These days it's not always easy finding a place to play outside away from home with the kids. When I was growing up, me and my friends would bicycle to the playground and play all day.

I know that times have changed and if my kids wanted to go to the playground, I felt like I had to be there with them. Even though I knew it was a safe place and they had a cell phone.

That is why I'm thrilled to hear about the newest thing happening at the Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park, it's called Nature Play stations. It's your chance to connect with nature while having fun in an active environment.

Nature Play is based on real nature that gives everyone the chance to play outdoors in a safe place. It's a chance for your kids to climb trees, collect leaves and rocks, dig in the dirt for buried treasure, splash in a creek and more.

Here's an added bonus: Nature play areas have been found to reduce symptoms of attention deficit and depression as the kids will use their imaginations and play with others in the same area.

Stations at the zoo include:

Nature Post: An activity station that includes a sand box, tic-tac-toe, arts and crafts and a vegetable/herb garden.

Stream Table: Learn about erosion and how water affects land.

Chalk Art:  Draw a picture on one of the flower chalkboards.

Eagle’s Nest: This is a larger than life eagle's nest that is wheelchair accessible and is fun for everyone.

Nature Loom: You can weave natural materials like sticks, flowers, branches, leaves and more.

So if the kids are bored indoors with nothing to do then this is the answers. Who knows, maybe Tara and I will see you there sometime.

The Binghamton Zoo is at 60 Morgan Road in Binghamton and is open everyday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the zoo closing at 5 p.m. Go here to see other events happening at the zoo this summer.

[via Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park]