Four New Storybook Trails Await Ohio State Park Visitors

The program uses oversize book panels and activities to get kids engaged in reading while exploring nature at 10 different sites.

Dana Randall
First Lady Fran DeWine (pictured in the blue coat) participates in a ribbon cutting at Findley State Park’s Storybook Trail.

Summer road trip season is almost here, and Ohio’s state parks are high on many families’ to-do lists. Now, kids can combine literacy with the great outdoors at 10 Storybook Trails across the state.

Since May 7, Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine and Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Mary Mertz have launched four new Storybook Trails at parks across the Buckeye State: Great Seal State Park in Chillicothe, Sycamore State Park in Brookville, Findley State Park in Wellington and Burr Oak State Park in Glouster.

“Ohio’s Storybook Trails bring families together for lifelong memories of fun and active learning in the great outdoors,” DeWine said in the announcement. “We’re excited to add more trails at parks around the state so even more Ohioans can discover the joy of reading.”

The Storybook Trails program was launched in 2019, according to the state. Spearheaded by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, in conjunction with the Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, the goal is to highlight the importance of literacy and healthy living by connecting children to nature through some of their favorite stories. Each Storybook Trail spans a half-mile and features 15 to 20 kid-sized panels with children’s book pages and an accompanying activity.

Storybook Trails are located at these state parks: Alum Creek, Burr Oak, Dillon, Findley, Great Seal, John Bryan, Mary Jane Thurston, Maumee Bay, Sycamore and Wingfoot Lake.

For a complete map of ODNR’s Storybook Trails across the state, plus similar trails at local parks and library districts, go to ohiodnr.gov.

Learn more about some of the trails, and find more kid-friendly activities at their host parks, in this Columbus Parent story.

A shorter version of this story appears in “Parent Pulse” in the Summer 2021 issue of Columbus Parent.