Chaplin a special place

Kansas has a lot of well-known places for those who enjoy spending time outdoors.

Wednesday afternoon I was blessed to spend a few hours at one that’s lesser-known but obviously very, very special.

A monarch butterfly sits on tall thistle at the Chaplin Nature Center. The center offers access to 230 acres of varied habitats.

A monarch butterfly sits on tall thistle at the Chaplin Nature Center. The center offers access to 230 acres of varied habitats.

I’ll contend the Chaplin Nature Center is one of the best outdoors destinations within an hour of Wichita. It’s 230 acres of natural Kansas that’s open to the public for free.

Owned and funded by the Wichita Audubon Society, Chaplin contains sizable portions of tall grass prairie, upland timber, bottomland forest, a small stream and a long section of the Arkansas River.

Hiking trails totaling 4 1/2-miles make for ideal birding or pleasure walking for nature¬† lovers of any age.¬† There’s an education center and a lot of great programs scheduled through the year.

Sept. 25 is their annual Fall Nature Day and includes monarch butterfly tagging and a variety of educational programs for kids and adults.

Signs a few miles west of Arkansas City on Hwy. 166 lead the public to the center.

If you’ve never been,you need to go. Soon. It’s a special place.

And did I mention it’s FREE?