Friday, April 10, 2009

Schools out: Play outdoors with your kids

I've really been trying to follow Bethe Almeras' advice (remember her, she's The Grass Stain Guru) and play outdoors a lot more lately - especially with my kids. They start a much needed 10 days of from school today, and I'm determined to make sure they spend most of their time outside. 

I asked Tina Yerkes, whose job it is to know where to play outdoors in my region, for some ideas. She's put together a fabulous list of things to do. Even if you don't live around me, this list may make you think of something similar where you live, and inspire you.
  1. Palmyra Nature Cove - 250 acres of green in a highly developed area on the Delaware River just south of the Tacony Palmyra Bridge. With its woodlands, wetlands, tidal cove and wild river shore line, PCNP serves as an important feeding site for migratory birds. 856-829-1900
  2. Woodford Cedar Run - 184 acre refuge surrounding Cedar Run Lake with nature trails, live animals, educational & hands-on, fun exhibits. Donations to “adopt” animals will make a lasting impression. 856-983-3329 
  3. Camden Children’s Garden - The 4 acre, interactive garden features themed and educational exhibits like the Butterfly House, Storybook gardens & Train garden and so much more. 856-365-8733 
  4. Rankokus Indian Reservation - A 350 acre site with a Native American heritage museum, live buffalo, nature trails, park & gallery. 609-261-4747 
  5. Batsto Village & Mansion Tour - The roots of Batsto Village can be traced back to 1766. Two centuries of American history are available to visitors, with the Pinelands environment as a scenic backdrop. 609-561-0024 
  6. Red Bank Battlefield & Whitall House - 44-acre site of a successful Revolutionary War battle with the remains of Fort Mercer. Whitall House, circa 1748, served as both Revolutionary War headquarters and a field hospital. 856-853-5120 
  7. Fort Mott State Park - Fort Mott in Pennsville was part of a coastal defense system designed for the Delaware River in the 1800’s. 856-935-3218
  8. Paws Animal Center - Promotes a special relationship between people, their local history and environment with an emphasis on reaching out to children. Learning is designed to be fun at Paws Farm. Classes & story hours, animal programs, interactive exhibits and more than 80 birds and animals are housed here. 856-778-8795  
  9. Cooper River Park - William G. Rohrer Children's Playground with pavilions, 2 softball fields, The Cooper River Yacht Club, 2 bike paths, dog park, miniature golf course & sculpture garden. 
  10. Duffield’s Farm - A family farming tradition since 1953. Start the summer right with Duffield's u-pick ripe strawberry fields, opening the first week of June. Stop by later this summer for our own field-grown Jersey tomatoes and luscious Silver Queen white sweet corn, picked fresh daily. Hay rides, activities for children & an active year-round calendar. 856-589-7090  
Tina Yerkes, SJTC Director of Product Development, has the fun job to visit, promote & package our wonderful venues and attractions to not only tourists who come to our South Jersey region but also to our residents of this region. South Jersey is rich in history, culture, food and some of the best eco- & agri-tourism in the country.

South Jersey Tourism Corporation is a regional tourism marketing organization whose mission is to increase the economic tourism engines of Mercer, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem Counties. Our primary focus is to increase the number of tourists that visit and spend money in these counties and promote the many historical, cultural, entertainment & recreational assets of our region.  

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E said...

Our homeschool co-op did lots of field trips to Batsto Village. I never got to go on any of them, but they sounded awesome. One of them, they taught the kids how to scrounge up materials in the wilderness and build a makeshift shelter. Very cool.

GJK said...

Oops. That comment from "E" was "me", Robin. :) I didn't realize Eastin was logged on . .

balmeras said...

Love this!! Nothing better you can do than spend time with your kids outside. Have a GREAT spring break and thanks for the shout out!

Cheers- Bethe @balmeras

Phil Henry said...

We live in Southern Arizona and are moving to New Jersey this summer. Over spring break this week I was able to enjoy some mountain biking with my son in one of the national parks out here. We're looking forward to getting some canoes when we move and enjoying some of the many waterways in New Jersey.

Gina said...

This is a great post & I hope more parents spread the word that kids (heck, us too!) need more times outdoors, especially in nature. Their bodies need to move & get all that fresh air goodness for a long list of reasons. We live in Oregon and have nature all around so it's pretty easy but, still, so many tend to stay inside when it's wet or grey. Thanks for giving parents new ideas in your area!