Chattahoochee River National Recreation Center // Atlanta, GA
There are so many places to enjoy being outside around Atlanta, GA. It is one of the things we love best about visiting Atlanta. (With our wild three, a daily outdoor adventure is a necessity.) The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Center offers a Jr. Ranger badge, a lovely riverside walk and plenty of things to spot along the way – right in Atlanta!
The park is free to use but you’ll need to pay the $5 parking fee. That fee is covered by any of the America the Beautiful passes. We just hung ours from the rear-view mirror and got on our way. (If you are military or have a 4th grader you are entitled to a free pass!)
Start your visit in the Chattahoochee River Visitors Center at Ford Island. There are a few exhibits that are very hands-on. Our kids loved the microscope (hooked up to a TV) with a variety of natural items to look at.
In the corner of the bookstore you can stamp the Jr. Ranger Passport Books and the Passport to the National Parks books. We also picked up our Jr. Ranger packets from the ranger. Then we headed out back to the picnic tables to complete the workbooks.
About half of the Jr. Ranger book is “busywork” like word searches and mazes. These are my kids’ favorites. We sat together on the benches, overlooking the river, read the instructions and completed the activities.
Then we set out on our nature hike. One of the activities is a Bingo Game for the river walk. The boys searched for each of the items on the scavenger hunt while we walked. There was also a nature journal page to draw or write their favorite animal, plant and item found on their walk.
There is a bit of a descent as you head down to the river. You can stop and see a few small waterfalls.
Once you are down the hill the path is quite level. All three boys were able to walk the path on their own. I had very limited worries about anyone ending up in the river.
While on our walk we saw plenty of people fishing and canoeing. The boys enjoyed waving and talking to all the people we came across. The fishermen were all happy to show us their daily catch.
We spent over an hour doing the walk at a leisurely pace and went just over 2 miles. Our walk ended in an open filed where the kids ran. There were also some picnic tables that were perfect for reviewing our packets.
Back at the Visitors Center the boys turned in their packets. Then they answered questions from the ranger about things they had discovered on their walk. The boys all took the oath and were awarded their badges. The ranger was nice enough to give the Little Little (2) a badge. He was ecstatic.
If you are already in Atlanta, GA. The Chattahoochee River is an easy outing. The boys love being decked out in their Jr. Ranger gear, all of which we found at e-parks and they received for various holidays and birthdays.
I have become obsessed with wearing my flip belt, particularly when I’m on these outings alone with the Littles. My flip belt keeps me hands free. My phone zips into the front pocket, there is a clasp for my keys and plenty of other little pockets to stash their pencils or other small things we might need. I no longer have a bag flipping over my head and I have two hands to help with creek crossings and lifts to see things.
I’m loving how we can do more of these walks without me having to carry anything or even any gear when we won’t be far from the car!
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