Nature is all around us, but sometimes when we are surrounded by the bustling city life… we forget! The environment is a fantastic source of education and exploration for children and can be endlessly entertaining for families. There are so many beautiful sites created by men, Mother Nature… and both of them combined! So check out what these four beautiful cities have to offer:
4. New York
New York offers many different man-made and natural parks and experiences to get city-dwellers connected to nature.
- Central Park is huge, and so is Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Both are excellent for picnics, frisbee throwing, taking in the beautiful sites around you, and general outdoor fun.
- If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, try visiting the gorgeous Cloisters complete with Met Museum converted from a monastery.
- Also, the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens offer a number of children’s programs all days of the week except for Mondays. Check their website for the different fun and educational opportunities.
3. Los Angeles
Los Angeles is famous for its size, so obviously there are a lot of choices when it comes to connecting to nature!
- The beach is always an excellent choice, or you can venture into the lush Angeles National Forest up into the mountains.
- There are also many hikes in and around Los Angeles that can be fun. Make sure to check the difficulty level before you take the kids along!
- Griffith Observatory offers beautiful day and night views. There is a museum where children can learn about space and the many planets in our solar system and a planetarium.
- We also can’t forget Huntington Gardens, when 120 acres reveal more than a dozen specialized gardens to explore. They also have a great summer day camp for kids!
Chicago has a number of stunning and surprisingly large scale natural sites to see.
- The Adler Planetarium has two full sized planetariums within their museum, and even more than that to explore!
- The 1,700 acre Morton Arboretum contains a number of rare and endangered plants. There are daily tram tours, and children under two are free.
- And when speaking about nature in Chicago, you can’t go without mentioning the massive and breathtaking Garfield Park Conservatory. They offer a number of family events including flower shows and goat visits!
1. Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., our nations capital, boasts a lot of history and culture but also has some beautiful natural sites to explore.
- On the famous National Mall, families have the incredible ability to go to every Smithsonian museum FOR FREE, and that includes the Museum of Natural History.
- Roosevelt Island is a great choice for connecting with the outdoors AND with history. A memorial to Theodore Roosevelt, the island is full of beautiful hikes and some sculptures memorializing his presidency, and sometimes you can even catch Civil War reenactors! And make sure to get your kids get their Junior Ranger badge by completing the Roosevelt Island Junior Ranger Book.
- There’s also beautiful and lush Rock Creek Park. It has a nature center, planetarium, and many gorgeous hikes to choose from. They also offer Astronomy and Junior Ranger camps in the summer for ages 7 – 11.
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