Exploring the outdoors
"Never be indoors when you can rightly be without."
– Charlotte Mason
We have made it. That beloved time of the year when the weather starts to become bearable again, schedules and routines are re-established and those leaves turn a magical array of yellows and oranges. It is the time of year every mid-west girl pulls out her Fall decor, grabs her favorite boots and suddenly every baked good becomes pumpkin flavored.
September, the unofficial-official start of Fall.
You know, I get asked a lot about the places we go on our adventures. If you follow me over on IG at all you know that we love to be outside and we love discovering new places. We love our Classical Education, but we also love a lot of aspects of the Charlotte Mason method as well. Since Fall is the best time to be outside to enjoy the weather and landscape, I thought I would share with you a list of our favorite places when we need to get out of the house or simply take a break from our school work and our daily routine.
I have also included links to each park/attraction for directions. ;)
Our Favorite Area Parks:
Sequiota Park— We love walking the trails (both paved and the hiking trails up the hill), feeding the ducks and of course playing in the park area. It is also a great picnic spot!
Rutledge Wilson Farm Park— This park is so much fun for little ones, but in the fall, kids of all ages will enjoy the Farm Park! There is a fun Farm themed playground equipment and then a whole barn full of farm animals to see and enjoy. There is also a large walking trail in the back as well as a cute little pond that is open for fishing certain times of the year. The Farm Park is fun for everyone and does not disappoint. Be sure to check out their website for information on their upcoming Fall Festival!
Nathanael Greene Park— Nathanael Greene has a wonderful paved trail, a beautiful pond, and fun play ground equipment throughout the park not to mention many educational stops so you can be sure to log some hours out of this little "park break". ;)
Springfield Valley Water Mill Park— We just discovered this little area this summer and we were pleasantly surprised! There are a couple great hiking trails near a beautiful creek and a lake area. We had a picnic by the creek and had plenty of shade in the middle of July.
Busiek State Park— I get asked about this one a lot. It is a bit of a drive right in between Springfield and Branson off 65, but it is a great hiking spot and the creek is one of my kid's favorite places to play because the water is so clear and cold. Perfect for catching crawdads. ;)
Other favorites in and around Springfield:
Springfield Nature Center— The Nature Center is a given for getting outside and enjoying...well, nature! There are hiking trails for every outdoor enthusiast from those who are not so outdoor savvy to those who live and breathe the outdoors. The indoor education center is great with keeping the kids engaged in learning and nature in a fun and exciting way. Honestly, when we let the kids do this part last, it is always hard to get them out and back in the car.
The Fountains at Jordan Valley— If you have never let your kids run through the fountains at Jordan Valley Park, you are all missing out! The kids love splashing through the fountains and running along the rocks up, down and back again. It is such a nice place to go anytime the weather is warm enough for some splashing around.
Wilson Creek National Battlefield— The battlefield is not free, but it is worth the $7/adult or a maximum of $15/vehicle. Make sure you take your time driving to each little stop and getting out to learn about the rich history in our own back yard. The stories are fascinating and your kids will be thrilled to hear the war stories about the ground they are standing on. At The Ray house up on the hill, we were even allowed to pick apples last September. Everyone who works there is very nice and accommodating.
Top of the Rock— This is another one that is not free, but the golf cart ride through the caves and along the rolling countryside in the Fall is breath taking! This is a fun weekend trip for a family to enjoy the beauty of The Ozarks. Not far from Top of the Rock is the breathtaking Dogwood Canyon. At Dogwood Canyon you can ride bikes or walk the trail along the beautiful creeks and waterfalls abundant with fish. This is another spot that is not free, but worth it for a special outing.
Silver Dollar City— We had to throw this one in because it simply is our favorite. It is the perfect place to mix fun and education.
We always enjoy the creeks and rivers around 417 land as well. My kids just love to pull up rocks to see what they might discover. ;) Allowing your kids time to explore and be out in nature is a huge part of learning and growth for a child. Honestly, it is always the best part of our day or our week. It helps to keep us grounded and clear our minds when we are feeling stir crazy or at odds with each other.
I was excited to go through this list because I also discovered so many more places around Springfield that I would love to explore. If you have any places you love, please share them with us! Not only will we add these favorites to our Fall schedule, but we will also throw in a few of the best Fall festivals around town.
Do you love The Ozarks as much as I do? Do you know how incredibly lucky we are to live in such a beautiful part of the Country? Thank you, Lord! Get out and enjoy it, you will not regret it!
Short and sweet post this week, but we are still enjoying our family time together in Florida. So we will soak up the sun (and work in some school work) for a little while longer until we get back to reality and running non-stop.
Have a great week, and enjoy some time together exploring the area around you!