This is our last of six posts about playing and learning in the urban outdoors for Nature Rocks. Part 1 was an introduction to urban outdoors, followed by University Campuses, Natural Playgrounds, Greenways and Downtown. We couldn't leave it at 6, so here's a bonus post - Sunset Walks.
Urban Outdoors: More Fun Ideas!
Historic Sites - In most cities you’ll be able to locate historical sites that will provide opportunities to connect with nature. Some of these will be very big an open, others will be very small and limited. To experience the urban outdoors to it’s fullest, these are often some of the most educational and influential places to start.
Farmer’s Markets and Nurseries – We buy food from a CSA program (community supported agriculture) and buy goat’s milk produced at a middle TN goat farm. As much as we would love to go out and visit the farms our food and milk come from, we haven’t been able to make it out yet. Both farms are about 2-hours from our house. However, when we go to farmer’s markets for our pick-ups and purchases we still have the opportunity to meet the farmers. Not only that, but we’re surrounded by nature…and it’s nature we get to take home and eat or plant!
Festivals and Special Events – Many cities will host festivals and special events (sometimes geared toward getting kids outside!) several times a year. Nashville certainly has quite a few. We could always use more though! We’ve found these to be a lot of fun, and typically easy to connect with nature, because they are usually held on grassed areas of the city.
Bouldering – Basically, all you need for your kids to properly boulder in the urban outdoors are safe things to climb on. We’ve been able to find some great spots for bouldering just minutes form downtown. Our daughter has even found spots at the zoo (not animal habitats, don’t worry!). We tend to not carry a crash pad with us, so these spots definitely have to allow for low climbing and leave plenty of space for adult support and spotting.
Hiking and Camping - Wait...what? This is about being in the urban outdoors, right? Well, yes, but there are many cities around the country that maintain beautiful and natural park systems. We asked our friends on Twitter for ideas of other things to do in the urban outdoors and Traci Lehman and Jayson Cardwell both came back with hiking. Traci lives in Orange County, CA and Jayson lives in the St. Paul, MN. Both are really pleased with their natural hiking options within the city limits. As we've stated before, we think Nashville has a well-developed and well-maintained park system. Some of our favorite moderate to difficult natural hikes are within the city limits. Urban park systems like these often maintain parks that are ideal for hiking, and sometimes even camping. In many cases, you can even take the bus there!
Nature Rocks, Even In The City.
Well, there you have it. That wraps up our series of posts on the learning and playing in the Urban Outdoors for Nature Rocks! We've really enjoyed sharing some of our ideas, thoughts and images with you over the past week. More than anything, we hope that you are all able to find fun in nature right outside your day in one way or another. You don't have to go out to the middle of a national or state park to find nature. Don't get us wong, we love doing that, but we can't do it all the time. So just step outside and find a little natural fun. Nature rocks, even in the city.
What have been some of your favorite ways to experience the urban outdoors?
There is an amazing (and growing) community of family outdoor/nature bloggers, and we want to introduce you to a few. Although we've never met them in person, we count on them as resources and friends.
Debi Huang is a Nature Rocks ambassador and the woman behind Go Explore Nature. The tag line on her website is "Where connecting kids with nature is what it's all about," and that really is what it's all about! We visit regularly and feel like we're always learning something new. Please show check out Debi on Facebook and Twitter, and make sure to see her fun post, "How To Plan A Nature Date With Kids."
Our other featured bloggers for this series have been:
To find more inspiration for outdoor family fun, please check out these wonderful people and resources. Feel free to comment with names and links of others that should be on this list. We're happy to add all apporpiate resources!
- NATURE ROCKS
- A Little Campy
- Adventure Parents
- Adventurous Moms
- Backcountry Parenting
- The Bionic Chronicles
- Be Out There
- The Brave Ski Mom
- Bring The Kids
- Cage Free Kids
- The Family Adventure Project
- Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies
- Greening Sam & Avery
- Head Start Body Start
- Hike. Blog. Love.
- The Kid Project
- Nature For Kids
- Outdoor Afro
- Skedaddle Kids
- Tales of a Mountain Mama
- Trish, Alex and Sage
- Your Outdoor Family
Thanks for stopping by!
Pablo and Nea