I fell in love with The Cincinnati Nature Center (Rowe Woods) within a few minutes of my first visit, approximately a year ago. As a born and raised Cincinnatian, I don’t know how I made it that long before discovering this piece of our Cincinnati landscape, but I am now a member and my girls and I go often.
Every visit ends up being a different experience. We have gone in the summer, when the trees give a nice shady cover to the hiking trails. Of course it’s beautiful in the fall with the leaves changing or in the spring when the daffodils are coming up. Hands down though, one of my favorite hikes with the girls was in the middle of winter when the trails were snow covered and the ponds were iced over. It was like being in a completely different world.
The thing that always stands out the most to me about the Nature Center is how well kept the grounds are and how friendly the staff is. The people who work there genuinely seem happy to see people from the community out enjoying the landscape.
My girls will tell you that their favorite part is the Playscape; a well maintained, natural playground for children to explore using only their imagination and nature. They love playing with the wooden houses in the back and climbing on the rock structures and bridges throughout. They love seeing the birds, butterflies and fuzzy caterpillars that are the always present playmates. You can’t beat climbing through the stream in the middle though, especially on a warm day.
I love watching parents experience this particular feature for the first time. You can see the initial hesitation as the parents wonder if it’s safe or if they should let their kids get wet. And eventually, you see them give in to the fun, maybe even joining in themselves, as they realize that the process of exploration is well worth it.
As part of The Great Outdoor Weekend (Sept 27th-28th), the nature center will be open to the public and there are a number of events planned to help introduce people to this Cincinnati treasure. I strongly encourage you to pack up a picnic lunch and head over to check it out. I promise you will be glad you did.