Since the The Trustees of Reservations opened the Children's Rocky Woodland at Ravenswood Park, have have walked the trail numerous times. It's a wonderful loop trail that starts at the Nature Center located at the park entrance on Western Avenue and loops around the front of the park to intersect with the Magnolia Swamp Trail. At this intersection you can loop back to the entrance by going right, OR you can go left and continue on to the Magnolia Swamp, which is an adventure in itself. The option is presented at the perfect time in the hike, because you can ask the members of your exploration team if they want to head back or move on!
The terrain on the Children's Woodland Trail is easy to manage, wide in most places and makes for a wonderful care free stroll through the woods. It's shaded throughout, and not very buggy although its always a great idea to carry repellent. There isn't much tall grass on or near the trail, which reduces exposure to Lyme disease carrying ticks.
[flickr-photo:id=7006829100,size=m,style=margin:5px;float:left;]We have walked the trail in the Winter with a little snow on the ground as well and found it to be just as user friendly. There aren't too many areas where ice can build up and present a hazard to young walkers, and the tree cover cuts down on breaks up exposure to cold winds. On our winter hike, we stopped at the back of the Nature Center and watched woodpeckers feed on the well stocked bird feeders hanging in the trees. We we able to get pretty close and even saw woodpeckers eating snow, a behavior that never occurred to me in the past!
When you get to the intersection of the Magnolia Swamp Trail and the Children's Rocky Woodland, you'll find a large moraine boulder perched on exposed granite ledge. It's like a giant creature or dinosaur picked it up and placed it there. [flickr-photo:id=7006872360,size=m,style=margin:5px;float:right;]This is a perfect opportunity to discuss how the boulder got there, and teach your child about Ice Ages, climate and glaciers. I remember my first discussion with 'B' included Manny, Diego and Sid (see [amazon B000I9U8KK inline]) but he was 3 then. He'll be 5 soon enough, but he now has a firm grasp on the concept of glacial movement and deposits. Science class here we come!
Take the time to explore this trail. Even if your child bails and wants to head back to the car, it's an easy loop with a lot to see. Your kids will get outside and explore the natural world around and you'll get some fresh air and excercise!