Recently ranked fourth-best in the nation for parks, Greater Cincinnati is home to an abundance of beautiful green spaces, nature preserves, parks, and trails—and each year Green Umbrella encourages everyone to get outside and choose from more than 100 free, family-friendly activities during Great Outdoor Weekend. Now in its 19th year, the two-day event will take place September 24 and 25 at locations across Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky, and Southeast Indiana.
“Every year we try to expand the event to reach more communities and increase participation across all 10 counties in our region with a wide variety of activities for people of all ages and backgrounds,” says Green Umbrella Event Manager Charlie Gonzalez. “The goal is to get tens of thousands of residents outside to celebrate nature and learn about all the great organizations that host outdoor programs throughout the year.” Here are some highlights from the list of more than 100 activities to choose from.
Family Walk Up the Exciting Howard Creek
September 25, 10 a.m–1 p.m.
Join Cincinnati Wildflower Preservation Society for a family-friendly walk up the beautiful Howard Creek. As you wade through this shallow and clean creek, you’ll observe wildlife like birds, butterflies, crayfish, bugs, tadpoles, and more. Nets will be provided for kids and expert guides will help identify what everyone finds.
Orchard Installation at Taft Elementary
September 24, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
Help the Common Orchard Project install a new community orchard at Taft Elementary and tour the orchard that was planted last year at Mt. Auburn Preparatory Academy. Attendees will gain skills and knowledge around permaculture principles, fruit trees, plasticulture, companion planting, passive irrigation, and community engagement. Playgrounds are available for children during the event and pizza will be provided for lunch.
Run the Riffles with Mill Creek Alliance
September 24, 10 a.m.–10 p.m.
Mill Creek Alliance has a full day of activities planned at Salway Park on Saturday, including hikes, paddles, and a dance class. Seasoned guides from the Mill Creek Yacht Club will provide everything you need to join them on a mini urban stream paddle adventure (registration required). There are also opportunities to explore the stream banks, document plants and animals, and use citizen science tools to assess water quality. And after the sun goes down, you can venture on a “Space Walk” to explore our solar system in an immersive visual art installation.
Rowboats, Fishing, Golf, Urban Farming, and More with Great Parks of Hamilton County
September 24 & 25
Entry to all parks managed by Great Parks of Hamilton County will be free throughout the weekend and Great Parks is hosting a wide range of activities at many locations. Among the offerings: learn about local bird species and how to monitor and protect them (Sharon Woods, September 24 at 9 a.m.), take a 10 minute golf lesson (Miami Whitewater Forest, September 24 at 10 a.m.), learn how to fish (Lake Isabella, September 25 at 1 p.m.), or take advantage of free rowboat rentals (Winton Woods, September 25, all day).
Monarch Tagging and Butterfly Hike with MetroParks of Butler County
September 25, 12 p.m.–2 p.m.
It’s butterfly season and MetroParks invites you on a butterfly hike at Forest Run MetroPark. Catch, identify, and release as many butterfly species as you can, and help tag monarch butterflies with unique stickers at their shelter for Monarch Watch research. MetroParks is also hosting a birding hike (September 24 at 8 a.m.), wildflower hike (September 24 at 10:30 a.m.), and hands-on activities on a historic farmstead (September 25 at 2 p.m.).
Visit the Great Outdoor Weekend website for the full schedule
Take a look at the 100+ activities and start planning your weekend. Find your adventure at www.greatoutdoorweekend.org!