As if the onsite aviary center and immaculately-kept trail system weren’t generous enough already, the rangers at Radnor Lake State Park offer a free canoe tour series every summer to educate visitors on the natural and civic aspects of the park. From Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day weekend each year, canoe floats take place three or four times per week, giving guests a chance to learn all they can about the park’s past, present and future, with particular attention paid to the wildlife encountered along the way.
What Makes It Great
Since private boats aren’t permitted on Radnor Lake and guided floats aren’t available from early September through late May because of waterfowl migration and wildlife impact, this series is a rare chance to get on the water and learn firsthand about the natural aspects of the park and its evolution as a public space.
Most of the floats take place around sunrise and sunset to beat the heat and increase the chances of seeing more fauna. And of that, there’s plenty: from herons, owls and waterfowl to mink, otter and a host of amphibians and reptiles, the area’s inhabitants are as abundant as the array of wildflowers, trees, vines, and other plant species found in the park. Life jackets are included.
Once you’re off the lake, stop by the Barbara J. Mapp Aviary Education Center. There are two phases of development, including a boardwalk and several bird habitat areas. There are also several hiking trails at the park to stretch your legs after a couple hours in the canoe.
Who is Going to Love It
Anyone with a thirst for knowledge about the animals of Middle Tennessee and the history (not to mention the future) of one of the Nashville area’s most precious natural preserves will enjoy this special summertime experience. You won’t exactly get a workout in, but this calm paddle is perfect for anyone who wants a unique opportunity to catch a glimpse of the wildlife at the park.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From Nashville, take I-65 to exit 78A; continue until you reach Franklin Pike and turn left. Take a right on Tyne Boulevard, a left on Granny White Pike and a left onto Otter Road, which leads into Radnor Lake State Natural Area. Follow signs for parking.