I love finding little bastions of nature in the middle of a city.
Like the Grange Audubon Center downtown – a real treasure, if you haven’t been.
But my latest favorite find of this type is the Glen Echo Ravine bird tunnel in Clintonville.
I’ve written before about the fact that sometimes I can’t get any takers when I offer up a fun activity like a nature hike or other outdoor adventure.
But this is our last week before school starts. Z and I have been together every single day, just about every waking moment (barring a few errands for me or playdates for her here and there), for six months. I wanted to make this week memorable for both of us, so I came up with ideas for various activities we can do together.
Some, she’s up for: going to the mall or visiting the petstore to hold the animals.
Others, she gave a hard pass: nature walks and outdoor adventures.
Yesterday was so beautiful outside that I couldn’t bear to let her spend the day indoors looking at screens. So, I pulled the mom card: I begged that she go with me on a short outing to see the bird tunnel at Glen Echo Park in Clintonville.
Driving to Glen Echo Park wasn’t hard – Waze knew the way and we found parking immediately right near the entrance to the ravine. I let DJ Z pick the music all the way there, so we listened to good tunes and all was well.
Once we got there, I had a general idea of where we were going: down the ramp into the ravine. From there, I wasn’t sure exactly where to find the famous bird tunnel. At this point, my young companion voiced some concerns that I had brought her “all this way” only to get us lost. Note: we were never actually lost.
We followed the path down through the ravine and saw several other families creeking and enjoying nature. When a man and his friendly husky dog walked by us, I asked if he knew where the bird tunnel is. “Straight ahead! Can’t miss it,” he said, and then moments later we came upon it.
The bird tunnel is super cool. The sunlight coming through the leaves gives it gorgeous lighting. The paintings of the birds along both sides of the underpass are lovely, as is its somewhat hidden setting there in the wooded ravine. I would have enjoyed playing some songs on my phone to hear the tunnel’s famous echos. I would have also enjoyed trying some animal calls or even singing in the round with Z to hear how it sounded.
But I had promised a quick visit, so instead we just took a few photos, then headed back out and up to street level and the real world. It’s a short walk in total, and something that can easily be done with small (willing) children, or even a stroller. It seemed like every mom blogger I know had made the pilgrimage there so I’m glad we finally did too.
Glen Echo ravine and the bird tunnel were absolutely worth a visit. Somehow, it almost felt otherworldly down in the bird tunnel. I’m a big fan of this sort of experience. I’d love to go back sometime with my honey on a date day or evening – although something tells me I might not want to be down there after dark. It might get a bit creepy.
If you have any ideas for other cool nature experiences in urban areas, PLEASE let me know in the comments below or over on Facebook!