I am NOT an outdoorsy person. Between a traumatizing 4th grade campout (bugs and uncooperative weather) and my horrible allergies, I prefer the comfort of the indoors. But sometimes this mom must go outside of her comfort zone to experience new things and bond with her very adventurous daughter and friends. And the place we became one with Mother Nature was located just minutes off of Interstate 275: the Cincinnati Nature Center.
The Cincinnati Nature Center is not just for sunny days. We arrived on a chilly, rainy morning with umbrellas, coats and rain boots; and the girls were ready to experience all the Nature Center had to offer. We began our tour at the Rowe Visitor Center. The girls immediately went to the large wildlife viewing window to discover nature with guidebooks and binoculars. And from there they played with the interactive touch tables and the current Native American exhibit. Plus, they had a little fun in the children’s play area trying to squeeze themselves into a log.
With 1,600 acres of forests, fields, streams and ponds, the Cincinnati Nature Center has 16 miles of hiking trails with beautiful and colorful seasonal foliage that people of all ages can experience throughout the entire year. As the rain became a light drizzle, the girls hiked through the forest enjoying each other’s company; and made their way to PlayScape — an interactive, outdoor play area where plants, soil and water can be touched and manipulated to stimulate all the senses.
The Nature PlayScape is designed for children ages 11 and under with constant adult supervision. (Note: Dogs are not allowed in the Nature PlayScape.) Once inside PlayScape, the girls were super excited to enter into the Mud Zone (Does this make anyone else want to start humming a Kenny Loggins’ song… Highway to the Mud Zone?). It had rained all morning, which made the Mud Zone extra muddy! In this area, the girls dug holes, made mud pies, played in water and just had a muddy good time! I literally heard the girls say, “it’s so much more fun to play in the rain” and “we are so muddy… it’s awesome!”
There is an area to hose off your kids. However, to be extra cautious (and clean!), if your child plays in the Mud Zone, I recommend you bring the following:
- *Rain boots
- *Play clothes for getting really dirty
- *Rain coat
- *An extra pair of clothes
- *An extra pair of shoes
Fall is a great time to explore and play at the Cincinnati Nature Center. Click here for a list of upcoming events, including the PlayScape Fire-n-Food on Saturday, November 5, 3-4:30 p.m. (your family will enjoy fresh s’mores while exploring nature! All events are free; nonmembers simply pay daily admission.
The Cincinnati Nature Center is a great place to unwind and enjoy the world around you. Pack a picnic lunch, wear your cold-weather gear and bring the whole family to see Beautiful Ohio in the colder months. For more information about upcoming events or exhibits, please visit cincynature.org.
Ainslie Gordon is a St. Louis, Missouri native and graduate of the University of Missouri’s Journalism School. Her career has focused on advertising, public relations and event planning. In 2011, Ainslie and her family moved to Cincinnati; and she became a stay-at-mom and founder of the blog, Modhousewife.
Additionally, she was a fashion/trends contributor on Fox 19 and Fox 2. Currently, Ainslie is the Marketing Director for Game On! Fitness. She is also a Girl Scout leader and enjoys volunteering throughout the community.