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Create Family Memories at County Parks | Families

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Create Family Memories at County Parks
Create Family Memories at County Parks

Create Family Memories at County Parks

We all have favorite family memories from childhood. The Ottawa County Parks has dozens of opportunities to create such lasting, family memories with your children.

Sunday Family Hours:  Bring your clan for a fun-filled Family Hour every Sunday at the Nature Education Center within Hemlock Crossing Park. These one-hour, indoor-outdoor programs begin at 2pm. Register at least two days in advance by calling 616-786-4847 and pay only one dollar per person. Late registrants or walk-ins (space permitting) pay two dollars person. Programs vary but incorporate a story, hike, craft, or hands-on activity.  “Not only are the park programs fun, but kids learn about the amazing, natural world. Adults are even likely to learn a thing or two, but will find the greatest joy watching their children’s eyes light up with each discovery.” commented Shannon Felgner, Ottawa County Communications Manager.  Sunday Family Hours are best suited for groups with children ages five and older. At your discretion, younger children may enjoy the program with extra assistance and supervision from their caregivers.  

Ottawa County Parks Sunday Family Hour at the Nature Education Center at Hemlock Crossing
Only $1 per person when you register two days in advance. Call 616-786-4847.

September 14, 2PM: Spiders
September 21, 2PM: Migratory Miracles
September 28, 2PM: Look What I Did with a Leaf
October 5, 2PM: Things with Wings
October 12, 2PM: The Bee’s Knees
October 19, 2PM: Meet a Tree
October 26, 2PM: Look without Seeing
November 2, 2PM: Tales of Foxes
November 9, 2PM: Terrific Turkeys
November 16, 2PM: Raven about Crows
November 23,  2PM: Go Nuts
November 30, 2PM: Busy Beavers
December 7, 2PM: Branches & Twig Art

Family Overnight Adventure:  Ottawa County Parks is also offering a Family Camping Trip. The one night camping excursion begins Friday, October 10 at 5pm and concludes at 10am on Saturday at the Pigeon Creek Group Campsite. This overnight adventure will introduce families to the joy of tent camping. Tents and sleeping pads are available to borrow (free) upon request. Highlights will include outdoor games, skits, songs, s’mores and a hike. Dinner and breakfast will be provided. The fee is $25 per adult and $5 per child. Preregistration is required by October 5. Call 616-786-4847.

Drop-Off Programs:  Older children will enjoy programs created just for them.  A Leaf Collection Workshop at Hemlock Crossing Park is planned on September 20 from 2-4PM. While having fun, kids ten and older will collect leaves and learn to use a key to identify them. Preregister by September 16. Call 616-786-4847. This age group is also invited to Managing Maps & Conquering Compassesat Hemlock Crossing Park on November 15 from 2-4PM. Preregister by calling 616-786-4847. Both programs are free.

On the Water:  Gabagouache on the Grand will take your crew for a one hour paddle on the Grand River on October 18. Launch from Connor Bayou at noon, 1:30PM or 3PM. During the trip in the ten person canoe, you will step back in time to learn what life was like as a fur trader in the 1700s. The fee is five dollars per person. Preregister by calling 616-786-4847. Be prepared to paddle!

Saturdays in the Park:  Many other free programs are available on Saturdays at the Nature Education Center or Hemlock Crossing for persons of all ages:
September 20, 9AM-Noon        Fall Fungus Hike-Free but please preregister
September 27, 2-3:30PM        Super Spiders-Free
September 27, 7-8:30PM         Astronomy: Spacecrafts-Free
October 11, 2-3:30PM        Galls & Goldenrods-Free
October 25, 7-8:30PM         Astronomy: Telescopes-Free
November 8, 7-8:30PM        Hike into the Night-Free
November 22, 2-3:30PM        Leaves, Trees & Fun with Seeds-Free
November 22, 7-8:30PM        Astronomy:  Meteor Showers-Free
November 29, 2-4PM          All About Owls-Free but please preregister
November 29, 6:30-8PM        Owl Prowl-Free
December 6, 2-3:30PM        Plant Skeletons-Free

For ongoing announcements ‘like’ Ottawa County Parks and Recreation on Facebook or visit miOttawa.org/parks.   You can also sign up for email or snail mail updates and newsletters by calling 616-786-4847 or emailing ocparks@miottawa.org.
Directions & Addresses:

Hemlock Crossing-Nature Education Center: (8115 West Olive Road, West Olive) From US 31, travel west on Croswell to West Olive Road. Travel south on West Olive Road along the train tracks to the park entrance.

Pigeon Creek: (12524 Stanton Street, West Olive) From US 31, travel east on Stanton Street.  The campsite entrance is just east of the main park entrance.