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.
For more information please call (513) 321-6070 or view the full School Programs brochure.
10 Top Reasons to attend a Cincinnati Parks’ Summer Day Camp!
10. Spend their day being physically active – As children spend so much time these days inside and mostly sitting down, camp provides a wonderful opportunity to move. Running, swimming, jumping, hiking, climbing! Camp Is Action!
9. Experience success and become more confident – Camp helps children build self-confidence and self-esteem by removing the kind of academic, athletic and social competition that shapes their lives at school. With its non-competitive activities and diverse opportunities to succeed, camp life is a real boost for young people. There’s accomplishment every day. Camp teaches children they can!
8. Gain resiliency – The kind of encouragement and nurture kids receive at camp makes it a great environment to endure setbacks, try new (and thereby maybe a little frightening) things, and see that improvement comes when you give something another try. Camp conquers fears!
7. Develop life-long skills – Camps provide the right instruction, equipment and facilities for kids to enhance their sports abilities, their artistic talents, and their adventure skills. The sheer variety of activities offered at camp, makes it easy for kids to discover and develop what they like to do. Camp expands every child ‘s abilities!
6. Unplug from technology – When kids take a break from TV, cell phones, and the Internet, they rediscover their creative powers and engage the real world— real people, real activities, and real emotions. They realize there’s always plenty to do. Camp is real!
5. Grow more independent – Camp is the perfect place for kids to practice making decisions for themselves without parents and teachers guiding every move. Managing their daily choices in the safe, caring environment of camp, children welcome this as a freedom to blossom in new directions. Camp help children develop who they are!
4. Have free time for unstructured play – Free from the overly-structured, overly-scheduled routines of home and school, life at camp gives children much needed free time to just play. Campis a slice of carefree living where kids can relax, laugh, and be silly all day long. At camp we play!
3. Learn social skills – Coming to camp means joining a close-knit community where everyone must agree to cooperate and respect each other. When they live in a cabin with others, kids share chores, resolve disagreements, and see firsthand the importance of sincere communication. Camp builds team work!
2. Reconnect with nature – Camp is a wonderful antidote to “nature deficit disorder,” to the narrow experience of modern indoor life. Outdoor experience enriches kid’s perception of the world and supports healthy child development. Camp gets children back outside.
1. Make true friends – Camp is the place where kids make their very best friends. Free from the social expectations pressuring them at school, camp encourages kids to relax and make friends easily. All the fun at camp draws everyone together— singing, laughing, talking, playing, doing almost everything together. Everyday, camp makes new friends.
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 Nature Center 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.
2016 Summer (June – August)
2016 Fall (September – November)
Fabulous Fall in the Woods!
Unleash your preschooler’s natural curiosity during this four week series. We find out what the outdoors has to offer this wonderful autumn season. Play fun games from Growing Up Wild, create nature-based crafts, enjoy story time, hike and meet local live animals up close. These engaging activities keep it FUN!
Appropriate for ages 3 1/2 – 5 (Pre-K). Children must have turned 3 by March 1 and potty trained.
Registration is limited to 30 campers with a Naturalist to child ration of 1:10.
ATTENTION FAMILIES….Get your competitive energy flowing! It’s our 7th Annual Amazing Family Race and will return to the Smale Riverfront Park. Everyone’s favorite new park along the Ohio River, Smale, features a variety of engaging playgrounds, Cincinnati themed structures, beautiful gardens, water features and the renowned Carol Ann’s Carousel! Navigate around these features all while competing in our challenges made specially for the whole family. You’ll have a blast solving riddles and puzzles together to find your way to the next destination! It will be…..AMAZING!
Teams can consist of up to 5 members and must include a combination of adults and children ages 5 through 17. The race starts and ends in Smale Riverfront Park.
Gather you team members, create team shirts and prepare for an AMAZING day! Teams must return to the starting point by 1:00 pm to be eligible for prizes. For more information, call 751-3679.
ONLINE REGISTRATION ENDS AT MIDNIGHT ON TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 unless it fills before this time.