Five Rivers MetroParks, founded more than 50 years ago, has a diverse range of activities to explore among its 18 regional parks.
Here are 7 ways to discover new amenities or unique ideas for fun this year:
Take me to the river. The grand opening of the $4 million RiverScape River Run in downtown Dayton is set for May 5. Two structures spanning the Great Miami River - one at RiverScape and the other near the Dayton Art Institute - will feature smooth and white water passageways designed for experienced kayakers and less experienced paddlers.
Loving the land. Interest has ramped up in recent years on ways to live sustainably and help preserve the environment. Each year, MetroParks has added programs to meet that need. Whether it is raising backyard chickens, goats and other livestock, preserving fruits and vegetables or selecting seeds for a garden, the parks system provides Earth-friendly information that can transform daily living.
A place for everyone. A stroll through Cox Arboretum has become more accessible. A new brick-paved path, perfect for strollers and wheelchairs, now loops through the park. The scenic “Monet Bridge” that spans turtles, fish and water plants, has been upgraded and is now ADA accessible.
Mountain biking for every age. The MetroParks Mountain Biking Area (MoMBA) has new trails and amenities for bike enthusiasts of every age. A trail for children opened last year – whether biking on training wheels or just using their feet to propel themselves along – so small children have a space of their own to learn to mountain bike. An upgrade to the facility at the trailhead now has a restroom and a bike wash station. Don’t own a mountain bike but have always been curious about the sport? MetroParks now offers Saturday morning mountain bike rental.
Down and dirty. Natural play areas created for children can be found in Hills & Dales, Englewood, Sugarcreek and Possum Creek MetroParks. Paths wind throughout wooded areas filled with boulders and natural materials ready for creative play. Kids can use their imaginations and build forts and teepees, swing from vines or play in a creek.
Starry starry night. Like to star gaze? Experience the Lyrids meteor shower, active from April 16-25, from one of the more remote MetroParks. Germantown or Twin Creek will be far enough away from city lights to provide the perfect vantage point. Beginning in April, the parks will be open until 10 p.m.
Home for hikers. The Twin Valley Welcome Center at Germantown MetroPark is being transformed into a hiking hub. Opening this summer, the refurbished facility will be accessible anytime the park is open. Hikers will be able to check maps, get fresh water and have access to bathroom facilities. The Twin Valley Trail connects Germantown and Twin Creek MetroParks, offering more than 22 miles of backpacking through a diverse habitat filled with animals, running streams and old growth forests.