Before Spring turns to summer swelter, it is a great time to go outside and play. Plant the seed for a love of Mother Nature with an outdoor adventure to one of these Atlanta-area nature preserves. Whether it is wading through water, watching for wildlife, or simply climbing a tree—here’s the dirt on where they can have some garden-variety fun.


Dunwoody Nature Center
You’ll find this twenty-two acre preserve located just outside the Perimeter in Dunwoody, but it will feel like you are a million miles from the city center. Little nature lovers will enjoy splashing in Wildcat Creek and being on the lookout for spotting deer, bunnies, foxes, snakes, birds and bees in their natural habitat. Don’t miss their camps and classes, as well as their annual Butterfly Festival held each August.

Address: 5343 Roberts Dr., Dunwoody
Phone: 770-394-3322


Elachee Nature Science Center
Your pack of wild ones will love Elachee’s live animal room where they can get up-close-and-personal with snakes, spiders and other scary creatures. Enjoy exploring their thirteen miles of hiking trails where you might encounter native deer, rabbits, hawks, snakes and perhaps a great blue heron.

Address: 2125 Elachee Dr., Gainesville
Phone: 770-535-1976


Autrey Mill Nature Preserve & Heritage Center
With a tot-friendly two miles of nature trails and teepee replica, this 46-acre preserve is an active way to explore Atlanta’s ancestry. Make sure not to miss their annual Heritage Day each fall, when the center celebrates the area’s history and people with a family-friendly festival.

Address: 9770 Autrey Mill Rd., Johns Creek
Phone: 678-366-3511


Chattahoochee Nature Center
Nestled against the edge of the ‘Hooch, the CNC makes smart use of it’s bank-side location with popular canoe trips, night hikes and animal encounters. Tots will love their “Nature Exchange” program where they can trade in their treasures for other natural loot like shed skin and shells. Mark your calendar for their Flying Colors Butterfly Festival held each July.

Address: 9135 Willeo Rd., Roswell
Phone: 770-992-2055


The Atlanta Botanical Garden
From the Children’s Garden to the Canopy Walk, the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s thirty acres offer an easy-access, in-town oasis for exploration. The Garden provides a bumper crop of family-friendly programming throughout the year, but it is also just a great place to let little curiosities blossom.

Address: 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE
Phone: 404-876-5859

Photo courtesy of Chattahoochee Nature Center via Facebook, Dunwoody Nature Center via Facebook, Autrey Mill Nature Preserve and Elachee Nature Preserve