The weather is getting warmer and I fear that will lead to our state park visits becoming fewer and further between.  Who wants to be hiking in 90 degree weather, right?

Well…  Actually….  If McCormick’s Creek is any indication, summer hiking doesn’t seem too bad.

McCormick’s Creek is very forested, so the entirety of our hike was in the shade.  It was significantly more comfortable than I expected.

A little background on McCormick’s Creek State Park:  It is located in Spencer, IN, southwest of the city.  I live on the far east side so getting there required going all the way around Indy before even getting on the actual road to get there.  All said, it was about an hour and a half.  McCormick’s Creek is Indiana’s first state park, and it is beautiful.  There is so much to see and experience, and we will have to go back again soon because we didn’t have time for even half of it.  Here is what we did do:

First we visited the Nature Center.  Their nature center has been renovated recently and it includes several rooms, each focusing on a different aspect of the park.  The boys liked the rocks and fossils.

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The Nature Center also has a cool turtle habitat.  You can crawl underneath and look up to get a “turtle’s eye view.”

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And of course, what visit would be complete without a cardboard cutout?

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Right next to the exit of the Nature Center is a pamphlet for the “Nature Center Habitat Trail.”  Now you know how much I love these discovery trails.  I wish every park had one.  So of course we grabbed that up and ran out to the trail.  It is a very short trail that points out and explains the different things that make up the habitat here at the park.

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We took trail 7 down to the creek.  As usual, Little Man found the scariest cliff he could and decided to go stand on it.  He’s our daredevil.

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Aside from a couple of steep edges bordering the trail on the way down, it was a pretty tame trail.

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We got down to the water and followed trail 10 for a while, but mostly we just enjoyed the view.

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This is the perfect park to go enjoy nature.  Some parks we visit and we’re mostly there to get the fresh air and the exercise.  Sometimes I get focused on trying to experience every part of the park so I can write all about it.  But this day, we let the kids lead us.

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The kids don’t care about seeing every inch of a new park.  They care about having fun.  They care about learning how to skip rocks with their dad (like Big Boy), or showing off their skills at making rock paint (like Little Man).

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Through our experiences in homeschooling I am discovering that my children are teaching me much more than I could ever teach them.  Visiting McCormick’s Creek brought that realization very close to the surface for me.  We didn’t see the Wolf Cave Nature Preserve (the cave itself is closed right now anyway), we didn’t climb the fire tower, and we didn’t visit the Historic Peden farm site.  Those are all things I encourage you to do, by the way.  And I’ll go back some other time and do that stuff.  But for this day, we just played.  We allowed our kids the time they wanted to run around and have fun.  We created memories.  It was a good day.

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