Nature Centers You’ll Want to Visit in Mid Michigan With Your Family

Step into fresh air and explore Lansing’s natural side at Woldumar Nature Center, Fenner Nature Center, Harris Nature Center, Howell Nature Center and more. These nature centers are more than meets the eye and have so much family fun to offer YEAR ROUND!

Each nature center has events, camps and workshops, learning and visitor centers, trails, play areas and structures, live animals, and more! Even better – we’ve got the scoop on it all below:

See Lansing’s Natural Side By Visiting a Nature Center

When walking or hiking nature trails it can feel as if you’re in another place and time. There’s something close to magical about stepping outside of the hustle and bustle of paved roads, cell phones, cars, and other forms or transportation. Crickets, birds, fish, squirrels, you name it – the sounds of nature are invigorating and we are so lucky to have so many options to choose from right here in our neck-of-the-woods.

Read on to hear more about our areas Nature Centers, Nature Events, and Nature Centers to check out just a short drive away.

Fenner Nature Center

Smack dab in the heart of Lansing, peace, and tranquility await at Fenner Nature Center! As soon as you wind around their entrance you’re immediately surrounded by the sounds of nature. Their play area has stations for hands-on learning while their space naturally invites the kids to participate in gazing on their grounds for bird watching. It’s no wonder why my family can’t leave Fenner without at least taking a mini-hike every time we visit.

4 Reasons to Visit Fenner Nature Center:

Davis Nature Pavilion
Hands-on learning stations make this our number one pick for why to visit Fenner. Turtles, a bunny, snakes, and other wildlife can be observed inside along with exhibits and public events.

Hiking Trails:
Their 4 miles of trails and 7 different routes have multiple fun stops along the way. Some stops include their butterfly garden, barn, playscape, and observation deck.

Fenner-Nature-Center-Maple-Syrup-Festival

Festivals:
Their festivals are one of a kind! Churn the apple butter in the fall, tap a tree for maple syrup in the spring, and give back to the earth during their Earth Day Extravaganza. Fenner Nature Center Festivals are occasions to set on the calendar for annual attendance.

Public Programs:
Camps at Fenner run during Spring Break and in the Summer along with other learning opportunities throughout the year. Their 60 years of experience is stunning and kids continue to have a blast learning and exploring.

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Woldumar Nature Center

Nestled on Lansing’s south-west side is the awesomeness that is Woldumar Nature Center! A fun fact about Woldumar is that they are privately owned and rely on donations and supporters as a non-profit 501c3. Why is this so cool? The volunteer opportunities are great for kids, and their programs and events are community mindful. We love walking the trails of Woldumar, going to weddings on their beautiful grounds, listening during folk festivals, and have even caught a theatre play there once.

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It’s one thing to read about something cool, but it’s even better to experience it for yourself. Here are our top 3 reasons to plan a visit to Woldmar Nature Center:

3 Reasons to Visit Woldumar Nature Center:

Welcome Center
You’ll love hanging out in their welcome center where you get to inspect the educational displays of insects, wildlife, and more!

Woldumar-Nature-Center-Welcome-Center

Hiking Trails:
5 miles of trail and 5 different routes that intertwine make for hours of exploring fun to be had.

Explorer Programs:
Kayak, explore, learn and more during camps at Woldumar that run during Spring Break and Summer.

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Harris Nature Center

“Whoa!” This is what I thought the first time I visited Harris Nature Center. Their grounds are shockingly artistic and creative. Not only that, the welcome center is packed full of great wildlife exhibits with a library on site! You can not take the books out for rent, but you’re welcome to stop in to read for a while with their collection. A visit to Harris will leave you refreshed.

4 Reasons to Visit Harris Nature Center:

Play Area
Climb the beaver lodge, hang out under the huge tiled art turtle, lay in the spider web, and dig for fossils! You could almost spend your whole time in this area.

Hiking:
Although the trails in the actual nature center are not very long – they are connected to the bigger Meridian Township Trails making these trails around 6 miles of paths. Have fun out there!

Welcome Center:
Visit the turtles, read in their library, or bird watch.

Community Events:
The events at Harris Nature Center happen frequently and are AWESOME! You’ll enjoy things like night story walks, Owl observing, camp fires, and a lot more scheduled year round.

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Howell Nature Center

So – Cool! If only my parents knew about these things when I was a kid. Granted, we did a lot of great things, but I’m super thankful for the internet and sites like ours to help parents explore in an age where video games, cell phones, and computers have such a pull! If you make a trip out to Howell Nature Center get ready for an experience.

4 Reasons to Visit Howell Nature Center:

Alexandria’s Naturescape Treehouse
Um, did someone say Treehouse?! And adult supervision is required?! Sign me up. I plan a lot of fun events for my kids and the cats out of the bag – I almost always plan them to be fun for me and my husband as well. This one is going on the list for our summer bucket list for sure. Not to mention the waterfall for splashing on those hot summer days, plus so much more fun in this area!
Bonus: It’s wheelchair accessible!

Wild Wonders Wildlife Park:
This teaching zoo open to the public 365 days a year! That’s right – ALL YEAR LONG! Watch this video to learn more about what you can do and see here.

