While local nature centers offer programs year round, activities increase during spring and summer months. With the weather warming up, engage your child with the wonders of nature and the great outdoors at one of these local nature centers.
Beaman Park Nature Center
5911 Old Hickory Blvd., Ashland City
Located in Northwest Nashville near Joelton, Beaman boasts a rugged sanctuary of natural beauty, offering programs that help kids connect with nature.
Bells Bend Outdoor Center
4187 Old Hickory Blvd., Nashville
Part of Metro Parks, Bells Bend offers programs for all ages that range from geology to animal wildlife and nature hikes.
1200 Forrest Park Drive, Nashville
Cheekwood’s a grand place to take your kids to explore the beauty of spring flora. It’s annual Cheekwood in Bloom spring celebration is underway now through April 7. Experience more than 150,000 colorful blooms across the gardens. The Tuesday for Tots program for children 2 – 5 with a parent takes place every Tuesday from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Topics change weekly and often include garden exploration and hands-on art projects. Coming this fall, Cheekwood’s opening its brand-new Children’s Garden
Radnor Lake State Park
1160 Otter Creek Road, Nashville
Radnor is one of Nashville’s favorite hiking spots. In addition, the Aviary Education Center houses several birds of prey from great horned owls to bald eagles. The education center is open Saturdays 1 p.m. – sunset and Wednesdays from 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. The park also offers educational nature programs throughout the year.
Shelby Bottoms Nature Center
1900 Davidson Drive, Nashville
Nestled within Shelby Park, the nature center provides free monthly programs for children ranging from nature hikes to animal programs to ecology education.
Warner Parks Nature Center
7311 Hwy. 100, Nashville
Housed on 2,684 acres of natural areas, the nature center itself is a year-round environmental education and recreation facility that features a museum showcasing the area’s geological and wildlife species. Warner offers lots of free nature programs for little kids with themes like birds, insects, flowers and more.
Discovery Center at Murfree Spring
502 S.E. Broad St., Murfreesboro
The Discovery Center sits adjacent to the 25-acre Murfree Spring wetland. Kids love looking for tadpoles in the lily pad pond, and the center hosts special programs for little ones about wetland critters.
The Wilderness Station
697 Veterans Pkwy., Murfreesboro
Every Wednesday, The Wilderness Station presents “Wild Things” for ages 1 – 4, a program that introduces tots to the wonders of nature. It’s $3, and registration is required. The Wilderness Station also offers free “Nature Play” outings in the spring, summer and early fall for ages 1 and older where little ones can have fun getting muddy while exploring the natural world. In addition, the Station provides an assortment of nature-themed programs throughout the year.
Bowie Park Nature Center
7211 Bowie Lake Road, Fairview
Families can embark on guided walks with naturalists to discover the flora and fauna in the area, or participate in one of many programs. The Nature Center and Outdoor Classroom host many nature-related activities for kids with topics including butterflies, ecology, wildlife, nature photography, tree identification and more.
Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary
545 Beech Creek Road, Brentwood
Owl’s Hill offers a variety of nature programs, including guided hikes, throughout the year. Its Knee-High Naturalist Program for parents and kids ages 3 – 5 now takes place in two six-week sessions in the early fall (October – November) and winter (January – February). Check the website for special family-friendly events like the Sky Hunters program on Saturday, April 6 — you and the kids will learn the characteristics of owls and watch hawks take the to air during flight demonstrations.
Featured photo: A young girl explore the daffodils at Cheekwood.