Ohio offers an abundance of amazing natural areas that you can visit year-round. And what better way to have fun with your family and friends than to get out in nature and discover all the cool things waiting there for you.
Morgan Swamp Preserve
In spring, Morgan Swamp Preserve explodes with emerging wildlife like spotted salamanders and wood frogs, and spring wildflowers like yellow trout lilies and spring beauties. Look for skunk cabbage in seeps and listen for spring peepers among the many vernal pools.
Great Egret Marsh Preserve
In spring, Great Egret Marsh Preserve comes alive with migratory bird activity. Birders will love trying to spot any one of a number of warblers that utilize the preserve, including the American Redstart, Blackburnian, Magnolia, and Black-and-white Warblers. Expect to find a large number of waterfowl species like great egrets, which congregate here in abundance.
Kitty Todd Nature Preserve
In spring, visit Kitty Todd Preserve to watch for flowering plant species like wild lupine, which hosts larvae of the endangered Karner blue butterfly. Plan to take at least one guided hike this season to get a better understanding of the ecology of Kitty Todd. These are scheduled every first Saturday of the month from May through October.
Herrick Fen Nature Preserve
Visit Herrick Fen Preserve in spring as the site’s foliage begins to show off. The preserve provides habitat for more than 20 state-listed plants including yellow sedge, crinkled hairgrass, water avens, bunchflower, autumn willow and green cotton-grass. It is one of only three sites where you can observe the bayberry plant growing naturally in Ohio.
Brown's Lake Bog Preserve
Spring is an exciting time to visit Brown’s Lake Bog, which is beginning to show off its enviable botanical inventory this time of year. The naturally acidic properties of sphagnum, coupled with its ability to insulate the water below from rapid air temperature changes, provided the right environment for the creation of the bog and its relict boreal plant communities. More than twenty rare plants are found here.
Big Darby Headwaters Nature Preserve
In spring, explore the boardwalk at Big Darby Headwaters Nature Preserve and watch for marsh flora reawakening. The health of the waters downstream, in Big Darby Creek, is dependent upon what happens in these swamps and marshes. Marsh marigold and skunk cabbage are among the first plants you might see.
Edge of Appalachia Preserve
In spring, outliers of dolomite stone at the Edge of Appalachia are clearly visible and offer views of flowering columbine, walking fern and bishop’s cap. Now is the perfect time to enjoy birdwatching. Keep your eyes open for species like the cerulean warbler, rose breasted grosbeak or blackburnian warbler as they migrate back to the preserve from warmer, more southern locales. The forest floor is beginning to offer some color from the spring ephemerals as species like twin leaf, bloodroot, and hepatica begin to flower. Plan on staying the day: Visitors can enjoy over 9.5 miles of trails!