Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Inside Outside Michiana Summer Guide 2014

Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, water bugs, tadpoles, frogs, mud turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, chestnuts, trees to climb, brooks to wade, water lilies, woodchucks, bats, bees, butterflies, various animals to pet, hayfields pine cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries, and hornets. And any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of education.
 –Luther Burbank

Michiana Summer Guide 2014
By Dr. Carla Gull
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Here is a post with links to the "official" city guides for the area.

53373 CR 131, Bristol

Daily 9 am to sunset
Mill: W-Sun 10-5
23 acres of hills, woodlands, meadows, open marshes, wildlife, wildflowers
Watch the mill in action, hiking trails, waterfall, ponds
-catch (and release) frogs and tadpoles by the pond
-walk across the waterfall
-bring a picnic lunch
North Elkhart along CR 3
Daily 9 am to sunset
160 acres forest, savannah, nature preserve, wetlands, bluebird trail
Hike, picnic, check out the water
--find frogs in the bird houses along the trail
CR 8, Osceola

Daily 9 am to sunset
84 acres of woods, wetlands, 5 acre pond, etc.
Sensory garden, small playground, hiking trails, sand volleyball
--creek stomp as the water is really shallow by the bridge
--check out senses in  the sensory garden
--bring nets to catch insects
304 W. Vistula St., Bristol, IN
Donations accepted
T-Sat 9-5 pm
Traveling exhibits, special programs, three levels of “stuff”
Dress up clothes, discovery activities, scavenger hunts
--check out the historic cemetery and river before hitting the splash pad in the back
1717 East Lusher, Elkhart
M-F 8-5 pm
Old dump site now has a mission to help us reduce, reuse, and recycle
Wildlife viewing windows, pond, trails, etc.
--check out the childrens section in the loft with puppets, books, animals, etc.
CR 23, north of Bristol, IN
Dawn to dusk
135 acres, bog, pond, beaver lodge
Walking the trails, watching wildlife
--big tree down to the left of the entrance. It is a great place to climb! Better than a playground!
--no facilities (Congdon park isn’t far)
429 S Main, Elkhart
T-Fri 10-5
Sat/Sun 1-4
under 5 free
Grandma Moses, Norman Rockwell
Over 6000 work with 900 on display
Art appreciation and observation
--we really enjoyed a docent led program with our preschoolers
--pleasantly surprised!
23427 CR 45, Elkhart
9 am to 7 pm
On the Elkhart river, hundreds of acres
Programs, playgrounds, great picnic place, geocaching
--watch for turtles laying eggs in June
--beaver evidence near the river
721 S. Main St., Elkhart
T-Sat 10-5
Sun 10-4
Adults $6
Children 4-12 $5
3 and under free
Explore the history of railroads and trains in the area
Climb on the cars out back, watch model trains
--play area with trains for the little ones
--consider a membership if you have a large family or plan on returning
Across from Shanklin park
T-Thu 10-3
Environmental education area with nearby trails
Wildlife viewing window, hands-on nature activities
--stop here first, hike along the river at Shanklin, and end at the playground at Shanklin park
511 East Warren, Middlebury
Dawn to dusk
Over 24 acres, river, trails
Playground, hiking trails, river
--great festival in August
403 E. Wabash , Wakarusa

Depot, several historical buildings, old fire trucks, vet
Explore the past
--visit the cool park and splash pad after
1011 N. Main St., Elkhart
Tues Free
Under 12 free
M-Sat 9-7
Sun 11-5
Beautiful gardens! Historical wellfield
Education programs, great paths, artwork, and views
--stroller friendly (and keeps toddlers contained)
--developing more child friendly areas
--great place for a color walk
604 Woodlawn Ave, Elkhart
Thurs 1-5
Fri-Sun 12-5
10 acres of woods in north Elkhart, many Native American artifacts, nature items, wildlife viewing window, etc.
Education programs, natural playscape outside, puppets, native fish
--very play based
--it’s okay to play with nature
--watch for Living Trails in June
--special open plays
--consider membership

Other Ideas in Elkhart County:

Expanding the fun!
Cheese Factory, Shipshewana, IN
Curious Kids Museum and Discovery Zone, St. Joseph, MI
Indiana Dunes State Park, Chesterton, IN, Pokagon, Potato Creek
Healthworks! Kids Musuem, South Bend, IN
Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Kalamazoo, IN
Rum Village Nature Center, South Bend, IN
Sylvania Fossil Park, Sylvania, OH
St. Joseph County Parks, South Bend, IN

Fun Dates
National Get Outdoors Day—June 14, 2014
Living Trails Woodlawn Nature Center, June 20-22, 2014
David Rogers Day—August 2014
Envirofest—July 11, 2014
Kids Day at the Fair—July 23, 2014
Riverfest in Middlebury—August 16, 2014
ETHOS Science Sneak Peeks—Third Thursdays of month

Ideas: Make a “Paper Pal” to go on adventures with you during the summer! Scrapbook what you do (or use social media)! Set a certain day of the week for “adventures”.

Frog/tadpole catching
Get a treat like ice cream from time to time
Creek stomp
Find the Science2Go Bus—it always has cool activities!
Service Projects
Fort Making
Make fairy houses and gnome huts
Visit a farmer’s market
Family Nature Club

binoculars—toilet paper ones work great!
scavenger hunts
bug jar
notebooks and pencils

Summer Bag:
A couple of towels
Change of clothes or swimsuits
Bug spray
First Aid Kit
Hats for the kids
Rain ponchos

What do you do in the summer time? Where do you like to go? What do you do for summer fun with the kids?