One of our favorite activities to do as a family is to go on nature walks. I know most people call them “hikes,” but our boys have always referred to them as “nature walks” and we have no desire to ever call them anything else. Luckily for us, the corridor has lots of amazing places to go to when we are itching to go on one!
Our favorite of these locations is the Indian Creek Nature Center (even in winter!)
It’s located at 5300 Otis Road SE in Cedar Rapids. What’s so great about this location is that it is more than just a trail. There are so many things to do within the entire center and it’s great to explore all the different parts of it.
The center itself is known as the Amazing Space Headquarters. It will often hold different educational programming and is also available to rent for private events. Next to the center is a patio that is great to have lunch or a snack on during your visit. Surrounding the headquarters are the many different educational spaces to investigate. They have a wetland that is often full of birds and frogs, a meadow, and several prairie areas.
They also have woodlands full of trails for you to trek on (please note that right now, the majority of these trails are currently down due to clean up following the derecho). All of these areas have exploration guides and maps on Indian Creek Nature Center’s website for you to download and take along with you! The trails are definitely family-friendly and we’ve been able to do them without much issue since our boys were about 1 and 3 (we did, however, always have baby carriers/toddler wraps on hand for tired legs). Due to the derecho, trails are closed as of November, but check the website for updates!
Our favorite part of Indian Creek Nature Center is actually the outdoor classroom. The Hazel Hideaway has long been a highly requested trip for our boys (who are 7 and 4). The classroom is full of natural materials and has all kinds of things to explore. There is a balance beam, a water pump, block and structure building, and several types of shelters. The items can change depending on the season, but the types of items are always perfect for creative exploration and learning about cause and effect through nature. The mud kitchen is always one of the areas that my children have gravitated towards most.
If you are looking for somewhere close by to explore nature that is kid-friendly, then definitely check out Indian Creek Nature Center!
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