November 17, 2014 is National "Take a Hike" Day, a day designed to encourage Americans to get out, get active and explore the environment around them. And although it seems somewhat boggling that a day dedicated to hiking runs so late in the year, when the weather is cold, there are nonetheless opportunities right here in the Buckeye State to experience nature in all its late autumn splendor— indoors or out.
With the holidays coming up, many of our green spaces are hosting family-friendly and senior lifestyle-oriented events, perfect for a day out with the grandkids.
Located in scenic Eden Park, overlooking downtown, the Cincinnati Parks and Recreation Department's Krohn Conservatory has been delighting plant lovers and park visitors for over 80 years. Featuring more than 3,500 exotic and rare plant species from around the world, Krohn is the perfect place to enjoy some greenspace without having to be out in the cold.
On November 16, Krohn will host its "Going Green for the Holidays: Be Healthy and Be Happy!" event from 10 AM-3 PM which will showcase wellness-related activities and help attendees learn how to make their holidays healthy and stress free.
And as we approach Christmas, families and the faithful will surely enjoy the Conservatory's annual Live Nativity, which will open this year on December 13 and remain open daily from 9 AM to 9 PM, until New Year's Day.
Another indoor nature experience awaits you at Columbus' 150-year old Franklin Park Conservatory, which recently completed the first phase of a major renovation.
Franklin's annual "Merry & Bright" holiday-themed event will open November 15 and last until January 4. Visitors will enjoy elegant poinsettias and other seasonal foliage, a large poinsettia tree and the Paul Busse model garden railway. There will also be a number of ancillary events, like the Conservatory's 8th Annual Gingerbread Competition, in which residents can showcase their baking and confectionary talents.
If you don't mind a little chill in the air, a drive up to Kirtland to check out the Holden Arboretum is well worth the trip. With 20 miles of hiking trails spread over a 3,600 acre complex, Holden is one of the largest arboretums in the United States and is designated an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society.
Between November 15 and January 4, Holden will host its "Gifts from the Heart of Nature" artisan show, with handcrafted gifts and home goods made by a bevy of local craftspeople.
Most people visit the Cincinnati Zoo for the animals, but plant lovers know that the Botanical Gardens feature one of the most diverse and astounding collections of flora around. In the winter, it's worth a stroll down past Cat Canyon to check out the Conifers Collection, with everything from juniper bushes to rare pine tree species.
On November 22, the annual PNC Festival of Lights will open to dazzle zoo attendees and warm heart with thousands of twinklers, strolling entertainment and, of course, visits from Santa. The event will last through the holidays.
Located in the Woodland Cemetery, this arboretum is the perfect spot for a quiet autumn stroll and some fresh, crisp air.
From December 6 through the end of the year, Woodland will host its Annual Holiday Floral Display and Ornament Decorating, daily from 9 am to 4:30 pm. Guests are encouraged to bring an ornament to place on the cemetery's Memory Tree as a memorial their friends and loved ones.
Bundle up and take an evening hike in Newark's Dawes Arboretum on Friday, November 21, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, during its "The Squirrels Are Going Nuts!" wildlife program. Trail guides will give a talk about the squirrel and its hibernation prepping habits, then lead visitors to the park's Deep Woods area, where you just might catch a glimpse of the nocturnal Northern Flying Squirrel.
And if tracking down cute, fuzzy mammals in the woods isn't your thing, try the Arboretum's Luminary Tour and Poinsettia Sale on Friday, December 5, from 5:30 to 8 pm, featuring a drive-through tour of the park, lit by 2,000 luminaries, and a hot cocoa reception in the Visitor's Center.
Formerly the estate of F.A. Seiberling, the founder of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, the grounds of Stan Hywet Hall once encompassed over 3,000 acres of lush gardens. Today, on the estate's 70 remaining acres, visitors can experience renowned landscape architect Warren Manning's landmark work and also check out the Corbin Conservatory, home to the tropical Garden Under Glass.
From November 28 to January 3, the estate will hold its annual lights display, Deck the Hall, daily from 5 to 8 pm, featuring 800,000 holiday lights and a nightly courtyard tree-lighting ceremony hosted by none other than Santa Claus.
With 10 acres of outdoor gardens and the 18,000-square foot Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse, the Cleveland Botanical Garden is a green delight for any season.
On Sunday, November 16, the Botanical Garden will host its annual Gingerbread House Family Workshop with Chef Tony Smoody from 2 to 3:30 pm. All the necessary materials are provided— you and your grandchild just have to show up with your admission fee ($45 per adult-child pair for members, $60 per adult-child pair for non-members). You can enter your creation in the Garden's competition or bring a box and take it home.
Then stick around and check out the Glasshouse's amazing assortment of tropical plants, an animal meet-and-greet in its Madagascar biome and the flitting butterflies in its Costa Rica biome.
Senior lifestyle in the late Ohio autumn doesn't have to be drab and grey.
Get out to one of these green places, or bundle up and take an outdoor walk for Take a Hike Day, and experience some natural beauty while you stay active!