Wolcott Mill Metropark
Wolcott Mill Metropark (including the Wolcott Mill Farm Center) is one of my family's favorite weekend destinations. Although Wolcott is only fifteen minutes north of where we live, it feels like an entire world away. The historic mill here was built in the 1840s and the campus here manages to be both informative and evocative of that time long passed. The Farm Center features a public, working dairy farm as well as a motley crew of adorable resident animals, including a couple of well fed barnyard cats. I've never seen any place make animals accessible to young children in such a consistent and thoughtful way. The animals even "hand out candy" at Wolcott's annual Halloween festivities.
While the animals are adorable (and the on-site playground creative and well-maintained) our favorite activity at Wolcott is simply walking along the many well groomed trails. The northern branch of the Clinton River bisects the property, creating the perfect little wetland environment for hunting for frogs, crayfish and turtles. The mature trees form a perfect canopy overhead and the sounds of wind through all of those leaves is akin to the ocean washing ashore.