My family has been to Rentschler Forest MetroPark (5701 Reigart Road) one time in the past, but we only visited the children’s play area. Recently, we were invited on a weekend hike through one of the many trails that the park has to offer and we happily accepted as we wanted to explore more of the 400 acres that the park has to offer.
We shut off electronics, filled water bottles and loaded the kids in the car. When we arrived, my daughter was a bit hesitant to get started, but she took a deep breath and stayed near me and my husband. The boys quickly found the path they wanted and began heading into the woods. They quickly found a creek and began making their way across it by jumping from rock to rock. Within seconds their feet and shoes were soaking wet. Within a few minutes they were soaked from head to toe!
They made their way up the creek jumping on the rocks, splashing through the water, walking across logs, and finding and creating forts. We spotted dry rocks, wet rocks, rocks with moss, and rocks with fossil imprints! They used their gross motor skills to pull, climb, and jump their way up the creeks waterfalls and even threw in a dab here and there. When we made it back to the trail, they raced through the mud to find the suspension bridge. They enjoyed running across the wood and wire-cable bridge and making it move.
It was fun just watching them be kids. It always feels like a win when kids get outside and explore nature. They never said, “I’m bored!” and they never asked for a snack or their electronics. It was fun watching them be fearless (eventually my daughter came around!), explore new areas, and create their own fun. The most surprising part for me, was watching all of the boys brave the deeper water (waist high in some parts) and go under the bridge where they saw spiders.
“Hiking is a lot like walking, but you walk over stuff like sticks and have fun. I truly liked throwing leaves and rocks into the water.” Evelyn, 3
“Walking through the water was so cool!” Grant, 4
“You get to step on rocks, get wet, and go through a river. The bridge was fun because it felt like it was crumbling.” Landon, 6
“I just loved getting wet!” Hudson, 6
“That was a fun adventure!” George, 8
“Exploring through the water is so much fun!” Baylor, 8
Words of advice:
- Use the restroom before you hit the trails…unless you want to dangle a 3 year old in the woods while she relieves herself.
- Wear play shoes or as we call them in our house “poop” shoes – they will get muddy and wet.
- Pack a towel and extra clothes in your vehicle…in case your kiddos want to soak themselves from head to toe in the water.
Learn more at yourmetroparks.net.