There are several parks and other natural spaces in the Michiana area. Here are a few we like:
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Leiber Nature Preserve is probably one of our favorite places to visit. It is our go to spot when we need a quick nature fix as it isn't very far away from home. The kids can easily do the hike there. There are open areas, woods, and a unique bog which is different than most of the natural spaces in the area. I want to learn more about this spot. I've asked and asked and asked and there isn't much information about it. I shall investigate!
Ox Bow Park in Goshen is a staple in our house. We go there for nature programs, birthday parties, nature day camps, cub scout day camps, to play on the playgrounds, etc. I felt like I lived there this summer. This is one of the MANY parks. We need to spend more time on the trails that run along the river there.
Woodlawn Nature Center is a hidden gem in Elkhart. Here the boys found the base of a hollow log. It houses a fascinating collection of birds, eggs, shells, and other natural items. There is a wigwam room, dedicated to learning about American Indians in the area, an ocean room complete with a sandcastle and shells, a dinosaur cave, and other areas to explore. It sets on 10 acres of wooded trails. WNC is unique in that it is COMPLETELY run by volunteers. There is a core group of dedicated individuals working hard to make it a wonderful community resource. Watch for events and other improvements!
The boys are checking out the insect display at Woodlawn Nature Center. What a great resource!
Walker Park is a great place to do what the name implies--walk! I often see people taking a walk here during their lunch breaks. As I have made the laps with a stroller, I notice the birds, squirrels, etc. There is little to no shade, but there is a great open field in the middle. This would be a great place to go kite flying or start an impromptu game of soccer or frisbee. The playground has more of a European or modern feel, which my older boys do not prefer. However, my younger one is just fine with the many challenges right at his level. All of the kids found plenty of acorns and pinecones on our visits there.