COLUMBUS, OH – Tired of being cooped inside this winter? The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is offering plenty of fun activities for Ohioans to do in the great outdoors this February. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner so grab a loved one or friend to spend some quality time enjoying the beautiful scenery right here in Ohio.
Night Hike at Mohican State Park – Enjoy a nocturnal experience on Friday, Feb. 3, from 7:30-8:30 p.m. at Mohican State Park. People should meet at the Hemlock Gorge trailhead located at the back of Camp Area A. This is an easy hike, but the trail may be muddy. People should dress for the weather. No need for flashlights or glow sticks, and no pets. For more information, call 419-994-5125.
Winter Hike at Findley State Park – Join the Buckeye Trail Association and Findley State Park staff at Findley State Park on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. to experience the beauty of winter through Findley’s woodlands and around the lake. Hikes include a 10K, 5K and interpretive led hikes. Donations will be accepted for cornbread and bean soup after hikes. Meet at the nature center in the campground and dress for the weather. For more information, call 440-647-5749.
Wilderness Walk at Shawnee State Park – Come along to the Edge Preserve at Shawnee State Park on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 12-3 p.m. for a walk on the 2.5-mile wilderness loop trail. Dolomite cliffs and pristine streams along the trail make this hike an all-time favorite year-round. Meet in the Shawnee Lodge lobby at noon to ride along or caravan to the site. For more information, call 740-858-6652.
Nature Night at Maumee Bay State Park – Ever wonder what animals roamed the wilds of Ohio? Or lurked in the Great Black Swamp? Swing by the lodge at Maumee Bay State Park on Saturday, Feb. 4, to find out, and see some skins, skulls and snakes. We will be there from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the Maumee Bay State Park Lodge. For more information, call 419-836-7758.
Bird Walk at Mohican State Park – Meet at the Mohican State Park Lodge lobby for a bird walk on Sunday, Feb. 5, at 10 a.m. Take a leisurely walk around beautiful grounds to view various birds in and around the lake. People may want to bring binoculars if they have them. This is an easy path with some steps and nice views of Pleasant Hill Lake. The walk will last for an hour. For more information, call 419-994-5125.
Shawnee Stories at Shawnee State Park – Sit by the fireside and journey back in time with retired park manager Kevin Bradbury as he shares stories about William Flagg on Sunday, Feb. 5, from 1-2 p.m. Flagg mined stones from Lower Twin Creek Road to build bridges and buildings in Cincinnati. Come prepared for a field trip to see some of the legacy he left behind. This event will be held at the Shawnee State Park Lodge lobby. For more information, call 740-858-6652.
Fireside Chat on Mammals of Ohio at Burr Oak State Park – Join the naturalist for a close up look at common Ohio mammals by examining their skins and skulls on Friday, Feb. 10, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. This program is informal and ongoing by the Burr Oak State Park Lodge lobby fireplace. For more information, call 740-767-3570.
Nature Bingo at Mohican State Park – Meet at the Mohican State Park Lodge lobby on Friday, Feb. 10, for nature bingo from 7:30-8:30 p.m. People can test their nature knowledge in this fun and challenging game that includes winning prizes. For more information, call 419-994-5125.
Winter Hike in the Little Miami River Gorge at John Bryan State Park – This guided hike, which is free to the public, will follow the river for approximately 6 miles, passing several historical sites and will include living history encounters along the route. It starts at John Bryan State Park and goes through Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve. Hikers can learn about some of the unique geologic features as well as the cultural history of this site. Guided groups will leave at 10 minute intervals from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11, starting at John Bryan State Park, located on State Route 370, two miles east of Yellow Springs. Hot beans and cornbread will be available for a donation at the half-way point at Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve’s nature center. This event will take place regardless of the weather so warm clothing and sturdy shoes are recommended. For questions regarding this event, contact the preserve manager at 937-537-6173 or the park manager at 614-949-7998.
Birding Caravan at Shawnee State Park – Join Dave Riepenhoff on Saturday, Feb. 11, at Shawnee State Park for a journey around the park, forest and river bottoms in search of ducks, geese, eagles, hawks and anything else that’s moving. Meet at the Shawnee Lodge lobby at 9 a.m., the event will last until noon. For more information, call 740-858-6652.
I Heart Nature Hike at Lake Hope State Park – Enjoy some fresh air with the naturalist and fall in love with the 1.5-mile Olds Hollow Trail on Saturday, Feb. 11. Meet at the Zaleski Backpack Trail parking area at 10 a.m., event lasts until noon. For more information, call 740-596-3030.
Winter Hike at Burr Oak State Park – Come out to Burr Oak State Park on Saturday, Feb. 11, for the annual winter hike. No matter what a person’s hiking ability is, we have something for everyone. Lengths vary from 1, 3, 5 and 8 miles. The event starts at 10 a.m. and lasts until 2 p.m. Bean soup and cornbread will be served in the lodge following the hike. For more information, call 740-767-3570.
Sweethearts Hike at Hocking Hills State Park – Meet at the Ash Cave parking lot on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 5 p.m. Take your sweetheart for a romantic stroll to Ash Cave in the soft light of dusk. Afterward, enjoy a cozy fire and refreshments, available from 5-7 p.m. For more information, call 740-385-6842.
Sweetheart Stroll at Mohican State Park – Meet at the Mohican State Park Lodge lobby on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 7 p.m. Bring your sweetheart for a romantic stroll through the Mohican Forest in the light of luminaries. The Gazebo Trail is on the Mohican lodge grounds. It leads through beautiful old growth trees to the gazebo and a beautiful view of Pleasant Hill Lake. Afterward, enjoy a cozy fire, marshmallows and refreshments until 9 p.m. For more information, call 419-994-5125.
Snakes of Ohio at Mohican State Park – Join us on Sunday, Feb. 12, and Sunday, Feb. 26, from 10-11 a.m. at the Mohican Lodge for a closer look at snakes. Learn why these reptiles are so amazing. For more information, call 419-994-5125.
To learn more about family-friendly events at Ohio State Parks, go to parks.ohiodnr.gov/calendar.
Getting outdoors is an ideal way to relieve stress and boost mood levels. The new Explore Ohio initiative is aimed at encouraging people to exercise outdoors and become healthier in the process. Participants can track their miles, share their photos and create friends groups on the Explore Ohio website at ExploreOh.com. Whether people are running, hiking, biking, climbing, walking or paddling, Ohioans can keep track of their progress at ExploreOh.com and share their adventures on social media using #ExploreOhio.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.