Today's guest blogger is Heather Manning who lives in Bethlehem, Pa. with her partner and their sons, Lucas and Miles. Together they hike, paddle, run, swim, visit farms, and attend festivals throughout the Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley area. A version of this blog originally appeared on Kids Outdoors Philadelphia, a free online community from the Appalachian Mountain Club.
After the harsher than usual winter we experienced this year, I think it's safe to say that most of us are eager for spring to arrive. My family has a serious case of cabin fever and can't wait to get out in warmer weather to enjoy all of the fun activities coming up and spring time hikes. Here are some ideas of destinations in the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia area you won't want to miss this spring.
1. Morris Arboretum, Philadelphia
As the state's official arboretum, these 92 acres of wetlands, woodlands, meadows, gardens, and more are especially beautiful in spring. Upcoming family & children's programming includes Morris the Merrie Little Owl Scavenger Hunts (April 5–September 1); bird-centric lessons in the Garden Discovery Series (May 3); and the arboretum's Cherry Blossom Festival (April 12 and April 19). In addition to enjoying the gardens, prime areas for birding, and exhibits, you and your family can see the forest from 50 feet up in the canopy walk!
2. Wildlands Conservancy, Emmaus
The Wildlands Conservancy consists of nine preserves from Lackawanna and Monroe Counties to the Lehigh Valley. Many of the Conservancy's activities are held at their headquarters at the Pool Wildlife Sanctuary in Emmaus. This organization offers a host of events and educational series. From monthly preschool programs and guided nature walks to the Where the Wild Eggs Are! on April 12 and Wild Edibles at Camp Fowler on April 13, there are fun and educational activities for every age group.
3. Lock Ridge Park, Alburtis
Every April, Lock Ridge Park in Alburtis is bursting with bold color thanks to its fields of grape hyacinth (also known as bluebells). This little park has paths for walking, biking, or running and also has a pavilion for picnicking. The field of bluebells is a favorite spot for me to take photographs of my kids in the Spring.
4. Fairmount Park, Philadelphia
This enormous 9,200-acre park system in Philadelphia has so much to do and see. There are gardens, architectural sites, ball fields, picnic areas, creeks, a horticulture center, various historic mansions, and trails for biking, hiking, and horseback riding. Head to West Fairmount Park to see the site of the Centennial Exhibition and a dose of history. Hop over to the Smith Memorial Playground to enjoy 6.5-acre space designed just to entertain kids. Enjoy walking, biking, or paddling the Schuylkill in East Fairmount Park. Spring is the perfect time to get out and take advantage of all this park system has to offer. Be sure to check out the Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia which runs April 2–13 in the park.
5. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Kempton
April 1 begins Hawk Mountain Sanctuary's official Spring Migration Watch and there is no better place to spot the amazing raptors returning to our area. In addition, you will see stunning panoramic scenery from the various viewing points at the top of the mountain. There are upcoming programs for all ages including, a Mountain Moonwalk on April 15, a Beginners Bird Walk on April 26, and live raptor shows all spring.