I’m fully switched back into mom mode now. The boys have been out of school for 4 weeks. Time flies during the summer, doesn’t it? I sure do wish the same was true about the school year. Anyway, this week the boys are in a nature camp across town and so we’re getting to do a lot of driving. It’s about an hour or more round trip so camp often feels like more work, instead of more down time, for me at least. The boys love it though and I think it’s a great experience for them, so the drive is worth it I suppose. When I got back home this morning, the town was working on the greenway close to our house so I decided to take Lucy for a walk at Founders Park off of Campbell Station Road in Farragut (west Knoxville). If you are looking for free things for kids to do in Knoxville, then you should check out this little urban nature hike without the inconvenience of having to drive to the Smoky Mountains.
Founders Park consists of 17 naturally wooded acres of land with a shallow creek running through it. There are two covered pavilions with grills, a paved walking trail which is very hilly and small (short) mulch trails that veer off the paved trail. There are plenty of park benches scattered throughout the park to enjoy nature’s views or to rest after your hilly climb.
There are also some flat open areas that are great for the little ones to run around or to set up a picnic lunch. A bathroom facility is located in the park and Campbell Station Library sits adjacent to the park, just in case you need to go into the air conditioning for a few minutes. Professional photographers love using Founders Park for family photos especially in the fall and for wedding and prom pictures.
We’ve been going to this park since the boys were tiny. They absolutely love it there and I love that it feels like we’re out in the middle of a forest instead of being in the middle of the city. We usually go to the library to get some new books and then head to the park for some adventures.
The boys love dip netting in the creek. I recommend using a butterfly net which has very small holes in it so that the little critters won’t be able to escape through the holes. Make sure you take a small bucket or Tupperware bowl to hold the critters until the dip netting has been completed. It’s important…according to my boys.
The boys often find pond skaters, crawdads, and many other things I can’t remember at the moment and the boys aren’t here for me to ask. Just take my word for it. There’s lots of things for them to catch! .
As you can see, dip netting isn’t just a summer activity. We’ve spent many fall breaks at Founders Park.
Lots of big boulders to climb and explore.
And some nice flat rocks jut out into the water so the kids don’t have to get wet. Yeah, right. I also have some ocean front property in Arizona I could sell you, too.
Take a towel and some extra clothes, too. They’ll probably need it by the end of your visit.
Sometimes you might find some fun logs to cross, too!
The boys had a lot of fun that day crossing back and forth, giggling at each other when someone lost their balance.
And there are some cool trees to perch in. Many folks bring hammocks and string them up beside the creek in a nice shady area and laze away the afternoon that way. I’m a little jealous of that. They obviously don’t have kids.
Flat areas are located close to both pavilions and are perfect for frisbee, soccer, football, or a good game of tag.
A few things to keep in mind when visiting Founders Park:
• You are in the middle of nature so expect to see wild animals and reptiles.
• Snakes usually live under or around the bridges and will come out to sun on the warm rocks near the bridges.
• I saw lots of poison ivy on the sides of the trail today. Remember leaves of three, let it be.
• Bug spray is important if you’re going to be walking on the trails or hanging out by the creek for any length of time. I’ve done without it before and it wasn’t a very pleasant experience.
• The rocks in the creek are very slippery and some are very sharp. I would recommend water shoes for smaller children.
• Take a lawn chair, a good book, and some snacks so you can sit back and relax while the kids play in the creek. I’ve done my fair share of dip netting, but I try to balance it out with some relaxing “me time”, too.
• The walking trail opens at 8:00 a.m. and closes at dusk. The back side of the park backs up against Village Green subdivision with houses in view. Be aware of your surroundings if you are walking alone just like you should at any other place.
• Bathrooms are maintained by the Town of Farragut and have always been clean when we’ve used them.
• The pavilions can be reserved for functions so they may not be available if you just show up instead of reserving in advance.
• The only downside of the Founders Park in my opinion is the close proximity to Campbell Station Road. You will be able to hear road noise even on the back side of the park, but overall, this is still a “must do” on our summer calendar.