Stay:
Howell Nature Center invites you to hang out for the day or STAY OVERNIGHT in one of their lodges. See – like I said, so cool right?!

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BONUS: Honorary Nature Space: Bengel Wildlife Center at MI Wildlife Conservancy

Bengel Wildlife Center is located at the edge of Haslett in Bath. There have what seems like endless opportunities to get involved with wildlife conservancy.

3 places to start at the MI Wildlife Conservancy:

Wildlife Education: programs, camps, deer watching, and more.

Wildlife Pub (Adult options): Hang out in the breathtaking grounds and enjoy live music, beverages, and more.

Become a Volunteer: Explore and read through their vast amounts of volunteer opportunities.

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Day Trip Nature Centers Worth The Drive

Have you checked off the above Nature Center bucket list and craving more outdoor fun?! Check out our top pick places to visit within about an hour from the Greater Lansing area.

Nature Centers Close By and Worth the Drive:

Kalamazoo-Nature-Center-Inside-Eggs

Kalamazoo Nature Center
We loved visiting their trails, welcome center, and indoor rain fall area.

Belle Isle Nature Center:
Play, explore, see animals, and hang out in their indoor tree house. You’ll also enjoy lots of interactive nature games as well as hiking, and many other great experiences on the island.

Blandford Nature Center:
Read all about why Blandford is a great gem to discover in Grand Rapids.

Wolf-Lake-Fish-Hatchery-and-Visitor-Center-Feeding-Fish

Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery and Visitor Center -DNR:
Travel through the museum and exhibit area, feed the fish out in the pond for free with a token from the front desk, and hike their trails.

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Nature Events in Greater Lansing:

Plan tons of natural fun with this list of  Nature Events:

Saturday June 22, 2019

All About Bats Campfire

Location: Harris Nature Center – 3998 Van Atta Rd Okemos
The summer skies are full of bats swooping and feeding as the sun sets. This program will bust some common myths while sharing information on bat habits and characteristics. Participants will also enjoy time around the campfire, making s'mores and experiencing a guided walk with a naturalist. $3/person or $7/family. [...]
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Sunday June 23, 2019

Kid's Planetarium Show: Robots on Mars

Location: Ella Sharp Museum – 3225 4th St Jackson
Mars is one of Earth's nearest planetary neighbors. With the help of all kinds of robotic friends, scientists hope to learn as much as they can about the red planet. "Robots on Mars" is a brand new live program that will visit these metal scientists as they look for water, [...]
Time: 1:30 pm - 2:15 pm

Family Show at the Abrams Planetarium

Location: MSU Abrams Planetarium – 755 Science Road East Lansing
Abrams Planetarium offers a special show designed for families on Sundays at 2:30 P.M. What are we made of? Where did it all come from? Explore the secrets of our cosmic chemistry, and our explosive origins. Connect life on Earth to the evolution of the Universe by following the formation [...]
Time: 2:30 pm

Thursday June 27, 2019

Fireflies and Friends Campfire

Location: Harris Nature Center – 3998 Van Atta Rd Okemos
Nothing says summer like fireflies blinking in the night! Find out more about these summer icons and other nighttime insects while enjoying time around the campfire, making s'mores and experiencing a guided walk with a naturalist. $3/person or $7/family. http://meridian.mi.us/HNC
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Friday June 28, 2019

Public Viewing at Fox Park Observatory

Location: Fox Park Public Observatory – 3979 E Gresham Hwy Potterville
You may call the Observatory at 517-645-6666 during public viewing hours to check sky conditions. Public observation nights are suitable for people of all ages. Program fee is $2 per person or $5 per family payable on site. The Observatory, located at 3979 E. Gresham Hwy., Potterville, MI 48876, is [...]
Time: 8:00 pm - 11:59 pm

Saturday June 29, 2019

Kid's Gardening Workshop

Location: Van Atta’s Greenhouse and Flower Shop – 9008 Old M 78, Haslett
Mackenzie will be teaching this seminar on kid's gardening! She'll be discussing plant growing habits and basic needs, as well as doing a hands on planting activity and leaf drawings with the kids! This seminar is free and RSVP is not necessary. It is geared more towards elementary school ages [...]
Time: 1:00 pm - 1:35 pm

Public Viewing at Fox Park Observatory

Location: Fox Park Public Observatory – 3979 E Gresham Hwy Potterville
You may call the Observatory at 517-645-6666 during public viewing hours to check sky conditions. Public observation nights are suitable for people of all ages. Program fee is $2 per person or $5 per family payable on site. The Observatory, located at 3979 E. Gresham Hwy., Potterville, MI 48876, is [...]
Time: 8:00 pm - 11:59 pm

Sunday June 30, 2019

Kid's Planetarium Show: Robots on Mars

Location: Ella Sharp Museum – 3225 4th St Jackson
Mars is one of Earth's nearest planetary neighbors. With the help of all kinds of robotic friends, scientists hope to learn as much as they can about the red planet. "Robots on Mars" is a brand new live program that will visit these metal scientists as they look for water, [...]
Time: 1:30 pm - 2:15 pm

