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Monday, October 23, 2017

Exploring the Nature Trails at Wildwood Park in Harrisburg

Nature Trails at Wildwood Park in Harrisburg Pennsylvania
The Wildwood Park and Nature Center is located in Harrisburg Pennsylvania and allows visitors from around the area to view native wildlife in their natural habitat. The park is open year round and is free to visit. If you want to explore the lake and walk the surrounding trails, they're open from dawn to dusk, while the indoor nature center is open during specific hours throughout the year.

There are several different parking lots that visitors can use, with three of them having access to public restrooms. If you plan on visiting the Nature Center and don't want to do a lot of walking, you'll want to park in the Nature Center Lot which is located on the south side of the property.
Nature Trails at Wildwood Park in Harrisburg Pennsylvania

There are several different walking trails that run around Wildwood Lake. Some of the trails are paved, some are wooden boardwalks and a few are uneven dirt trails. All of the trails are marked and you'll find maps of the park & trails at each parking lot/entrance.

Description of Nature Trails:

Towpath Trail is an easy, level trail that is approximately 1 mile in length.

Wildwood Way is a moderately difficult trail with several long hills. It's 2.1 miles in length.

Delta Boardwalk is an easy, level trail with a wooden walkway that is 0.4 miles in length.

Meadow Trail is a grassy trail that loops through an open meadow that's 0.2 miles in length.

North Boardwalk does not connect with any other trails and is 0.4 miles in length.

East Shore Trail is moderately difficult dirt trails that is 0.9 miles in length.

Tall Timbers Trail is a difficult dirt trail that drops from a ridge that is 0.25 miles in length.

Fox Run Trail is a primitive dirt trail that loops through wet woodland and is 0.25 miles in length.
Nature Trails at Wildwood Park in Harrisburg Pennsylvania

Egrets at Wildwood Lake and Park in Harrisburg Pennsylvania

You can find a free downloadable and printable map by visiting their website HERE. Some of the trails are easier to walk than others and please remember, all trails are outdoors, so during wet & sloppy weather, the trails will be muddy. You'll want to wear season-appropriate clothing, comfortable walking shoes and I recommend bringing along sunscreen and bug spray.

Wildwood Lake is the home to many different native species of turtles, birds, frogs, ducks, geese, snakes, butterflies and other wildlife. You'll see migratory birds stopping by for a visit too. On the day that we visited, we saw three different species of turtles out sunning for the day. You'll see them sunning on logs, rocks and around the banks of the sprawling lake. The real highlight for us was seeing a white Egret and a gray Egret swimming around in the lake.
Nature Trails at Wildwood Park in Harrisburg Pennsylvania

Nature Trails at Wildwood Park in Harrisburg Pennsylvania

During the late spring and early summer seasons we like to visit to check out all of the colorful wildflowers that line the walking trails. It's a great time to see all of the animals springing back into action after a long winter. During the fall season we enjoy visiting again to see the wildlife preparing for winter and we love seeing the fall foliage as we walk along the trails.

Every year they put on an Art in Nature Show which starts in April and runs through the end of October. Local artists create nature-inspired trail-side creations which are displayed along some of the walking trails. For 2017, they showcased the natural artwork from 15 different artists. This artwork is then judged and winners receive prizes. The public can vote on their favorite piece by scanning the bar code with their phones located near the displayed pieces. How cool is that? Totally cool!
Nature Trails at Wildwood Park in Harrisburg Pennsylvania

Nature Trails at Wildwood Park in Harrisburg Pennsylvania

Throughout the year they host various events that are open to the public. You'll find guided and self-guided tours, exercise/fitness programs, scouting day camps & programs, volunteer days and more. There is always something to see and explore, and you can find a complete list of events right on their website.

We try to visit the park several times a year. Our grandchildren love to walk the trails, look for wildlife and participate in family-friendly events. Fortunate for us, it's only a 10 minute drive from our home and it's a great way to get the kids out in nature.  You can learn more by visiting the Wildwood Park official website online.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Family Fun at Lititz Springs Park and Welcome Center

Lititz Springs Park and Welcome Center in Pennsylvania
The Lititz Springs Park and Welcome Center is a must-see when visiting Lancaster County. Lititz is a small-town located about 6 miles north of Lancaster City and is situated in the center of Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

The town has it's own unique small town charm and vibe. The downtown streets are lined with mom and pop owned stores, gift shops, boutiques and eateries. There is something going on in Lititz year-round and you can find a complete list of scheduled events by visiting their website.
Lititz Springs Park and Welcome Center in Pennsylvania

Lititz Springs Park and Welcome Center in Pennsylvania

On a recent day trip down to Lancaster County, we stopped in for a visit to Lititz Springs Park and Welcome Center. It sits right along the main drag that runs through town. If you need GPS driving directions, you'll want to use Main Street or 101 Maple Street in Lititz for your GPS directions.

