Tips & Ideas for our Smallest Visitors


Our trails are great for kids, and relatively easy even for toddlers to traverse.

  • For toddlers and those who need a more disability-friendly trail, you may choose to the outer loop rather than detouring to some of the inner paths. This trail stays relatively flat and accessible, and circles around, bringing hikers back to where they started without having to backtrack. Click here for a trail map.

  • Be sure to stay hydrated and cool during your trip to our beautiful nature preserve in the middle of the city!

When to go:

  • Many wildlife, especially birds, are more active in the cooler, morning hours.

  • The morning and evening hours can also help you beat the heat during our hot summers.

  • Turtles may catch midday rays by basking on a rock or log.

  • At the changing of the seasons, it’s a great opportunity to point out to small children how leaves are changing colors in the fall, or point out new budding leaf growth on trees and flowers in the springtime.

  • For the best experience, choose times of day that your child is more well-rested and well-fed.

What to bring:

  • Plenty of water, snacks (e.g., string cheese, fruit, granola or protein bars, or sandwiches), sunscreen, hats, and insect repellent, and trash bags to carry your trash out. You may also want to bring your camera and cell phone, a first-aid kit, and a metal whistle to stash at the bottom of your backpack.

  • Wear: Light colored clothing (any ticks will be easier to see). Comfortable sneakers with long socks to protect against poison ivy. Depending upon the weather, you may want to bring a light jacket or rain gear, and keep an extra pair of shoes or clothes in the car that your kiddos can change into in case of rain.

Safety Tips:

  • Weather changes quickly: Check forecasts and prepare for unexpected changes in the weather.

  • Drink plenty of water: Your body loses fluid quickly when you’re on the trail. Bring a quart of water per hour of activity. Eat a salty snack with each drink to maintain energy and avoid illness.

  • Heatstroke and hypothermia can kill: Wear layers of clothing so you can adjust to temperature changes.