With 25 facilities located throughout the nearly 16,000 acres of open space Five Rivers MetroParks protects, you and your family have myriad ways to explore the outdoors. Here are some of our top picks for summer. Also, be sure to check out the newly redesigned metroparks.org site to discover more places to go, things to do, interactive maps, hours of operation and much more!
1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave., Dayton
Learn about Ohio habitats, explore gardening, dig in the dirt and sand, and play outdoor instruments in the garden’s whimsical themed areas.
Park tip: Grab your swimsuit to play in the fountains and shallow pools. Bring your bikes for a cruise to the water play area at nearby Island MetroPark – an easy two-plus mile ride along the Stillwater River Trail. Continue another mile to ride along the banks of the Great Miami River to RiverScape MetroPark.
4485 Union Road, Dayton
Check out the new family-friendly features at MoMBA. These include a 1/4-mile Tot Track designed for kids to practice balance and other skills on a natural surface trail and the ¾-mile Hilltop Flow beginner trail.
Park tip: New this summer, mountain bikes for all ages will be available to rent at MoMBA Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.
7101 Conservancy Road, Germantown
Search for fossils, observe wildlife and view the scenic ravines while walking along the elevated boardwalk easily accessed from the Twin Valley Welcome Center at this 1,665-acre wilderness park.
Park tip: Find more than 15 geocaches hidden throughout Germantown and Twin Creek MetroParks for a fun nature adventure. Visit geocaching.com to get coordinates.
1385 Harshman Road, Dayton
Bike, walk or skate on the paved Mad River and Creekside Trails. Pack a picnic and relax while the kids get active on the playground. Hike along the Mad River and look for the park’s bald eagles, Jim and Cindy.
Park tip: Eastwood also is a premier paddling destination with boating on Eastwood Lake, and the small Blue Lake is a great place for kids and beginners to try paddlesports. (Use the 1401 Harshman Road entrance.)
4790 Frytown Road, Dayton
Visit the chickens, sheep and other barnyard animals at the farm. Hike the purple trail to discover remnants of the historical Argonne Forest, an amusement park dedicated to WWI veterans. Enjoy a walk or horseback ride through woods and prairies. Fish, free-of-charge and without a license, in ponds and Argonne Lake. Every first Friday during summer, the ponds are stocked with catfish.
Park tip: Make a weekend of it and camp at one of the recently updated campsites, which have easy access to water and restrooms.
7800 E. Shull Road, Huber Heights
Fish at Cedar Lake, visit the animals at the 1880s-era historical farm and pick out penny candy in the Country Store at the Visitor Center.
Park tip: Try a pony ride, for kids ages 2-8, on Saturdays or trail ride, for kids 8 and older, on weekends at the Carriage Hill Riding Center, 8111 E. Shull Road.
237 E. Monument Ave., Dayton
Cool off in the interactive fountain and then grab some ice cream from the Fountain Snack Bar, both open Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends. Take time to discover the wildlife along the riverfront in the heart of downtown.
Park tip: Rent cruisers, road bikes, tandems, push bikes for toddlers and child attachments from RiverScape Rentals, open weekends during summer.
6733 Springboro Pike, Moraine
Stroll the easy trails that wind through the park grounds, prairie and woodlands. Navigate the Bell Children’s Maze, observe turtles in the pond and climb the 46-foot Tree Tower for amazing vistas.
Park tip: Learn about all stages of metamorphosis at the Butterfly House, which features native butterflies and moths and is open from early July to late August.
4361 National Road, Englewood
Enjoy numerous activities in the park’s woodlands and meadows along the banks of the scenic Stillwater River. Hike the green trail to visit Martindale, Patty and Oak falls. Discover the natural world at the Benedict Blincoe Wildlife Observation Area and at the nature play area, which has an earthen slide, tunnel and creek.
Park tip: Englewood MetroPark is a great place for a picnic, with tables and reservable shelters available throughout the park.
2606 Hilton Drive, Kettering
Get active at the playground and nature play area, where kids are encouraged to discover nature through independent exploration building forts with sticks, playing in creek beds and more.
Park tip: Hike the easy 1.5-mile Adirondack Trail to visit the stone tower, Dogwood Pond, Patterson Monument and wetlands boardwalk.
*All photos courtesy of Five Rivers MetroParks