Nature Field Trips in Middle Tennessee

Nature and natural history are a HUGE part of our homeschool experience and field trips!  I thought I would highlight a few of our favorite resources and areas for you to explore and plan for your children or groups!!!

1. Owl's Hill Nature Sanctuary
Brentwood, TN This nature preservation park hosts monthly hikes and other well planned activities!  They have an easy system for signing up with a scheduled event or you can contact them for a private group!

2. Radnor Lake
Brentwood, TN The main visitor's center has a wonderful exhibit to visit as a family and learn about the history of the lake and you can also set up field trips with their aviary center.  The ranger gives a great lesson on the various birds located at the park!

3. Montgomery Bell State Park
Nashville, TN This is a favorite State Park for the natural history of iron ore mining that took place in this area during the 1800s.  In fact, you can usually find large pieces of slag around the streams through the park!

4. Warner Parks
Nashville, TN The beautiful nature center has a full calendar of events for all ages! Homeschool classes are also offered for free registration!

5. Ellington Agricultural Center
Nashville, TN There are programs throughout the year and the agriculture museum is very interesting to learn about the native plants as well as the popular plants used for farming.  Several displays about the Mississippian Native Americans makes for a great natural history lesson!  There is also a great hiking trail with tree identification available!

6. Dyer Observatory
Nashville, TN The Dyer Observatory is one of the best places to visit for learning more about the planets and constellations.  The Adventure Science Center is also a wonderful resource to learn about the night sky!  Dyer Observatory schedules visits on their website.  You cannot just stop by - planning a visit is definitely worth it though!  There is a camera obscura dome used in solar eclipses as well as a wonderful nature area with a stone formation to show the solstice locations of the sunrise and sunset.  A large sundial is also a fun outdoor feature at the observatory!

7. Bowie Nature Center
Fairview, TN Just like Warner, Bowie parks have a wonderful homeschool program along with a full calendar of activities for all ages!  My children have learned so much through their education outreaches!

8. Henry Horton State Park
Chapel Hill, TN There are multiple hiking trails at this state park that we enjoy!  There are a lot of festivals in the spring and fall that are fun for all ages!  If you do choose a trail, our favorite is the Hickory Ridge Trail to see the beautiful rock formations and cedar glades that are unique to our area of Tennessee!

9. Barfield Nature Center
Murfreesboro, TN We love the hiking trails at Barfield especially in the spring with the wildflowers!  They host events and also allow for rental space if you are looking to provide your own programming!  Put the hummingbird festival on your calendar each year because it is a wonderful educational event!!! 

10. Middle Tennessee Museum of Natural History
Murfreesboro, TN A great field trip to learn about fossils and the rock cycle!  The exhibit with various gems and minerals is a wonderful display!  The owner gives a wonderful tour of the dinosaur displays and first hand stories of his work in a current archeological site in Colorado.  They occasionally host events but are very accommodating in setting up field trips for homeschool groups!

11. Stones River Battlefield
Murfreesboro, This is the closest National Park to Nashville, TN and a great resource for learning about the Civil War and Native American life and history!  You can check out their current schedule for programs, set up a field trip, or also become a Junior Ranger!  The Junior Ranger program is one of my kid's favorite activities to do when visiting a National Park!  (The other National Parks near us are Shiloh in West Tennessee and Mammoth Cave in Cave City, Kentucky.)

I may update this with a few more locations in the future!  I didn't list any of the smaller parks that we frequent for our own nature walks but hopefully this list will give you a good place to get started on your outdoor adventures in Middle Tennessee!


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