Best of Spring!

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It's FINALLY here! Springtime beckons your family to enjoy the great outdoors. (pictured: The Soaring Eagle, Nashville Zoo's newest attraction opening late April/early May.)

Warmer, sunny days and longer daylight make spring with your family a delight! Embrace the season with these ideas.

10 Ways for Your Family to Welcome Spring

1. Bunny Hoppin’

Easter (Sunday, April 5) is spring’s signature holiday and there are several Easter-related events like egg hunts, bunny visits and more remaining this season. Find them all HERE.

2. Scavenger Huntin’

Create a list of items you can find outdoors during the spring — birds’ nests, blooming flowers, mud puddles, insects, worms, etc. Challenge your kids to find all the items, and make it more fun by encouraging them to take pictures of their findings. First one to check everything off the list wins a prize.

3. Family Gardenin’

Kids love digging in dirt and watching things grow. Whether it’s flowers or food, designate a spot in your backyard for your child to create his own garden to tend and nurture. Read more about “Growing a Family Garden.”

4. Scenic Drivin’

Your family can enjoy our state’s lush spring scenery with one of 16 road trips through the Tennessee Department of Tourism’s Discover Trails and Byways initiative. There’s a free app for each destination that highlights points of interest among major sites and off-the-beaten-path spots. Download the apps at tnvacation.com/apps.

5. Zippin’

Soaring through the air high above the ground is an awesome thrill for all ages, and a zipline excursion’s a great way to enjoy the seasonal scenery. Adventureworks (615-297-2250) operates fun excursions at its original location in Kingston Springs along with a new offering at The Fontanel Mansion property. Other local attractions with zipline adventures include Nashville Shores (615-889-7050) and Honeysuckle Hill Farm (615-382-7593). The Nashville Zoo (615-833-1534) opens its new Soaring Eagle seated zip attraction in late April/early May. The tree-top trek lets riders see the elephants, giraffes and other animals from an aerial view.

6. State Parkin’

Our great state has an abundance of state and national parks including 35 campgrounds, nine golf courses, 360 cabins, eight restaurants and six inns. Your family can enjoy the great outdoors with activities like fishing, kayaking/canoeing, water skiing and more. Get info at tnstateparks.com.

7. Backyard Gamin’

Take advantage of the day’s longer sunlight with fun games in your backyard like kickball, bocce, cornhole, horseshoes, freeze tag, yard Twister, tetherball and more. Make it even more fun and competitive by inviting friends and neighbors over for a regular gathering.

8. Get Movin’

Middle Tennessee’s bountiful greenways and trails make for perfect opportunities for your family to enjoy a fun hike or a float. Visit connectwithtn.com/middle-tn/ to find the complete list. Click on county name for your area and get the rundown on them all, including length, level of difficulty and surface type (paved, natural, blueway). Downloadable maps are available for most locations. On Saturday, April 18, long-time Tennessee hiker Jeremy Childs shares insider tips on Tennessee’s hiking trails. It’s free and takes place at the Beaman Park Nature Center in Ashland City from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Call 615-862-8580 to register.

9. Nature Nurturin’

There are lots of ways to nurture a love for nature in your kids. Buy a book on birds and find local residents and spring migrants that you’re likely to see in your own backyard. Let your kids have fun building their own backyard birdhouses and creating feeders. You can also take advantage of the free (or low-cost) programs at area nature centers. Nashville’s Metro Parks operates four: Warner Parks, Shelby Bottoms, Beaman Park and Bells Bend Outdoor Center. They each have monthly programs for kids that explore wildlife, flowers, ecology, geology and beyond. Other popular spots with nature programs for little ones are Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary in Brentwood and The Wilderness Station in Mufreesboro.

10. KITE FLYIN’

The thrill of sending a kite high in the sky is a kid-favorite springtime activity. If you don’t have ample space in your own yard, head to your local park — find our editors’ park picks HERE. Visit your local specialty toy store to buy one, or make it more fun by helping your child create his own kite at home. Instructions for an easy one for kids to do on their own are at National Geographic Kids. For more kite-making instructions along with different styles and helpful hints for successful kite flying, visit my-best-kite.com.

MORE FAMILY FUN:

Family Fun Runs in April

10 Best Spring Flings in April

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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