It’s really hard to impress teenagers. To take this claim even further, I would say it’s extremely rare and shocking to impress teenagers without flash tech, intense dance moves, or dangerous stunts.
Leave it to the knowledgeable staff at Lake Metroparks to provide a safe and attractive outdoor recreation space for older children and teens.
We were experiencing what can best be described as an Indian summer. The weather was exceptionally warm and delightfully pleasant. Two of my kids invited friends over to explore what I had heard described as a ninja class. We traveled to Jordan Creek Park in Concord Township, Ohio.
In the summer of 2021, the new area of ââthe park was opened. Adventure Play is an outdoor recreation area designed with active and creative play in mind for older children. Climbing walls, a suspension bridge and a zipline are some of the main attractions. My kids and their friends jumped from one obstacle to another.
The course is designed for free roaming – there is no beginning or end. My crew scuttled over loose lines connecting the trees and practiced balancing on vertical and horizontal log obstacles. They laughed and screamed and didn’t want to leave, or maybe it was me. Parents will find this playground a pleasure as well as children.
The nature center also has plenty of indoor interactive exhibits for older children. Our favorite was an augmented reality sandbox. It was an interactive topographic map. As the sand is moved, images are projected showing mountains, valleys and streams. We watched river deltas and flood plains appear as we dragged our fingers through the sand.
The nature center also offers indoor and outdoor treasure hunts. Our biggest challenge was to find petrified wood. My lips are sealed; I do not disclose its location.
The acreage in which Jordan Creek Park sits has long provided outdoor recreation and a respite from city life. The first camps at the site in the early 1900s were called fresh air camps.
Then a transition led to a partnership with the Methodist Youth Fellowship which organized annual religious camps at the site. In 1952, The United Methodist Church sponsored a camp called Camp Klein named after its founder George Klein. The end of the era of religious camps meant a new beginning for the country.
After the property changed hands and became the subject of legal proceedings, the Lake Metroparks property was established in 2001. The former main hall at Camp Klein became the Environmental Learning Center.
The addition of classrooms, a laboratory and an observatory created the perfect atmosphere for young explorers to learn more about science. The existing trails forged by campers over the years have been improved and new trails have been created.
Begging to be explored
From the Jordan Creek valley to the hemlock and beech clusters, the park invites to be explored. The park now has many trails of varying distances, with the Jordan Creek Crossing Trail being the shortest at 0.18 miles and the Ridge Trail at 0.90 miles as the longest. Trails can be combined to increase hiking distance.
To accommodate the elderly and visitors with reduced mobility, Lake Metroparks has purchased trekking carts. The multipurpose greenway corridor is accessible via a connection path from the parking lot.
The Town of Painesville and the Townships of Concord and Painesville are connected by the 5.1 mile long Greenway Corridor. The paved trail is perfect for cyclists, walkers, and runners.
We hiked just under half a mile from the Jordan Creek Park parking lot through a natural area before reaching the Chair Factory Falls trail. From the start of the trail we hiked 0.29 mile down the ravine to reach the 30ft waterfall.
Sunlight streamed through the canopy of trees as yellow and orange leaves fluttered across the forest floor. It’s not every day in Ohio that we have the opportunity to sit by a waterfall and eat a picnic.
We had to seize the moment and enjoy the common trifecta of friends, food and an extravagant display of nature. The water flowed over stacked stones before reaching the stream littered with natural sandstone boulders and fallen leaves.
I did not expect to have such a wonderful day. It was a surprise blessing that confirmed to me that fall is an optimal season for outdoor exploration.
Jordan Creek Park also confirmed my suspicions that nature and play are the best combination for explorers of all ages.
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