A Walk on the Wild Side
The urge for adventure, exploring outdoors, is one of the joys of childhood. This summer, in addition to the zoo and our 12 amazing Metroparks of the Toledo Area, take your children for a walk on the wild side to one of the more isolated nature preserves in the area. One of my favorites is Irwin Prairie located on West Bancroft Street just west of Irwin Road. A boardwalk winds through the wet woods to Irwin Rd. and then crosses the wet prairie to an isolated observation deck. There you feel like you are in a remote location. There are no crowds, no thrilling rides, but if you stay very still and listen very carefully a blue damselfly might land nearby or a frog dive into the water.
Traveling farther west and north of Airport Highway, at 10420 Old State Line Rd, west of Eber Rd., Kitty Todd Preserve has one of the highest concentrations of rare species of any nature preserve in the state. Explore the low lying wetlands and sand dunes any day between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and you may see wild lupine in bloom and glimpse an endangered karner blue butterfly. Have you ever seen an earth star? Before you go, have your school-age children use their Internet savvy to research some of the plants and animals found in the Oak Openings area of northwest Ohio. Or take a side trip to your local library to discover what awaits you.
Travel doesn’t have to be at a great distance to open children’s minds and hearts. What matters is leaving the comfort of the familiar and introducing them to a world apart from their own. Cultivate a sense of wonder in your children by stepping out and into the natural world where their senses will be reawakened and mysteries revealed.
Don’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray!