Exploring the Outdoors
Did you know today’s children spend half as much time outside as their parents did? Most researchers find technology is to blame for this cultural shift. Outdoor play, however, is imperative to your child’s development. A study with the National Wildlife Foundation found children who play outdoors experience less anxiety, lower rates of obesity, improved social skills, reduced risk of nearsightedness and many other benefits. In your own neighborhood, you can encourage your child to spend time outdoors by creating a garden, riding bikes, walking the dog, identifying plants or critters and by simply taking regular indoor activities, like building blocks, story time or eating dinner, outdoors. Locally, the Chattahoochee Valley offers numerous attractions for exploring the outdoors; Columbus Botanical Gardens, Oxbow Meadows, The Riverwalk, Warm Springs Fish Hatchery, Flat Rock Park and Cooper Creek Park. If you’re looking for some new attractions to awaken your child’s outdoor explorer, check out some of these unique spots:
Chattahoochee Bend State Park, Newnan GA
Running alongside the Chattahoochee River, this state park offers all the typical amenities but also is also a haven for kayakers. The Bend also hosts numerous kid-friendly events, including ranger camps, homeschool in the park and more. Plus, newly renovated cabins offer a scenic getaway not too far from home.
Botanical Gardens, Atlanta GA
Recently named as one of the “Most Beautifully Designed Botanical Gardens in America,” this garden offers a world of discovery, starting with their children’s garden. On select days, the garden offers horticulture lessons for young children, plus water painting, outdoor instruments, a climbing tree house and splash pad.
Providence Canyon State Park, Lumpkin GA
Uncover the layers of ‘Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon’ as you navigate the unusual geological formations created by the erosion of the Coastal Plain after years of poor agricultural practices. Hike miles of sandy nature trails and gaze at dark skies while camping at Providence Canyon Outdoor Recreation Area. This is a unique hiking experience.
F.D. Roosevelt State Park, Pine Mountain GA
President Roosevelt envisioned a place all could enjoy when he created his Liberty Bell Pool. This pool was designed in 1838 but didn’t open until 1941. It’s a piece of history and a unique swimming hole, made out of local stone. The park also has two lakes, 42 miles of hiking trails and an FDR statue.
Chewacla State Park, Auburn AL
This state park features both man-made and natural waterfalls, a 26-acre lake for fishing or swimming, mountain biking trails, playgrounds, hiking trails and more. Plus, stay overnight with an array of camping options including RV hookups and cottage rentals.
Go Fish Education Center, Perry GA
Go on an educational journey through Georgia’s watersheds to learn about Georgia’s diverse aquatic wildlife, their natural habitats and the impacts of water pollution. Visitors can see freshwater aquariums featuring trout, largemouth bass and more. Also view aquatic wildlife, including live alligators and turtles, catch and release live fish in the stocked pond.