bird that you are looking at to another birder so they can find it?

You can describe the position of a bird by telling the other birder that the bird is “right there,” where it obviously is.

  1. Why are drawings in field guides better than photographs?

Drawings in field guides are better because they look prettier and feed struggling artists who would otherwise be hoboes.

  1. What are the four types of teeth found in an animal’s mouth?

Teeth for getting ahold of you, teeth for puncturing your skin, teeth for tearing your flesh, and teeth for breaking your bones.

  1. Describe the differences between the teeth of carnivores and herbivores.

Carnivores have teeth for eating meat and herbivores have teeth for eating plants. Omnivores, of course, have teeth for eating omnis.

  1. Using the following dentiary how many teeth does this animal have?

I 3/2 C 1/0 P 3/3 M3/3= enough

  1. Why is the sagittal crest an important indicator of what an animal eats?

Sagittal crests are decorative crests given by the constellation Sagittarius. Sagittarius favors carnivores over herbivores, so he bestows more pronounced sagittal crests on carnivores.

  1. What is the difference in the location of the eyes of predator and prey animals?

Predators’ eyes are located in front to look mean and scary, while prey animals’ eyes are situated on the sides of their heads, making them look afraid and helpless.

  1. What is the auditory bulla?

An auditory bulla is a bull that is invisible but is very easy to hear. The feminine ending ‘a’ is added because this bull is transgender, although she has not yet undergone sex change because the surgeons can’t see her.

  1. Describe the differences between the nasal bone folding of predators v. prey animals in their skulls.

Predators have leisure time after killing, whereas prey animals spend their time trying not to be killed, so only the predators have time for artistic activities such as folding the nasal bones inside of their skulls.

  1. What is the main difference between the vertebrae of snakes and mammals?

This is a trick question because snakes don’t have bones. Look at the way they move. They’re obviously worms.