Metro Parks Planning & Design Project Coordinator
Flowers are blooming, animals are moving and Metro Parks is gearing up for an exciting summer. Last year we hosted the 2020 Explorer’s Challenge. Eager explorers climbed ridges, explored trails and paddled through rivers and creeks. Participants had so much fun that we’re bringing the Explorer’s Challenge back for 2021!
We’re hosting six new challenges this year. The Wildlife Wanderer Challenge will lead visitors through our designated state nature preserves and nature trails and participants can uncover Central Ohio’s ancient history with the History Hunter Challenge. We’ve even included a challenge for equestrians this year – the Bridle Trail Bounder, a 22-mile tour of all Metro Parks’ bridle trails – and brought back crowd favorites like the Pet Trail Prowler and River Rambler Challenges.
Our goal is to help park visitors experience Metro Parks like never before. With that in mind, we’re teaming up with our excellent program staff to host an After-Dark Adventurer Challenge so visitors can see the parks in a whole new light. Be on the lookout for late-night or after-dark programs such as late-night climbs at Scioto Audubon, full moon walks at Glacier Ridge, bat and owl programs across the district, night floats, stargazing and even Yappy Hour with your pup. The best way to learn about programs is to visit parks Facebook pages and join the email listserv for your favorite parks. New programs are published all the time.
We have a special challenge for park visitors who just can’t get enough – the Thru-Hiker Challenge is coming back too! To earn the Thru-Hiker achievement, complete all of the hiking-related challenges. This year, that means completing the After-Dark Adventurer, History Hunter, Pet Trail Prowler and Wildlife Wanderer Challenges. If you want to go the extra mile and complete the River Rambler and Bridle Trail Bounder Challenges too, we won’t stop you! The first 100 participants to reach the Thru-Hiker achievement will receive a limited-edition patch and T-shirt.
Participants in all challenges can hike or paddle their way to a challenge-specific patch. Keep track of trails hiked and programs attended and validate them online when you’re ready, and we’ll send your rewards to you.
For more information about trails, challenges and rewards, please visit our 2021 Explorer’s Challenge webpage here. Challenge cards will be posted online May 1 and distributed to select parks on or around April 30. This 2021 Explorer’s Challenge will run from May 1 to September 30.
This year’s Explorer’s Challenge is going to be a blast!
4 thoughts on “Discover your Metro Parks with the 2021 Explorer’s Challenge”
Are you restricted to completing the trails listed for the pet trail prowler or can you complete the challenge by the miles listed using other metro park pet trails?
Good afternoon, and thank you for your question!
Since the challenge period is longer this year (May 1 – Sept 30), we are encouraging visitors to explore the trails specifically listed in each challenge, but if there are trails that are too far away or otherwise inaccessible, you are more than welcome to substitute another trail with a similar mile count! There are several other pet-friendly trails throughout the district that you can visit.
Have fun exploring!
I have completed three of the challenges – but am having trouble finding challenges for the After Dark Adventures.
A haven’t seen any “night” time adventures yet. A few evening – 5-6pm would these count?
Thanks for checking back in. Yes, if you’re having a hard time finding nighttime activities, you are more than welcome to count evening activities for your challenge! Naturalists and program staff update their program offerings every few weeks, too, so keep an eye out and have fun exploring the parks!
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