“Welcome to Thneedville a city they say
that was plastic and fake and they liked it that way
no nature no flowers
no one seemed to mind,
but a secret was waiting for someone to find.”
Like Thneedville, Boston has a lot of plastic and cars…but unlike Thneedville it has not forgotten to treasure and keep safe the natural beauty of Massachusetts. There are so many places to visit that celebrate the whole idea behind Dr. Seuss’ story of the Lorax: places that care “a whole awful lot” about the wildlife, plants, and the land. So in honor of the Lorax, here are 5 outdoor day trips for your family to visit this Spring and Summer.
1. Drumlin Farm (Lincoln, Ma)
I always hear families talking about how much they love Drumlin Farm. So I visited…and am now part of their fan club. Drumlin Farm is a real working farm and wildlife sanctuary. The grounds are beautiful and the staff is focused on educating your little ones through learning gardens, animal barns, farm chores, working fields, hiking trails, hayrides, a farm stand, and farm and nature programs. I highly recommend visiting. You may need your mud boots, but it’s worth the hands-on-activities that explore the farm, forest, fields, and surrounding wetlands.
2. Trustee Reservations (over 100 locations)
There are over 100 land reservations throughout Massachusetts…each unique in its own way, but all protected so you can experience the land of Massachusetts. The reservations are places “to relax, pick a strawberry, watch the sun go down, and run your kids around until they’re tired.” So go on a canoe trip, explore the shores of Hingham, visit a working farm, and learn a little more about the natural history of Massachusetts. I have loved each reservation I have visited so far and can’t wait to explore more this Spring and Summer.
3. Arnold Arboretum (Boston)
“The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is the oldest public arboretum in North America and one of the world’s leading centers for the study of plant biodiversity.” You can simply enjoy a relaxing walk around the arboretum or play wildlife Bingo, go on a photo hunt, or take a tour. If you drop in on the last Saturday of the month you may find some fun family activities including scavenger hunts, crafts, stories, and science investigations. I recommend going in soon, because the lilacs are blooming!
Nature Play Areas take playgrounds to a whole new level. They “give children the chance to solve problems and construct their surroundings through natural elements and unstructured exploration.” Some have butterfly gardens, tide pools, teepees, and mazes with secret passageways. You can find Nature Play Areas throughout the Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries.
5. Right in your backyard
You may find adventure right in your back yard or just up the street. Even the smallest of yards have fun places to explore. But if, like me, you live downtown…take a walk along the harbor, the Charles River, through the Public Gardens, or venture to the tide pools at your nearest beach. Tide pools can be seen along most of the shores in Massachusetts. All you need to do is explore at low tide…usually near the rocks. This past summer we found some great tide pools along the shores of Nantasket Beach. You will be amazed at the colors, the seaweed , and the creatures you’ll find.