Nature Programs Breathe Fresh Life Into Kids

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Local nature centers offer kid programs for outdoor exploration. Head on out and enjoy the fresh air!

Kids love to be outside and explore the world around them. Nature centers are full of programs for all ages that help them do just that. The fresh air’s good for ’em, too! Get to know critters and explore the outdoors together at your local nature center.

Davidson County

Beaman Park Nature Center
5911 Old Hickory Blvd., Ashland City
Offers regular Friday Night Hikes and Guided Nature Hikes as well as other special events during the month.

Bells Bend Outdoor Center
4187 Old Hickory Blvd., Nashville
Just last week they opened an indoor climbing wall for all ages and an outdoor climbing boulder for ages 13 & older. Regular nature programs include Geocaching 101, Archery, hikes and more.

Shelby Bottoms Nature Center
1900 Davidson St., Nashville
Ages 3 – 5 can prepare for the Tomato Art Festival with their Tiny Tomatoes program on Aug. 11. Then there’s other nature programs like Crafting for Wildlife, Insects in the Meadow, Passionflower Party, National Honey Bee Day and more going on this month.

Warner Park Nature Center
7311 Highway 100, Nashville
Kids can enjoy nature programs like Get Ready for Hummingbirds, The Bountiful Garden, Splash the Trash, Grand Outings: Butterfly Encounters, World Honey Bee Day, Summer Hummingbird Celebration and more this month.

Rutherford County

Wilderness Station
697 Veterans Pkwy., Murfreesboro
All ages can enjoy free Animal Encounters program on Saturdays this month from 1:30 – 2 p.m. and meet resident animals of the Wilderness Station. The Wild Things program is for ages 1 – 4 and a caregiver that takes place Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m. and costs $3. You’ll sing songs, discuss animals and enjoy a simple craft.

Williamson County

Bowie Park Nature Center
7211 Bowie Lake Road, Fairview
There’s a new Nature Scouts program for ages 6 – 12 (but they’re all booked up already!). The program dives into a topic over a five-month period with the first topic of trees. Kids will examine trees from roots to limbs and explore everything in between. Each class builds on the last, so it’s best to try and attend each one. While you can’t even get on the waiting list for this one, keep an eye out for the spring session and hop on it before it fills up, too! For younger kids, you can join Miss Tess for a once weekly, early childhood, music and movement class during Musikgarten for ages 3 – 5 (11 a.m. – 12 p.m.; $150 per 15-week series) and ages 16 months – 2-and-a-half-years (9:30 – 10 a.m.; $120 per 15-week series). There’s also a free Nature Strollers program for ages 18 months – 5 years and an adult where you join an naturalist for nature oriented story times with songs, specimens, crafts and a kid-friendly hike.

Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary
545 Beech Creek Road, Brentwood
Along with their free hike days and Knee-High Naturalist programs for ages 3 – 5, Owl’s Hill also offers several special events like Fall Fairyland on Saturday, Oct. 7 from 1 – 3 p.m. for $10 per person. Participants are invited to collect natural materials from the orchards and meadows of Owl’s Hill or purchase special items with “fairy gold” at the Gnome Depot. Pick a spot around Fairyland and create a dwelling fit for a fairy or elf, while visiting, enjoy the natural beauty of the woods.

Wilson County

Merritt Nature Center
at Cedars of Lebanon State Park
328 Cedar Forest Road, Lebanon
While the nature center is primarily open during the summer only, can be open by request otherwise, there are still programs available this month! Check their Facebook page for more info on programs like Arts and Crafts: Tie Dye on Aug. 11; Jackson Cave Tour, Arts and Crafts: Leaf Rubbings on Aug. 12; Venomous Snakes and Spiders, 10 Essentials, Hug a Tree, Leave No Trace on Aug. 13; Nature Scavenger Hunt, Snakes Through the Looking Glass on Aug. 18 and so much more.

Kiera Ashford is associate editor of Nashville Parent and mother of three.

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