Looking for ways to entertain your family while social distancing? Nature is full of opportunities to learn and explore. We’ve compiled a list of activities for parents and kids to enjoy together while learning something new or getting some exercise. We can’t wait to see what you discover!
- Nature Scavenger Hunts – Try a nature scavenger hunt to offer young children an opportunity to view nature in a whole new way, whether it’s looking for shapes, critters, or plants. Download a scavenger hunt from the list below.
- Spring Wildflower Guide: Learn about the different varieties of wildflowers commonly found on Land Trust nature preserves then take a hike to see which ones you can spot in the wild. Monte Sano Nature Preserve’s Wildflower Trail is a great place to start. With this short, family-friendly hike down Wildflower Trail (approximately 1 mile to the end and back to the trailhead), you can find several varieties all in one place during wildflower season (typically March-May, varies annually).
- Big Tree Tour on Terry Trail: Visit Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve for a hike along Terry Trail. The Society of American Foresters – Mountain Lakes Chapter partnered with the Land Trust to provide this educational guided hike. Informational signs along the trail indicate a variety of tree species. Through the online tour content you can identify additional trees and read even more about each one.
- Self-Guided Hikes: Explore a self-guided trail tour from the list below.
- FREE Audio Self-Guided Trail Tour of Monte Sano Nature Preserve’s Old Railroad Bed Trail available in the TravelStorys app
- Waterline Trail (Monte Sano Nature Preserve)
- Trough Spring (Monte Sano Nature Preserve)
- Wildflower Trail (Monte Sano Nature Preserve)
- Exploring Green Mountain’s Upper Trails
- Alum Hollow Trail (Green Mountain Nature Preserve)
- Discover Geocaching – Find all 7 Land Trust geocaches. Download the Land Trust Geocache Passport, then go to geocaching.com and search for each location using the letter/number code provided. Bring your completed passport to the Land Trust office and you’ll get a Land Trust pathtag!
- Be a citizen scientist! Use iNaturalist – a citizen scientist app – to identify and document flora and fauna as you observe it in nature. The app requires no plant or animal identification knowledge and works with any smart phone. By documenting what you find along your hike, you can help us inventory the incredibly varied species residing on our properties. Learn more about iNaturalist.
- Pick up litter as you hike. Carry out what you carry in and bring along a garbage bag and plastic gloves. You can help keep the trails clean by picking up any trash you find.
- Fishing at Harvest Square Nature Preserve – With two ponds for fishing, Harvest Square is ideal for the little ones in your life that are just learning the joys of this activity. You will need your own rod and reel as well as lures or live bait. Anyone over the age of 16 must have a valid Alabama fishing license.
- Complete a hike challenge – Decide on a goal and set out to reach it. Hike at least one trail on all 8 Land Trust nature preserves or pick your favorite Land Trust nature preserve and hike all of the trails (bonus points if you pick Monte Sano). Let us know if you are tackling this challenge so that we can celebrate your accomplishments with you!
- Enjoy a picnic lunch – There are numerous ideal places to “pack in” a picnic lunch on all Land Trust nature preserves. You can dine stream side, out in the open, on a quiet rock in the woods, or even beside a pond. Just please plan to “pack out” any waste or trash.
- Take a “stroller” trail at Harvest Square, Bethel Spring Nature Preserves, or Bradford Creek Greenway – Two Land Trust nature preserves offer hard packed gravel trails that are ideal for families that need to use strollers. Both meander alongside water features – Turner and Terry Ponds at Harvest Square and a spring-fed creek at Bethel Spring. Bradford Creek Greenway is located on Land Trust property but managed by the City of Madison. This paved pathway winds through a wooded wetland area and is another perfect option for families.
- Try trail running – Get some energy out and enjoy some exercise with a trail run. Pick a nature preserve and review the trail map to plan your route.
- Play a round of disc golf at Chapman Mountain – Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve now offers Chapman Pines Disc Golf Course. You can find some rules and instructions for how to play here.