Beautiful weather, fresh air, and colorful blossoms make Spring a perfect time to explore nature with (or without) the kids. With a convenient location and spectacular views, Myrtle Hill Cemetery offers more than just history. There are over 35 different species of trees located throughout the hill. In 2018, Georgia Urban Forest Council recognized the trees at Myrtle Hill and placed them on their Landmark and Historic Tree Register. Rome offers a free tree tour map to help you find them.
One beautiful Spring day, I decided to take my 6 year old and 4 year old to “do nature” -their words. They grabbed the coordinating Nature Bags my crafty mother-in-law made for them, and we headed on the short drive downtown.
Here are some tips from our adventure:
Bring a printed copy of the map if possible, water and good shoes (this is more of an uphill hike rather than a walk). My kids got a kick out of taking “notes” in a notebook, so a notebook is optional.
Free public parking is available on the corner of Broad St. and Branham Ave. Parking is also available just further down the road (Branham Ave) at the Mausoleum.
Note that the “map” is more of a vague guide. The cemetery is a big hill, and I wasn’t quite sure which level any particular tree would be found. Rather than searching for specific trees, it was more fun to identify the trees with the map key as we passed each marked tree.
Prior to searching the trees, read through the types of tree species on the map and become familiar with families (Oak, Elm, Cedar, Hickory). If you are trying to make this educational for your children, discuss which varieties you may already be able to recognize, or what the distinguishing features might be.
At the cemetery, search for the small metal tags nailed to each tree trunk. Some had names, others just had numbers.
Allow your children to explore the trees noting the difference in size, bark, leaves, and other distinguishing features.
They could even take notes!
Notice the beautiful monuments and headstones
Take time to enjoy the view from the top. I’ve heard Myrtle Hill is the best spot in town to view a sunrise or sunset.
Don’t miss the Meditation Garden
And finally, just give your kids some time to explore, get energy out, and enjoy being in the fresh air!