Pinterest A Grateful Life Lived: Shale Hollow Preserve Metro Park

Friday, August 8, 2014

Shale Hollow Preserve Metro Park

(Photo credit: Shale Hollow Preserve website)
     On my never ending quest to be an excellent babysitter, I recently stumbled upon Shale Hollow Preserve in the Lewis Center area.  I've taken the kids I watch to Highbanks and Alum Creek Dam, and they love exploring around and wading in the water.  But Shale Hollow Preserve is a brand new metro park and I was eager to see if it would meet the kids' standard for a good park.

     The park is located off of US-23, across from the Kroger and tucked back by a boat storage company.  I had seen online that it had some streams, so I was hoping it would be fun for the kids, who love water (RELATED: Babysitting and Boat Making).  There was a small parking lot in the entrance, surrounded by a grassy prairie area with a path that looped left and right.  We went left, down toward the woods and enjoyed a nice stroll among the large trees and green foliage.  We soon came to a stream and the kids eagerly looked at me, "Can we go in?"  I nodded, because I was thinking the same thing, and we wandered along the creek as we skipped stones.  We were discussing who had the stone-skipping record when we came to a clearing area that had very clean bathroom facilities and a picnic area.  Inside the bathroom, there was a map depicting the main loop (which we had just walked on) and the "off-trail exploration area" that was just beyond the clearing.
     I was so impressed with the exploration area!  It was perfect for kids.  There was even a small scavenger hunt that directed the kids from one area to another, giving clues in boxes.  At the fifth box, there was a nature stamp and a small booklet where kids could sign their name.  Although the stamp ink was dried out, I was still pleased with the scavenger hunt and the kids loved looking for the next clue-- such as "near a row of benches," which led them to an area with log pews by a campfire).
     After the scavenger hunt fun, we meandered along the creek, skipping rocks and looking for the perfect walking stick.  The creek seemed to be a very long one because we walked along it for at least half and hour and it still continued on.  It was flanked by a large, shale cliff on the left and beautiful rolling hills on the right.  The stream ebbed and flowed over the shale rocks and created many little waterfalls and deeper pools of water that the kids loved splashing in.

     All in all, I was very pleased with Shale Hollow Preserve.  The creek was a hit with the kids, the scavenger hunt provided a lot of fun and the trails and facilities were well maintained.  At first, the children were upset it wasn't the kind of park that had a playground, but they decided that it was pretty awesome by the time we returned to the car.  I would highly recommend packing your own picnic lunch and heading out to Shale Hollow Preserve.  It is a neat little park that is undiscovered, and an excellent location for childhood exploration and creativity.  Something tells me it won't be undiscovered for long.
(Photo Credit: Shale Hollow Preserve website)

 Check out my articles on other fun, free things to do with kids.  Whether you are in the central Ohio area or not, I've got plenty of ideas HERE!

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