Local Free Outdoor Venues

We all know how important it is for our children to interact with nature. But where? What do we do once we get there?

Below are some local venues suggested by Bala House parents. (Thank you Nick Van Dussen and Violeta Popii-Botea for your input!!) Also, check out the book “Outdoors with Kids: Philadelphia” for additional ideas. You can purchase it at:
http://www.amazon.com/Outdoors-Kids-Philadelphia-Places-Explore/dp/1934028746

This fall we encourage you to take the kids to a place you have never been before!

Cisco Park (Springfield, Montgomery County)
http://www.springfield-montco.org/parks-recreation-parks
You can check out the duck pond!

Jenkins Arboretum (Devon)
http://www.jenkinsarboretum.org/visit.html
There is a pond and most of the walkways are paved.

Harriet Wetherhill Park (Plymouth)
http://www.plymouthtownship.org/parks/harrietwetherill.cfm
Kids can explore nature and venture into various fields and paths. Check out the butterfly garden!

Maple Acres Farm (Plymouth)
http://www.mapleacresfarmmarket.com/
You can check out the various seasonal crops growing on the farm.

Riverbend (Gladwyne)
http://www.riverbendeec.org
Families can visit Riverbend for self-guided walks along the trails or go picnicking. Look for birds in the recently renovated Alec Williamson Bird Habitat & Observation Area or see the live small animals in the visitors center.

Forbidden Drive (Philadelphia)
http://www.traillink.com/trail/wissahickon-valley-park-(forbidden-drive).aspx
Young kids can explore footpaths around the Wissahickon Environmental Center (the “Tree House”); older ones can hike or bike rugged trails leading from Valley Green to the “Indian statue” and the Fingerspan Bridge.

Shortridge Park (Lower Merion)
http://www.lowermerion.org/Index.aspx?page=739
Try skipping rocks in the creek, throwing leaves and watching them go under the bridge.

Churchville Nature Center (Churchville, PA)
http://www.churchvillenaturecenter.org/sm_db_item.php?featuretype=page&id=14
Families can enjoy nature trails, picnicking and a wildlife garden.

The Schuykill Nature Center (Philadelphia): http://www.schuylkillcenter.org/aboutus/operations.html
You’ll find indoor and outdoor activities for all ages, including the Discovery Center; an environmental art gallery; trails leading through forests, over streams, along valleys and across meadows; a native plant nursery; and the gift shop, which carries gifts, books, and high-quality bird seed.

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge (Philadelphia)
http://www.fws.gov/refuge/John_Heinz/
There are a variety of walks and nature programs suitable for the whole family year-round at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.

State Parks

Fort Washington (Fort Washington)
http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/fortwashington/
The park has beautiful paths and a nice playground, and a hawk observation tower.

Evansburg (Collegeville)
http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/evansburg/index.htm
Take your fishing pole or check out the mill buildings and houses from the eighteenth and nineteenth century.

Valley Forge (Valley Forge)
www.nps.gov/vafo/index.htm
With more than 3,600 acres of rolling hills and well-worn trails, Valley Forge is a magnet for runners, bicyclists and picnickers as well as history buffs.

Bala House Montessori - 27 Conshohocken State Road, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 - p. (610) 664-6767 - f. (610) 664-6792