Lloyd A. Stage Nature Center in Troy

Now that spring seems to have finally sprung, it’s time to get outdoors and explore again!  Although I’ve heard great things about the Lloyd A. Stage Nature Center in Troy, I’d never been.  So today my 3 year old and I met friends there to let the kids (and the moms!) stretch their legs.

The Nature Center building itself has enough to occupy little people for quite a while, with a dinosaur dig pit, a play area that has toys, puzzles, and touch stations, a toad tank, and a collection of stuffed (taxidermy) animals to look at.  The center offers classes and group tours, and there are special programs including summer day camps and the Junior Naturalist Club that you can register for online at www.stagenaturecenter.org. Be sure you check out the beautiful sunroom where you can find an amazing, live beehive exhibit.

When you’re ready to head outdoors, there are over 2 miles of trails to explore in the 100-acre preserve that wind through wetland, forest and meadow habitats.  The walking paths are suitable for jogging strollers, though you may come upon some muddy patches if it has been raining.  Our two 3-year-old adventurers had no problem navigating the boardwalks, gentle inclines, and had a blast climbing up and down the observation tower steps.  Be aware that the trails do run through some wetlands, and that there are no rails on the boardwalk edges.  There are a couple of bridges that cross the Rouge River, though it’s more of a brook in this area.

During our 90 minutes of hiking, we saw many Whitetail Deer, ducks, birds, squirrels, and even a small snake!  We all enjoyed our sunny time outside, and not only did we get fresh air and exercise, but had plenty of hands on learning opportunities. 

After hiking the kids played inside the Nature Center building and would have happily stayed longer if it weren’t lunchtime!  They also enjoyed climbing on the plastic “rock” formations in front of the building.  There are a bit high for brazen little ones, so they enjoyed that more than the mamas did, but they are perfect for slightly older kids (say 6+).  We all look forward to further explorations there again soon and it would be a great family day trip to get out and enjoy nature together without having to leave the suburbs!  As a side note, because the area is a natural wetland, mosquitos may be an issue in warmer weather, so bring bug spray during bug season.

Note that there are public restrooms available inside the Nature Center building, which is open Tuesday through Friday 9-3, and Saturday 10-4.  Call to verify hours during holidays as they may vary.  Trail hours are daily from dawn until dusk, and no pets, bikes, or running is allowed. The Stage Nature Center is located at 6685 Coolidge Hwy Troy, MI 48098 and the phone number is 248-688-9703

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