Take the Kids: Hike – Ramble along the Forest Trail at Prairie Ridge Ecostation

You’ll find Prairie Ridge Ecostation in west Raleigh, a few miles from the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh.

The museum’s outdoor learning lab offers all kinds of activities for all ages, including weekly play days and storytimes. You’ll also find short, easy-to-navigate trails for little ones.

The ecostation’s Forest Trail, is a half-mile hike that takes you from a prairie to a pond to a forest and, finally, a nature playground.

The Forest Trail is part of the Kids In Parks TRACK Trail system, a national program that aims to get kids and families outside and exploring nature. The site lists kid-friendly trails in about 10 states across the country, including many in North Carolina. Each TRACK Trail comes with self-guided brochures with details about things you might see along your walk and signs so you don’t get lost. You can find TRACK Trail brochures for the Forest Trail in Prairie Ridge’s nature playground.

According to the ecostation’s website, explorers here reported finding “savannas” in this part of the world as early as 1540. It’s likely they were created by lightning fires or fires set by Native Americans to clear land for planting. Elk and bison might have helped maintain them.

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