Explore: Innovation Hills in Rochester Hills
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Dec. 5, 2020)
Rochester Hills, MI – Before going to check out Innovation Hills Park in Rochester Hills, I’d already heard about some of the details that make this park special and unique – like the waterfall sculpture, the glow in the dark flecks in the beautifully designed walkways, and of course the recently opened boardwalk through the park’s natural areas. All these details exemplify the care that the city and it’s leadership puts into presentation, and honestly I had wondered if those details and human-made things would outshine the nature that was there. Delightfully, it did not. Innovation Hills truly does give people a chance to be up close with the beauty of nature, and the birds and animals in the space did not seem to mind at all.
The front part of the park is a well-manicured scene where families can easily enjoy paved walkways, a lovely lake with ducks and geese, and adorable little bridges with a large artsy waterfall-style fountain and it’s soothing flowing water sound. Nearby a 3 acre play area is in construction that will feature accessible playscapes and even a mini river to play in that has the same curves and bends as the Clinton River as it winds through the park.
Taking the trails deeper into the park, those curves of the Clinton River come into site, with paths that provide great up close views. There’s even a part where the path runs along a small ridge where the water flows gently below.
Along these paths I saw many species of birds chirping away in the trees along the river. And while I didn’t see the bird itself, a cooper’s hawk feather wedged between twigs gave evidence of the beautiful bird’s presence.
There were also deer enjoying the park, and at one point it was fascinating to watch a persistent little muskrat gnawing on a fallen log in one of the park’s wetland areas (video below).
I also walked the wooden boardwalk, which opened just over a year ago, enjoying the easy stroll, the sounds of chickadees, and meeting the occasional human and their dog. Dogs are welcome, but leashes are required. It was also fun checking out some of the construction equipment on hand for the playground that’s in progress. I felt like a big kid watching the front end loaders moving dirt, and other kids there got a kick out of it as well.
Innovation Hills is a dynamic park growing before the eyes of it’s visitors, and I look forward to doing an update next year as more of it is completed. Check out this 110 acre work in progress at 2800 W. Hamlin Road in Rochester Hills. Learn more at City of Rochester Hills website.
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