Cedars of Lebanon State Park is located in Lebanon, TN. It is about 30 miles from Nashville. This park has 3 Campground loops. We stayed in Campground 1 which has electric and water sites. They have lots of pull-thru sites that accommodate larger RV or travel trailers. This is a first-come, first-serve park. The showers are very clean and have lots of HOT water. The children said that they would rather shower in the bath house instead of our trailer. (This is not a common statement when traveling full time.) A plus to this park is their Laundry Room. It has 4 washers and 4 dryers. You could find me here several times during the week. They have a camp-store which sells firewood but not much more. We would have liked it if they had ice but there is a convenience store located right outside the park entrance. (This store stocks all you need when camping at fair prices.) During the summer months, the Rangers have programs that relate to the wildlife, and plant-life located in the park. We found ourselves at the Nature Center almost everyday learning about owls, watching a snake eat, talking about rocks and minerals, or enjoying a Jug Band. This park is a great place for children. Hannah said that the best thing about this state park was “going to the play set.” In addition, to several playgrounds, they have a ball field, tennis courts, swimming pool, butterfly garden, several hiking trails, and an awesome Nature Center. Overall, we give this park 5 stars. We were sad to leave after making friends with several Rangers and other people in the park.
Here is their website if you would like to find out more about Cedars of Lebanon State Park . Below are some of the highlights of our stay at this state park.
Ranger Tyler teaching our children how to make a whistle out of an acorn.
Hannah on a 100 inch hike
Ranger Tyler and Hannah sharing a moment talking in the Butterfly Garden.
Ranger Natalie talking to a group of children about things they can find in the dirt. Thanks, Ranger Natalie for reminding us that there is always something living under the dirt. Our nature walks will be more eventful because of you!!
One morning, Melissa and Sierra met Ranger Tyler at the Nature Center for a Bird Walk. They saw this Pileated Woodpecker and …
…this Scarlet Tanager. Afterwards, Melissa and Sierra were constantly bird watching during our stay. Melissa even showed me the male Scarlet Tanager which I had never seen.
After meeting Ranger Natalie for a program called “Insect Artistry” where she gave each child a Nature Journal and explained how important it was to draw or write down what we see, she showed us a Pupal Case of a moth and several other insects.
Sierra, Melissa, Andrew and I went caving in Jackson cave. I will never forget Andrew saying, “Sierra, quit this is my good shirt.” Andrew didn’t like the entire cave experience. He was certain Daddy would come looking for us because we were taking too long. He was right!! We were in the cave for almost 4 hours and Jeff asked Ranger Buddy to check on us. However, by the time Ranger Buddy suited up and yelled in the cave, we were on our way out. Once we were out of the cave, Ranger Buddy took us back to our campsite. Thanks, Ranger Buddy for making sure we were safe!
This is the dirtiest I have EVER been in my life. I loved every minute crawling, scooting, and walking through the cave.
The day we went into Jackson Cave, I didn’t take my camera. So, this is a picture of us all cleaned up sitting in front of the cave. If you go to Cedars of Lebanon, please check with the rangers before going in the cave. There is a river that runs through the cave and at its end is a large pool of water called a “sump”. If I had not talked to the Ranger before going in, I would have turned around before getting to the end of the cave. Plus, the water looks swallow in the sump but in reality it is deep. The top of the cave reflects on the water and makes you think it is swallow. One of the neat things about this cave is that it has a waterfall in it. (It is a small one but glorious.) We meant to ask why this cave was named Jackson Cave but forgot to ask. Oh well, we will just have to go back for another visit to find out.
Ranger Jen gave us a presentation on Rocks and Minerals. She explained the difference between Sedimentary, Metamorphic, and Igneous rocks. Sierra thought the glow-in-the-dark rock was awesome. Now, she wants a black light; so that, we can view our rocks under it to see if they GLOW! Thanks, Ranger Jen we will think of you as we rock hunt all across this country.
We visited the playground daily if not twice a day.
One Sunday afternoon, we went to the Nature Center to watch Ranger Natalie feed their pet King Snake, Elvis. The mice that Elvis eats are dead prior to Elvis making it his dinner. Elvis eats 2 mice each Sunday.
One day, Ranger Natalie and our family went in search of the Geo-cache “Bug Juice in a Mossy Field.” I know now why some park Rangers do NOT like Geo-caching. This cache was OFF trail and if we didn’t have a Ranger we could have gotten hurt, or crushed vegetation that was important to the environment. We searched and searched for this “old” Geo-cache before finally admitting defeat. Ranger Natalie when or if you find it please let us know. If you head out to Cedars of Lebanon, don’t waste your time looking for this cache.
On July 2nd, Ranger Tyler gave a presentation called “Creatures of the Night”. During the presentation, he talked about several night creatures and we listened to the sounds of night birds; so that, we could identify them while we were camping. During the presentation, we were able to see several creatures and creature parts like the Great Horned Owl wings. (These wings came from an owl that was already dead on the side of the road.) After listening to Ranger Tyler, I will never look at a dead tree in the same way. I heard him say several times during this presentation and throughout our visit, that we need dead trees to provide food and habitat for birds, to decay and give the soil nutrients, and to be a food source for insects. I just thought it is a DEAD tree why not cut it down and plant a new one. Thanks, Ranger Tyler!
On July 4th, the girls and I met Ranger Jen at the Camp Store for tea. She shared with us about our country’s beginnings and facts about tea. We had a wonderful time sharing my favorite drink.
Sierra took this picture of the Tennessee Coneflower while on a walk with Andrew. Ranger Natalie led the, walk on the Cedar Glades trail. This is an easy half-mile trail located near the park office. I would love to know what the insect is that is on this flower in the top left corner. If you find out, email me and let me know.
During our walk on the Limestone Sinks trail, we found this insect. We do not know what it is but will hopefully find it in one of our field guides soon. We also found this…
Newt. Or at least, we think it is a Newt. It was orange with black spots. The Limestone Sinks trail is an easy half mile trail. If you go to the Camp Store before taking the hike, you can pick up a trail guide that explains different things you will see on the trail.
One afternoon, I took some of the children back to Jackson Cave just to look around and explore the entrance.
Sierra is inside Jackson Cave.
This is the entrance to Jackson Cave. There is a secret in Cedars of Lebanon State Park. If you are real nice to the Rangers maybe they will tell you. We know about it but didn’t have time to check it out. Let us know if you have the privilege. We will go back one day just to discover this little known secret.
Thanks to all the Rangers, Emily, and Kevin you made our stay at Cedars of Lebanon State Park a memorable visit that has changed the way we look at the world God created.