4 Restful Urban Parks | Midwest Living
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4 Restful Urban Parks

These parks in or near Omaha, Cleveland, Chicago and Milwaukee take you away from the concrete, drown out the city’s buzz and provide lush places to rejuvenate in minutes.
A boardwalk weaves through Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue, Nebraska, 10 minutes south of downtown Omaha.
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Morton Arboretum.
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Bellevue, Nebraska: Fontanelle Forest Nineteen miles of hiking trails snake through 100-year-old Fontenelle, 10 minutes south of downtown Omaha. An easy, mile-long boardwalk leads into the woods. Birding classes, naturalist-led hikes and seniors-only nature sessions are just some of the ways people can lose themselves in this 1,400-acre sanctuary of woods, prairie and wetland—if only for an hour. (402) 731-3140; fontenelleforest.org

Cleveland, Ohio: Rocky River Reservation Part of Cleveland Metroparks, this verdant sanctuary hugs the winding river and surprises with gorges that seem to come from a region far away. A 13-mile paved trail leads walkers and cyclists into the woods, and on rainy days, people admire the view from the visitors center’s rockers. (216) 635-3200; clevelandmetroparks.com

Lisle, Illinois: Morton Arboretum Ribbons of concrete expressways loop around this 1,700-acre oasis in Chicago’s western suburbs, yet just inside the front gate, the traffic’s whir fades away. Nature-lovers pay homage at a towering 250-year-old Millennium Oak, and families stroll through themed gardens, wide expanses of prairie and dense woodlands. Paved hiking and biking trails and a fun-for-all-ages maze make the time fly by. (630) 968-0074; mortonarb.org

Hales Corners, Wisconsin: Whitnall Park Slip into a bird blind to spy waterfowl on a pond 20 minutes southwest of Milwaukee, then take your lowered blood pressure down winding paths exploring 620 acres of bloom-filled prairie and wetlands. Perfectly positioned park benches let you admire deer that seem almost tame, and thousands of fragrant roses await in Boerner Botanical Gardens, set within Whitnall Park. (414) 257-6100; countyparks.com

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