Review of Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve Family Campout in Goshen, KY

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 photo IMG_3156_zps36134818.jpgLast month, my family had the awesome opportunity to participate in the first ever overnight Family Campout at Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve. For those of you who aren’t familiar with CMNP, it’s a fabulous place to explore the great outdoors with your family. The staff there is wonderful and the grounds are lovingly maintained. My family loves it there!

The overnight campout was the brainchild of Charon Morales, a CMNP volunteer, who made the wise decision to “volunteer” her very knowledgeable husband, Doug to organize the event. The basic idea was to provide a safe, simple camping opportunity for kids (and parents) who may not have a lot of camping experience. This fit my family perfectly. My husband and I had only one or two camping experiences each as children, and our son (8) and daughter (4) had never been. The event was limited to 15 families and it sold out. 

 photo IMG_3153_zps19517f77.jpgWe arrived around 3 PM on a Saturday night. We checked in and paid the fee, which included food and entertainment and was very reasonable. Then we let the kids choose a spot in the designated area for pitching our tent. After getting set up, we had a little free time to explore before joining the group around the fire pit. At the pit, we learned multiple ways to make a campfire and then we also prepared our dinner and cooked it over the fire. Each meal was sealed in a foil packet, which allowed for full customization. There were even vegetarian options available. After eating and cleaning up, we had the opportunity to participate in the “Creatures of the Night” program that CMNP was hosting for the evening. We learned about bats and owls, and took a moonlit stroll through the woods. It was neat to have the opportunity to explore the nature preserve after dark when it is typically closed to the public. 

 photo IMG_3160_zps69526a15.jpgAfter the Night program, we met back at the campfire to sing songs and have dessert. We all stayed up pretty late enjoying the treats and the cool evening air. My family finally went to our tent around 11 PM to settle in for the night. My biggest fear about camping was getting my kids to settle down and go to sleep for the night in such close quarters. I was pleasantly surprised. The kids were so tired that they fell asleep rather quickly. In fact, my daughter said that cuddling up in her sleeping bag was one of her favorite parts of the experience! 

In the morning, each family woke up on their own, and we met up at the fire pit for a wonderful pancake breakfast. The younger children ran around and played while the older kids and parents packed up the tents and other gear. My family chose to stay a little longer to explore some of the trails. 

The Family Campout at Creasey Mahan exceeded our expectations and made for a very positive “first” camping experience. I am pleased to share that they are planning another campout for the spring. For more information, watch for an announcement on the website, www.creaseymahannaturepreserve.org and/or sign up to receive their e-newsletter. 

By guest contributor: Brandy

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