Nashville is fortunate to have an amazing park system. In fact, The Warner Parks are one of the largest municipally administered parks in Tennessee and they span over 3,100 acres. They provide all sorts of recreational spots from picnic shelters to athletic fields and a dog park, from an equestrian center to golf courses. It is even listed in the National Register of Historic Places. My kids and I love going to the Edwin Warner Park Nature Center in Nashville, Tennessee. It is located by Highway 100 and Old Hickory Blvd in the Bellevue area of Nashville. It is loads of fun to play in the ponds and creeks with kids or without!
Exercise Your Outdoor Bill of Rights And Explore Nature
While I was in the bathroom at the Nature Center, I read about the Tennessee Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights on the back of a stall door! The TN Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights states that every child should have the opportunity to walk in the woods, play outside, explore nature, watch wildlife, grow a garden, splash in the water, camp under the stars, learn to swim, climb a tree, go fishing, fly a kite, and visit a farm. How cool is that? Never thought about it in such official terms but all of those things are paramount to childhood! A person could do almost all of those things right at the Warner Parks!
Edwin Warner Park Nature Center In Nashville
My kids have five favorite areas of the Percy Warner Park Nature Center.
1. The Nature Center Building
The Nature Center Building is really packed with cool things for kids to enjoy from nature puzzles to aquariums to microscopes to identification guides for birds and more. The staff is always friendly and they often have a couple of cool events you can sign up for each week that are free. There are several picnic areas out back to enjoy after special events hosted by Metro Nashville Parks.
2. The Nature Play Area
The play area is kind of like a playground only instead of play structures, they have a dirt mound and a little wood cabin. It is the perfect place to play in the dirt and in the spring and summer, they have water access so it becomes the perfect spot to get muddy. Mud pies, dirt gardens, water tunnels- basically a child’s dream and a mother’s nightmare. (Unless you just relax and remember how fun it was when you were little and bring a change of clothes with you!)
3. The Hiking Trails
So many great hiking trails! Some or our favorites will bring you to an amphitheater where your kids can put on a show, a bird blind where you kids can spot birds feeding, and a story walk. My kids love the StoryWalk Trail with a page of the book about every 15 feet. They read and then run to the next one. You can explore acres of forest and enjoy many scenic overlooks.
4. The Garden
They have a huge edible garden and a wild flowers garden. We love reading the labels and seeing what they have growing.
5. The Ponds And Creeks
Our absolute favorite part of the Edwin Warner Park is just outside of the Nature Center, they have several ponds. The biggest one is really the star attraction. It has step stones through the water by the edge of the pond. That in itself is enough to capture every child’s heart. But wait, there is is much more.
Edwin Warner Ponds and Creeks With Kids
Edwin Warner Park Ponds
Today, I will just focus on how awesome the ponds and creeks are right next to the Nature Center. The ponds at the Nature Center are just so wonderful because most city folk and even many country dwellers don’t get to explore ponds and it is so much fun! The spring time is so special because tons and tons of tadpoles appear! If you bring your kids back frequently like I do, they can watch the whole process from frog eggs floating on the pond to tadpoles, to tadpoles with hind legs, to tadpoles with hind and front legs, to tiny frogs everywhere! We have spotted three different types of frogs there and the bullfrog tadpoles are always amazing to see.
My daughter loves to try to catch things and when she does, she takes a closer look for a few minutes and then sets them free again. The Nature Center sometimes allows you catch tadpoles as long as you then release them. At other times, they ask you to leave the ponds undisturbed because of the mating season. They post signs or you can ask a Nature Center employee if you want clarification.
Plus, we always see tons of small fish. We often see spotted newts and water turtles. A couple of times saw snakes- a Northern water snake, and a banded water snake. Not to mention the dragonflies that buzz around! These ponds are just so awesome!
Edwin Warner Park Creeks
We also love the creeks at Edwin Warner Park. Actually we love the creeks everywhere! I spent a huge amount of my summers in creeks as I kid and I loved it. So it feels great to be able to bring my kids to play in the creeks. We bring nets and a little plastic fish tank so we can observe what we have caught before we release.
When I was a kid, the creeks were full of minnows. I always worked hard to catch them but there were so many species. The Nature Center Creeks don’t seem to have very many, if any minnows. I am not sure why that is. None the less, we always have lots of fun finding crawfish and salamanders.
My daughter takes after me, and at 5, she catch salamanders with the best of them! We also catch crawfish/ crayfish, however you want to say the name! I showed her where to hold them to avoid getting pinched. My son, who is only three, sticks mostly to trying to catch water bugs that glide around on top of the water. I was never good at that either. Man are they fast!
I always have to force them to leave because they are never ready to go! I hope that every kid gets to enjoy activities in nature like playing in ponds and creeks. If you are in Nashville or near the Davidson Country area, the Edwin Warner Park Nature Center is definitely worth a visit- actually many, many visits!