It's *finally* warming up around here, and the time is right to get some much needed fresh air.
Here are some of our favorite places to take the kids on a simple, easy hike in the great outdoors:
1. WEHR NATURE CENTER
Wehr Nature Center is located in Whitnall Park in Franklin, and presents the perfect family-friendly trail aptly named "Family Friendly Trail." It's a short .5 miles, mostly flat, and really beautiful.
"This trail showcases the diversity of Wehr’s natural communities in a family friendly distance. It begins at Amphitheater and takes you by Mallard Lake, the Wetland, and the Woodland before returning you to the Visitor Center. Benches and photo opportunities are frequent as you walk over level to moderately sloping terrain on paths of woodchips and boardwalk."
There's also a Nature Play Space overlooking the lake, which is a playground constructed with all natural materials.
2. SCHLITZ AUDUBON NATURE CENTER
Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Bayside is located right on Lake Michigan and charges a small fee for the day. From the Nature Center (which has all kinds of fun activities and stations for kids), take the hiking trail down to Mystery Lake. You'll pass the Observation Tower, which might be open for climbing depending on weather conditions.
Mystery Lake has a boardwalk that lets you get close to the animals, and is wheelchair/stroller accessible.
When weather permits, snowshoes are available for use on our trails – free for members, or $10 for guests.
3. URBAN ECOLOGY CENTER
(Any location, really. But we love Riverside Park)
The Urban Ecology Center at Riverside Park is the perfect place to visit on a pretty Spring day because there is so much to explore, and all of it is free and open to the community.
From the main building, head past the rock wall, down into Riverside Park, keeping a look out for murals and sculptures. When you're done with your hike, rest in the rooftop tipi on the second floor of the Urban Ecology Center, or play a board game together inside.
Don't miss the fun blue slides with a secret entrance!
4. HAWTHORN GLEN
Hawthorn Glen provides the perfect length loop for little legs, and there are posts along the way to teach you about the trees and wildlife in the area. If you climb the steps towards the back of the property, you'll get a pretty view of the whole place. There's also a playground and a Nature Center to explore.
5. RETZER NATURE CENTER
Where is your favorite place to take a family Spring hike? Contact us so we can spread the word about it!