The park is open year-round from dawn to dusk. If you're bringing pets into the park, they must be on a leash at all times. It's a smoke-free park, so no smoking is allowed. In addition, no alcoholic beverages, bicycles, gambling, political activities or soliciting is allowed. You must abide by all park rules and guidelines at all times.
Lititz Springs Park and Welcome Center in Pennsylvania

Lititz Springs Park and Welcome Center in Pennsylvania

It's a privately owned park that is open (for free) to visitors and the general public to enjoy. They're not publicly funded and rely heavily on donations from community members & visitors. You can learn more on their website if you would like to donate and help out. You can find an online map that will help you get around the park and you'll find maps posted throughout the park too.

The park has been in operation for over 200 years and over the decades...has expanded and added new features along the way. As soon as you visit the park, you'll be impressed with the beautifully landscaped grounds and the peace & quiet that you find there. Even though there are other visitors in the park, we found everyone to be friendly and respectful of one another.
Lititz Springs Park and Welcome Center in Pennsylvania

Lititz Springs Park and Welcome Center in Pennsylvania

On the park grounds you'll find the Lititz Welcome Center which is housed in a building (replica) that depicts the old Reading Train Station. Right behind the welcome center you see a red caboose (train car) that states it's part of the historic Reading Railroad. The train tracks run right alongside of the park, between the park and the historic Wilbur Chocolate Company old factory building.

My family had a great time exploring the park. The kids really enjoyed feeding and watching all of the ducks. I would estimate that on the day that we visited...we saw at least 50 ducks swimming around and walking around the park. They were friendly and enjoyed having the kids feed them. When feeding them, you want to put quarters into the machine and use ONLY the food that's provided for them.
Lititz Town Clock and Historical Marker in Pennsylvania

Lititz Springs Park and Welcome Center in Pennsylvania

As you walk around the park you'll notice the large pond with water fountain which is really pretty to see. There are paved walking trails, a large gazebo, a stream that runs through the park and plenty of benches for you and your family to sit on. It's really laid out nicely with plenty of room for everyone, even on their busiest days.

You can learn more about the Lititz Springs Park and Welcome Center by visiting their official website online. If you're traveling and visiting the area, this is the first place that you want to visit. They can help guide you to other tourist attractions in the area.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Visiting the Wildwoods Vietnam Memorial Wall

The Wildwoods Vietnam Memorial Wall in Wildwood New Jersey
The Wildwoods Vietnam Memorial Wall is located right across the street from the Wildwoods Convention Center in New Jersey. If you're unfamiliar with the area, you'll find it located in Columbus Park at 4500 Ocean Avenue, between Burk and Montgomery Avenues. If you're looking for parking, you can find that in the nearby Convention Center parking lot.

Visiting the memorial wall is 100% free and is a really humbling experience. The Vietnam Memorial Wall is 240 feet long and made out of 74 black granite panels. The wall contains the names of 58,913 people that were killed during the Vietnam War. It's basically a replica of the one in Washington D. C. and was dedicated in 2010 at an on-site ceremony.
The Wildwoods Vietnam Memorial Wall in Wildwood New Jersey

The Wildwoods Vietnam Memorial Wall in Wildwood New Jersey

On the day that we visited...we walked down the boardwalk to the Convention Center and then simply crossed the street to the memorial. The weather was absolutely perfect with mild temperatures, sunshine and blue skies. It was the perfect day to visit!
The Wildwoods Vietnam Memorial Wall in Wildwood New Jersey

We took our time reading off a lot of the names of the brave men and women who lost their lives during the Vietnam War fighting for our country. It's a really humbling experience to see over 58,000 names engraved on that wall. There is some information on-site that you can read to learn more and if you want to sit down and just reflect on it all, you'll find some park benches that you can use for that.
Christopher Columbus Memorial in Wildwood New Jersey

Columbus Park in Wildwood New Jersey

Since it's located in Columbus Park you'll also find a memorial to Christopher Columbus that stands in front of the memorial wall. The memorial to Christopher Columbus was dedicated by the local Sons of Italy and honors his life.
Korea War Memorial in Wildwood New Jersey

The American Flag and POW Flag

There is a small area on the property that is dedicated to the men and women who lost their lives during the Korean War too. It states a year of 1950 through 1953 and has some smaller American flags and memorial wreaths around it. It doesn't contain any names or really any other specific information. I guess it's just a reminder about all of those who lost their lives during the war in Korea.

We spent about 40 minutes walking around the Wildwoods Vietnam Memorial Wall reading a lot of the names and visiting the on-site memorials. It was a great reminder that we all need to remember our veterans (past, presence and future) and give them all the respect that they deserve. Like I initially stated, it was a real humbling experience!