If you don’t mind getting your feet wet, local families have the chance to experience natures water parks throughout the summer. Four times a month, families gather at the Morton Arboretum to take part in The Woodland Family Hikes class. The class is a series of hikes throughout the Arboretum, beginning in March and through the end of September. The meaning behind the class is to get children outside and show how important our environment is, all while creating a fun family memory.
“We’re hoping that it also gives families the comfort level to go out and explore on their own,” said Emilian Geczi, manager of Early Childhood Programs. “When we have the parent or grandparent joining the child, we like to see the lightbulb go off in the parent or the adults mind as well. That ‘yes, I can come back out and facilitate this kind of experience with my child at any time.”
Who’s Under the Water?
Each month consists of its own seasonal theme and includes four hikes that are scattered throughout a couple of weeks. The July theme is, “Who’s Under the Water?” It gives families a chance to explore a stream and wade through the water, looking for numerous amounts of organisms that call the arboretum home. The hour-long hike is an immersive experiment, as children are not given a worksheet or a test, instead they are able to make a meaningful hands on connection with nature themselves.
“I think getting kids out into nature is a really important aspect of these woodland family hikes, but adding water to that opens up this new level of discovery and adventure,” noted program instructor Megan Sneyd. “You’re not usually supposed to go into the water, so giving kids that permission and the tools to explore that I think really opens up their horizons and makes them want to explore.”
Rotating Monthly Themes
To determine the concept of each hike, the staff facilitates ideas when they are walking throughout the one thousand and seven hundred acre plot of land. Their knowledge has produced multiple different themes, which are always changing throughout the year. At the end of this month’s hike, families can enjoy a nice view overlooking one of the arboretum’s ponds. If you are lucky, you just might spot a couple of fish.
“I did!” Exclaimed young class members, Hugo and Artie. “Seeing all the fish. My favorite part was going under the fun path.”
The month of July is sold out, but August brings a brand new path of adventure through the Morton Arboretum. Families will learn about what trees provide us with Woodworking, all while creating some items to take home.
Reporting for NCTV17, I’m Joe Kennedy.