Explore Your Local Nature Center


What do these questions have in common?

  • How can I explore nature when the weather’s (too cold, too hot, too rainy, etc)?
  • How can I expose my kids to nature when I hate being outside?
  • How can I entertain my kid’s obsession with animals and/or insects without going to a zoo?
  • How can I keep my kid entertained in the winter without resorting to screens or a germy indoor play area?
  • Where can I learn more about the plants, animals, and insects around me?
  • Where can I find inspiring and fun nature-based activities to do with ┬ámy kids?

They all have the same answer: Visit your local nature center!

Explore a Nature Center

We’re big fans of our local nature center, but I’m always surprised to find out how many families are unaware both of their existence and the treasure trove of benefits they’re missing out on. We visit our nature center often, and definitely at least once each season. Sometimes we just need something interesting to do. Sometimes I need something to do that won’t cost an arm and a leg. Sometimes we want to learn something specific. No matter what our purpose is for going, we always have fun.

Nature Center Animals

Each nature center will be different, but here a few things most nature centers offer:

Interesting things to see:  Most nature centers will have a few animals for kids to see up close and personal. Ours has turtles, lizards, snakes, rodents and insects. It also has a bird viewing area, with binoculars to use for an even better view.

Nature Center Bird Watching

Fun activities to do: Many nature centers will offer a craft or some activity pages for kids to do while they’re there. Most offer special programming, such as crafting projects, story hours, or child-centric hikes.

Resources: Think beyond the library! Nature centers often resources at hand that you can explore, such as identification guides and books to spark or entertain your child’s interests.

Nature Center Resources

Help: The naturalists at your local nature center are there to assist you. They’re happy to help answer questions or to give you ideas about how to incorporate nature into your everyday life. Chances are, whatever question your child has asked that has you stumped, they’ll be able to answer (or point you in the right direction).

Linda from Rain or Shine Mamma has some more great reasons as to why you should explore your local nature center. If you need assistance finding a nature center near you, NatureFind can help.

Have you ever paid a visit to your local nature center? What’s your favorite activity there?



  1. I’d been to the Nature Center at Eagle Creek Park so many times before it became the Ornithology Center. It was great! I think there are other buildings on the property that serve that purpose now but that one is where our favorite walking trail starts, so that’s the one I’m parked by almost all of the time.

    We went to McCloud Nature Park for a stargazing event that began with a little presentation in their nature center. It was really cool too! You should take a look to see when the astronomy sessions are–the Indiana Astronomical Society puts them on and the amateur astronomers let you look through their telescopes.


  2. Where is his nature center? I need to go!!

    • It’s the Cool Creek Nature Center in Westfield. It’s across from the Wal-Mart at 31 and 151st Street. Your kids will love it!


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