New Nature Outings for Kids

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ROUND-UP! Kids LOVE to be outside. Enjoy these terrific nature spots with your family!

Bowie Park Nature Center
7211 Bowie Lake Road, Fairview
615-799-5544 •
The nature center offers free monthly programs for kids, plus a couple of new activities of interest: a monthly Nature Strollers for tots ages 18 months – 5 years on select Mondays includes a nature story followed by an outdoor hike. The new NatureNauts (think “astronauts” but for nature explorers) happens every Saturday. A naturalist presents a different topic each week with demonstrations and live animals on occasion.

1200 Forrest Park Drive, Nashville
615-356-8000 •
The annual Cheekwood in Bloom spring celebration is March 19 – April 24 featuring more than 100,000 tulips adorning the gardens. New this year are special themed weekends, and there’s a new Clover Patch Sanctuary section open every Saturday from
11 .am. – 1 p.m. (except March 19) where kids can visit animal friends like bunnies, chicks and ducks.

Cheekwood In Bloom

Local boys have fun running through colorful gardens during Cheekwood in Bloom.

Discovery Center at Murfree Spring
502 S.E. Broad St., Murfreesboro
615-890-2300 •
Every Thursday at 4 p.m., ages 5 and older can explore the natural world in the Murfree Spring Wetland during the Nature Nuts program with a new theme each week. In April, the Wetland Walks program returns (days and times TBA) where kids of all ages can join a naturalist for guided education, including the search for tadpoles in the lily pad pond.

Dyer Observatory
1000 Oman Drive, Brentwood
615-370-4672 •
Your kids can enjoy the free Open House Day taking place from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on the first Tuesday each month starting March 1. Tour the observatory, check out the giant telescope and meet local astronomers. Advance registration required.

Honeysuckle Hill Farm
1765 Martins Chapel Church Road
Springfield • 615-382-7593
New spring tours for 2016 run April 1 – May 31, including Plant Life (learn the different parts of plants and what they need to grow) and the Rockin’ Tour (rocks and minerals). Available Mon – Fri 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. $8 ages 3 and older; registration required.

Lucky Ladd Farms
4374 Rocky Glade Road, Eagleville
615-274-3786 •
Mark your calendars for this one: Opening Wednesday, June 1 is the Wings of Wonder Butterfly House, a walk-through greenhouse where kids will learn about butterflies and have a chance to hand feed them a special nectar.

Soaring Eagle

Soaring Eagle at Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo
3777 Nolensville Road, Nashville
615-833-1534 •
After the postponement of its opening last year, the zoo is at last launching its new attraction on Friday, March 18. The Soaring Eagle zip line is a seated ride taking guests 110 feet in the air to fly several hundred yards above the African Savanna, historic home, festival field and Gibbon Islands for a bird’s eye view. Its seats two, and riders must be at least 42 inches tall (total combined weight of 450 pounds). It’s $8 per person to ride. Installation of a temporary White Rhino habitat is slated for the spring; the rhinos will occupy the elephant savanna while the elephants are temporarily out of town for the construction of their new habitat.

Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary
545 Beech Creek Road, Brentwood
615-370-4672 •
Next month, on Sunday, April 24, the free Spring Fling Open House celebrates the opening of the new Smith Memorial Classroom and Teaching Garden. The event includes owl programs, interpretive hikes, music and a showcase of Owl’s Hill’s regular programs, events and classes for all.

Radnor Lake State Park
1160 Otter Creek Road, Nashville
615-373-3467 •
The newest addition is the Barbara J. Mapp Aviary Education Center providing educational programs and up-close viewing of non-releasable birds of prey.

Shelby Bottoms Nature Center
1900 Davidson Drive, Nashville
615-862-8539 •
The center now offers a Nashville B-Cycle station where you can rent bikes to pedal around the greenways. Celebrate the return of spring with your kids during the First Full Moon of Spring HIke on Wednesday, March 23 at 8 p.m. Call to register.

WPNC StoryWalk2

StoryWalk at Warner Park Nature Center

Warner Parks Nature Center
7311 Hwy. 100, Nashville
615-352-6299 •
On Saturday, March 5, bring your little ones to discover the new StoryWalk book on the Little Acorn Trail. Other new goodies this spring are the expanded Homeschool Journeys monthly program for ages 5 – 13, and on Saturday, April 30, plan to attend the inaugural Spring Bird Festival highlighting spring migrants and bird conservation — kids can enjoy games, crafts, puppet shows and more fun. Register in advance for programs.

The Wilderness Station
697 Veterans Pkwy., Murfreesboro
615-217-3017 •
New programs coming up include Nature Journaling for kids ages 8 – 12 (Thursday, March 31 from 10 – 11 a.m.; $5; register in advance); Naturalist in Training for ages 10 – 12 (Saturdays, April 2 – 23 from 9 – 11 a.m.; $20; call to register); and free, programmer-led Nature Play Days (Wednesdays, May 4 – 18 at 11 a.m.).

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

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