Cincinnati Parks’ Explore Nature! has a mission to educate people of all ages about our relationship with nature, and instill enthusiasm about the natural and historical resources in the Cincinnati Parks system. Then, it will only feel natural to assist in its protection and management!
Have you ever made maple syrup right from the maple tree? Did you know Cincinnati Parks has a planetarium? Or that the simple stone shelters scattered through our parks actually exemplify a variety of architectural influences?
We have so many programs and facilities designed to get you and your friends or family interacting with the abundant nature thriving right in our city. Teachers are encouraged to contact us or view our brochures below, regarding school programs, to enhance lesson plans. Exploring nature is as close as the nearest Cincinnati Park.
Family Canoe and Movie Night
Fri., July 28, 6:45 – 10:00 p.m. – Rapid Run Park
Bring a picnic dinner & enjoy an evening with your family. Drop by anytime between 6:45 to 8:00pm for FREE canoeing with a family friendly movie following as the sun sets. Canoes, paddles, vests and instruction provided. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Sponsored by the Rapid Run Park Advisory Council. No reservations needed.
Call 321-6070 for more info.
Thank you for another successful year of Scout Programs!
Our Naturalist Staff provided 62 program opportunities for 1,379 scouts and 389 adults from September 2016 – May 2017. Information on the 2017 – 2018 programs will be available on September 1, 2017. Call Explore Nature! at 513-321-6070 if you have any questions.
If you would like additional information on Cincinnati Parks’ various types of preschool programs and opportunities, please click on the appropriate link below: Preschool Program
If you would like additional information on Cincinnati Parks’ various types of School Programming and opportunities, please click on the appropriate link below:
For more information please call (513) 321-6070 or view the full School Programs brochure.
Survival Skills Second Session for Ages 10 – 14
Thurs., May 25, 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. – California Woods Nature Preserve
Get outside and learn some survival skills! Build a lean-to shelter using only materials of the forest. Test your survival knowledge with a “Worst Case Scenario” multiple choice hike. After lunch, build a fire as a team and cook your own s’mores! Make sure to pack a lunch and drink, and dress for the weather. This program is outdoors, rain or shine. Fee: $25 per child.
Nature Centers & Preserves
See What Our Nature Centers Have to Offer
Cincinnati Parks offers programming and education for all ages at its five nature centers located around the city. Krohn Conservatory, our beautiful showcase of a greenhouse in Eden Park, also features special programs for the general public and for schools. Our archives and library are located at the Bettman Natural Resource Center. Reserve a Nature Center! See below for more information regarding special features and programming at all of these unique facilities:
Avon Woods Nature Center 4235 Paddock Road
Ph: (513) 861-3435
The Avon Woods Natural Area/Preserve is located only four miles from downtown Cincinnati. It features rolling hills, hiking trails, a stream-cut valley and community gardens. The trails are easy to locate and rated as moderate hiking. Avon Woods’ programs serve participants citywide and are designed for preschool age through senior citizens.
Bettman Natural Resource Center 4 Beech Lane
Ph: (513) 321-6070
This is where Cincinnati Parks houses its rich collection of books and other materials regarding its history as well as nature education. Bettman also has a small nature preserve that is wheelchair accessible. The library and archives are open to the public by appointment; our volunteer staff is available on Tuesdays from Noon to 2pm. Please call 513.321.6070 for an appointment.
Caldwell Nature Center 430 W. North Bend Road
Ph: (513) 761-4313
These parklands have a long history, going back to Cincinnati’s earliest days. Today Caldwell has approximately 3.5 miles of nature trails and a variety of wildlife (including a flying squirrel population that can be spotted gliding among the treetops in the evenings) and wildflowers. Near the Nature Center is an amphitheater and an Access Trail so that even wheelchair users can venture into the woods. A deck along the Access Trail overlooks the ravine and creek, providing a lovely view in all seasons.
California Woods Preserve – Marian J. and Charles D. Lindberg Nature Cneter 5400 Kellogg Ave.
Ph: (513) 231-8678
This park is set on 113 acres of pristine forest that includes 53 tree species, as well as, dozens of plant and flower species; Lick Run Creek runs through this nature preserve, and is home to wildlife that is a treat to see, such as kingfishers or snapping turtles. On one of California’s hiking trails, look for pileated woodpeckers and even great horned owls at home among the tall sycamores. There’s also a butterfly and hummingbird garden located directly in front of the nature center.
LaBoiteaux Woods Nature Center 5400 Lanius Ln.
Ph: (513) 542-2909
LaBoiteaux offers busy city-dwellers a true retreat into nature and local history. The hundreds of acres that make up LaBoiteaux Woods are home to deer, red and gray fox, mink, hawks, owls and turtles, and those woods are accessible via four miles of hiking trails. A rustic nature center houses nature displays, animal mounts, live animals, and a small nature library.
Trailside Nature Center Burnet Woods
Ph: (513) 751-3679
The Trailside Nature Center is located in Burnet Woods Park, adjoining the University of Cincinnati and one of Cincinnati’s oldest parks. It includes a children’s museum, a handicap-access meeting room for nature education programs, and a fishing lake created in 1875. While you’re at Burnet Woods, check out the schedule for the newly reopened Wolff Planetarium
For Ages 5 – 12
*Most weekends are available August 15 – April 15 but call 321-6070 to check on availability during unlisted dates.
For a two hour party at a Nature Center, the Naturalist provides 90 minutes of fun-filled nature activities such as a short hike, hands-on activities, and a simple craft to keep as a memento. Please schedule at least 3 weeks in advance of your proposed dates.
Fee: $150 for up to 10 children; $15 for each additional child.
If more time is needed for the food and gift portion of the party, the cost is $25 for each additional 30 minutes.
TOPICS TO CHOOSE FROM:
*Creepy Crawly (Insects, Spiders, Reptiles and Amphibians)
*This theme is more appropriate during the Spring and Fall months.
Outside: Bingo hike; Insect Hunt with nets and games such as Creepy Crawly Crunch, Eeek! Spider! or Lemonade will be played.
Inside: “What is an Insect vs Spider” presentation; Live animal presentation and a choice of craft, such as the Turtle Shell Hide or Climbing Spider.
Activities for older participants may include: Quick Frozen Critters game; frog catch craft (an adaptation of the ball in the cup craft); and a deeper investigation on common insects and how to identify them on the hike.
Outside: Camouflage Hike which will include an activity where two teams take turns hiding and finding different color cut-out rabbits and Forest Friends Bingo. Games include Fox and Rabbit, Camouflage and Animal Catchers.
Inside: Taxidermy and live animal presentation; mammal puppet craft.
Activities for older participants may include: How Many Squirrels Can Live in This Forest and Bat and Moth games outside. Craft for this age group may include the Bat Catch (an adaptation of the ball and cup craft).
Winged Wonders (Birds, Butterflies and Bats)
Outside: Bingo hike; Games such as Birds-n-Worms and Build a Bird relay race.
Inside: Depending on the topic chosen, “How do birds and others fly” presentation, Feather Fun and Build a Bird activity. Craft choices are Butterfly Clothes Pin Craft; Tic-Tac-Toe Birds or Butterfly Suncatchers
Activities for older participants may include: Scavenger Hunt; Migration Headache game; Paper Animal flying contest.
*not available at Trailside in Burnet Woods or Avon Woods (no creek for fossil hunting).
Outside: Fossil Hike in creek. Game: Fossil puzzle relay race and Trilobite Tag.
Inside: ”How did fossils form” presentation; Fossil Bingo and Fossil Wheel Craft.
Activities for older participants may include: Fossil card slap game; Fossil Cootie Craft.