Research has shown many people have developed their love for the natural world through positive outdoor experiences they had as children. There are a lot of fun family activities that can bring you closer to nature. Here are but a few.

Join close to a million people around the world through an international game of hide and seek called Geocaching. Participants involved in geocaching hide and find “geocaches.”

Geocaches are usually a waterproof container with small treasures of information and items. Cachers use global position system (GPS) technology to share the location of the geocache online. If you go to geocaching.com and type in your postal code you can find caches in your area. I used the Google map function and found hundreds of geocaches waiting to be discovered in metro Halifax.

 

You can click on the print description to get the latitude and longitude of the location or download co-ordinates directly to a device that has GPS. Many local parks like Hemlock Ravine and watershed areas have geocaches for you to find as you hike through natural areas.

The beauty of living in the metro area is that you can explore on land and sea. From the Dartmouth side of the harbour, McNabs Island is minutes away. The McNabs Island Ferry runs from Fisherman’s Cove in Eastern Passage. From the Halifax side there are also private charters.

Once you are on the island there is a lot to see. Some small patches of older maple, beech and spruce remain along with native and non-native plants placed by early European settlers. Birds abound along with other small mammals. History is readily observed from Mi’kmaq shell piles to English military forts. Camping is allowed on certain sections of the Island with permission from the Department of Natural Resources.

For more in-depth information on the island and boat charter information visit the Friends of McNabs Island Society website.

If you want to paddle on the Northwest Arm during summer weekends, HRM’s St. Mary’s Boat Club rents canoes for $8 an hour per canoe, including safety equipment.

Lastly, I have to mention a personal favourite of mine -- riding inner tubes down the Gaspereau River near Wolfville.