Thursday, June 7, 2012

Review: Annie Louise Wilkerson, MD Nature Preserve in Raleigh

This family {myself in particular} really enjoys getting out and doing things on the weekend. We try to experience everything that we can - mostly free festivals, inexpensive family outings, and whatever else we can find that entertains us as well as Valentino. I'm going to incorporate a few "reviews" of things that we do.

This past weekend the weather was absolutely, positively GORGEOUS. No humidity, slight breeze, mid-70s. Simply amazing for early June in NC {I told my co-workers that it compared to a nice July day in Buffalo, NY - the only nice thing about B'lo}. On our bike rides, we've passed by Wilkerson Nature Preserve many times, and in keeping with our vow to be healthy and teach healthy behavior to our son, we thought Saturday would be a good day to check it out and take a hike. We had a GREAT time! Valentino loves hiking, and the amenities at this park are perfect for kids!

First, we popped our heads into the Welcome Center to grab a map. As Vic grabbed one and got the low-down on the best trail to take, Valentino and I perused the bookshelves that were full of "nature" items perfect for a kid to explore - molds of animal prints/teeth/eggs/poop, fossils, books, and diagrams. Then, Marty {who, as it turns out, is the manager of the park} informed us that they had trail packs that we can check out. The kid-sized trail packs were donated by REI and contained a bug box, magnifying glass, compass, maps, guides, a journal, and binoculars, and Marty also had a large net that we could use. Valentino's eyes were huge as he was being handed all this stuff - he couldn't wait to get going!

Valentino modeling his pack and net
I'm a sucker for little kids in backpacks!
After applying copious amounts of bug spray {there were "watch for ticks" signs everywhere}, we took off on the "Hidden Rocks" trail. It took us through the woods, past some huge boulders:

Vic and Valentino on top of the "Hidden Rocks"
In all, the hike was just about 1.5 miles, which was plenty for Valentino. I highly recommend long pants - we pulled several ticks off our legs {thankfully, none had latched on} - or lots of bug spray w/DEET and vigilant awareness of what's on your legs.

Ranger Valentino, scoping out the route
We will definitely be returning to the park for future hikes! The easy terrain, relatively "short" paths, and amenities from the Welcome Center make this an absolute must-do for any family who enjoys the outdoors! I can't recommend this park enough!

COST: Free

BRING: Bug spray, water, snacks/picnic {there's a picnic shelter}, camera, kite if it's windy {although they have some to borrow as well}, well-behaved dog
Annie Louise Wilkerson, MD Nature Preserve is located at 11408 Raven Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC 27614

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