Getting cabin fever? You can maintain your social distance and get some fresh air by taking advantage of the greatest show on Earth: the one nature provides.
So take advantage of the more than 10,000 acres of Metroparks in the Toledo area where you can hike, bike, and enjoy the scenery and native wildflowers.
What’s a Wildflower?
For some, the word “wildflower” brings up images of unkempt gardens and ragged roadside vegetation. But real wildflowers are nature’s way of beautifying gardens and landscapes. In Lucas County, you’ll see native blooms including bird’s foot violet, coneflower, wild columbine, New Jersey tea, butterflyweed, and Ohio spiderwort. While walking through gardens and fields, you may also spot some New England asters, milkweed, and many varieties of iris. Depending on weather and species, Ohio’s wildflowers bloom at different times of the year.
Toledo’s Nature Walks
There’s no shortage of places to enjoy a wildflower nature walk in and around Toledo.
Wildwood Preserve is near the Ottawa River and features many native plants, flowers, and wildlife. The preserve has an expansive prairie of tall grass and trail systems that leads to various terrains.
The 60-acre Toledo Botanical Gardens located on Elmer Drive are full of native wildflowers and other plants. Wooded forests, fountains, sculptures and walking trails are a great way to spend a few hours. The park is free and open to the public.
One of the largest parks in Toledo is Oaks Opening Preserve. Along with walking paths, a playground, picnic areas, and horseback riding trails, you’ll find many of Ohio’s wildflowers blooming in April through early fall. One of them is the American lotus — thought to be the biggest wildflower in the Buckeye State. It grows up to 10 inches across while foliage expands up to 3 feet. American lotus blooms from July to September.
Swan Creek Preserve is located in southern Toledo. It runs 441 acres with another 154 acres along the Swan Creek corridor. The park has wildlife feeding stations, a swinging bridge, scenic overlooks, and blooming wildflowers during the season.
More Parks in and Near Toledo
Wildflowers grow in fields and on private properties, but the best places to enjoy them are public parks.
- Bend View, on South River Road. Along with adjacent Providence and Farnsworth acres, hiking trails give you a spectacular view of the 90-degree bend in the Maumee River.
- Secor Metropark on Central Avenue in Berkey, Ohio proudly shows off low wetlands, tall trees, wildflower meadows, prairies, and tall grasses.
- Howard Marsh Metropark on Howard Road in Curtice, Ohio is in the region around Toledo that includes Magee Marsh, Maumee Bay State Park, and the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. Along with wildflowers, warblers, and wading birds, you may be lucky enough to see an eagle fly! May is a good month to see nesting species during spring’s migration.
- Middlegrounds on Ottawa Street in Toledo, with serene views of the Maumee River, is an urban, 28-acre green space with walking and bike paths.
- Side Cut Metropark on River Road in Maumee is a haven for activity and natural beauty. The Maumee River splits in a way that runs into the main channel. With flora, fauna, wildlife feeding stations, and a playground area to keep the kids entertained, you’re sure to have a lovely day at Side Cut.
Lakes, bays, and ponds near Lake Erie are a rich draw for wading birds and wildlife attracted to water. The colors lure butterflies, bees, songbirds, and people who just want to stop and appreciate Toledo’s wildflowers.
Dominic Wojcik is a man with twin passions, for fitness and the outdoors. He has been writing about both for two decades.