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Reedy Creek Nature Preserve trail

Reedy Creek Nature Preserve has 10 miles of trails

Reedy Creek Nature Center and Mallard Creek Recreation Center will offer several entertaining and educational activities throughout December for our children and families.

Among the programs are ornament making, winter crafts and hikes at Reedy Creek; How to Catch and Elf (and maybe meet Santa!) at Mallard Creek; and daylong programs for children 6-11 while school is out at Mallard Creek.

Many events are free; some require you to register. Some require parents to accompany children. Read on for details and registration links.

Don’t delay! Many programs fill up quickly!

About Mallard Creek Recreation Center

The center, located at 2530 Johnston Oehler Road, offers a variety of programs for children, youth and adults including youth sports leagues, arts programs and preschool programs.

The 20,000-square-foot facility has a full-size gym, computer lab, fitness center, indoor playroom, shower facilities and multi-purpose room.

  • Address: 2530 Johnston Oehler Road. Directions
  • Hours: Open daily this month except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
  • Phone: 980-314-1121
  • Website

About Reedy Creek Nature Preserve, Park and Nature Center

Reedy Creek Nature Preserve and Park protect 927 acres of natural, forested habitat. More than 10 miles of hiking trails give visitors the opportunity to explore a variety of terrains, while enjoying scenic views of small lakes, forests, fields, streams, and wildlife.

The nature center offers exhibits, live animals, a small gift shop, trail maps, classroom and restrooms.

Park staff also offer a range of programs from fitness, hikes and yoga to nature-based crafts and weekly children’s programs. Most are free or low cost; many have age requirements; check links to see if registration is required.

  • Address: 2900 Rocky River Road, about a mile east of East W.T. Harris Blvd. Directions
  • Hours: Open daily; Closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
  • Phone: 980-314-1119
  • Website

Here is a sampling of seasonal activities

Woodland Ornaments – 10 am-noon Dec. 7 at Reedy Creek Nature Center. Ages 2 and up. Reedy Creek Nature Preserve is home to many critters! Celebrate them by making a wood cookie ornament! Each participant will have the opportunity to paint an animal and attach it to a wood cookie that has the Reedy Creek Logo on the back. You then get to take home a cute Reedy Creek ornament to decorate your tree or just hang it in a window! Free. Drop-In to the Nature Center anytime between 10 am-noon.

Full Moon Hike – 6-7:30 pm Dec. 12 at Reedy Creek Nature Center. All ages. Immerse yourself in the magic of a Full Moon in the Nature Preserve. We will open ourselves to this energy as we explore the trails after hours. All ages welcome but must be able to walk up to 2 miles on uneven terrain. Free. Registration.

Enchanted Forest Bash – 10-11:30 and 2-2:30 Dec. 14 at Reedy Creek Nature Center. All ages. The winter wind whips around your neck as you take a stroll through the forest listening closely for anything that stirs. As the walk is coming to an end, your mind wonders to the thought of the hot chocolate that will warm you up as you create an ornament, handmade soaps and decorations as a family to celebrate the holiday season. Parents are required to stay with children. Cost: $6. Registration required: Morning session. Afternoon session.

Winter Wonderland Hike – 2-3:15 pm Dec. 15 at Reedy Creek Nature Center. Ages 7 and up. The forest is all quiet, not a peep is to be heard, except for the naturalists roaming about. Discover what lies on the trails, be it tracks in the sand, birds or the trees, or busy insects scurrying about. Walk the trails, take it all in and be one with nature on this beautiful winter afternoon. Free. Registration

Little Tykes Farm Adventures – 10-11 am Dec. 18 at Mallard Creek. Ages 2-5. This is a monthly agricultural adventure for young children and parents (parental participation is required). December’s class features poinsettias and a book time, “Zetta the Poinsettia.” Cost: $4. Details and registration (required)

How to Catch an Elf – 10-11 am Dec. 20 at Mallard Creek. Ages 2-6. There appear to be sneaky elves causing mischief at the center by moving decorations, eating candy cames, you name it! Children will help track down the little merry makers, plus enjoy a book, make a craft and eat a yummy snack. The big elf himself (Santa) may even make an appearance. Parental participation is required. Cost: $5. Details and registration (required)

Wreathed in Holiday Cheer – 2-3 pm Dec. 21 at Reedy Creek Nature Center. Ages 5 and up. Happy 1st Day of Winter! Gather in the warmth of family and holiday cheer by making a natural wreath or garland to take home. We will use simple techniques like tying, braiding, weaving, and twisting. Bring extra natural materials to swap and share! Free. Registration

School is out, Fun is in (daylong recreation programs) – 7:30 am-5:30 pm Dec. 23, 27, 30 and Jan. 2-3 at Mallard Creek. Ages 6-11. This out of school series offers a variety of activities on Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools out-of-school days to keep children moving and engaged. Activities include games, exercise, social time, sports, and arts & crafts. Cost: $20 per day. Children need to bring lunch and two snacks. Separate registration is required for each day. Call the center for more details. Registration link for Dec. 23.

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