Family Show at the Abrams Planetarium

Location: MSU Abrams Planetarium – 755 Science Road East Lansing
Abrams Planetarium offers a special show designed for families on Sundays at 2:30 P.M. What are we made of? Where did it all come from? Explore the secrets of our cosmic chemistry, and our explosive origins. Connect life on Earth to the evolution of the Universe by following the formation [...]
Time: 2:30 pm

Monday July 1, 2019

Sprouts Service Learning Group

Location: DeVries Nature Conservancy – 2635 North M52 Owosso
Each class works on projects, builds things, cares for the animals or does other service learning projects to help benefit DeVries. Build skills and promote family time with each lesson. RSVP is required by noon the day of class so we can have projects ready. Ages 5-13 are welcome, and [...]
Time: 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Sunday July 7, 2019

Kid's Planetarium Show: Robots on Mars

Location: Ella Sharp Museum – 3225 4th St Jackson
Mars is one of Earth's nearest planetary neighbors. With the help of all kinds of robotic friends, scientists hope to learn as much as they can about the red planet. "Robots on Mars" is a brand new live program that will visit these metal scientists as they look for water, [...]
Time: 1:30 pm - 2:15 pm

Family Show at the Abrams Planetarium

Location: MSU Abrams Planetarium – 755 Science Road East Lansing
Abrams Planetarium offers a special show designed for families on Sundays at 2:30 P.M. What are we made of? Where did it all come from? Explore the secrets of our cosmic chemistry, and our explosive origins. Connect life on Earth to the evolution of the Universe by following the formation [...]
Time: 2:30 pm

Sunday July 14, 2019

Kid's Planetarium Show: Robots on Mars

Location: Ella Sharp Museum – 3225 4th St Jackson
Mars is one of Earth's nearest planetary neighbors. With the help of all kinds of robotic friends, scientists hope to learn as much as they can about the red planet. "Robots on Mars" is a brand new live program that will visit these metal scientists as they look for water, [...]
Time: 1:30 pm - 2:15 pm

Family Show at the Abrams Planetarium

Location: MSU Abrams Planetarium – 755 Science Road East Lansing
Abrams Planetarium offers a special show designed for families on Sundays at 2:30 P.M. What are we made of? Where did it all come from? Explore the secrets of our cosmic chemistry, and our explosive origins. Connect life on Earth to the evolution of the Universe by following the formation [...]
Time: 2:30 pm

Sunday July 21, 2019

Sensory Friendly Show at the Abrams Planetarium

Location: MSU Abrams Planetarium – 755 Science Road East Lansing
The Abrams Planetarium offers sensory friendly shows on the third Sunday of every month at 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. These shows will run with the lights up, the sound down, and the theater doors open so people can move about as needed. We also provide a place to "chill [...]
Time: 1:00 pm

Kid's Planetarium Show: Robots on Mars

Location: Ella Sharp Museum – 3225 4th St Jackson
Mars is one of Earth's nearest planetary neighbors. With the help of all kinds of robotic friends, scientists hope to learn as much as they can about the red planet. "Robots on Mars" is a brand new live program that will visit these metal scientists as they look for water, [...]
Time: 1:30 pm - 2:15 pm

Family Show at the Abrams Planetarium

Location: MSU Abrams Planetarium – 755 Science Road East Lansing
Abrams Planetarium offers a special show designed for families on Sundays at 2:30 P.M. What are we made of? Where did it all come from? Explore the secrets of our cosmic chemistry, and our explosive origins. Connect life on Earth to the evolution of the Universe by following the formation [...]
Time: 2:30 pm

Sunday July 28, 2019

Kid's Planetarium Show: Robots on Mars

Location: Ella Sharp Museum – 3225 4th St Jackson
Mars is one of Earth's nearest planetary neighbors. With the help of all kinds of robotic friends, scientists hope to learn as much as they can about the red planet. "Robots on Mars" is a brand new live program that will visit these metal scientists as they look for water, [...]
Time: 1:30 pm - 2:15 pm

Family Show at the Abrams Planetarium

Location: MSU Abrams Planetarium – 755 Science Road East Lansing
Abrams Planetarium offers a special show designed for families on Sundays at 2:30 P.M. What are we made of? Where did it all come from? Explore the secrets of our cosmic chemistry, and our explosive origins. Connect life on Earth to the evolution of the Universe by following the formation [...]
Time: 2:30 pm

Sunday August 4, 2019

Kid's Planetarium Show: Robots on Mars

Location: Ella Sharp Museum – 3225 4th St Jackson
Mars is one of Earth's nearest planetary neighbors. With the help of all kinds of robotic friends, scientists hope to learn as much as they can about the red planet. "Robots on Mars" is a brand new live program that will visit these metal scientists as they look for water, [...]
Time: 1:30 pm - 2:15 pm

Monday August 5, 2019

Sprouts Service Learning Group

Location: DeVries Nature Conservancy – 2635 North M52 Owosso
Each class works on projects, builds things, cares for the animals or does other service learning projects to help benefit DeVries. Build skills and promote family time with each lesson. RSVP is required by noon the day of class so we can have projects ready. Ages 5-13 are welcome, and [...]
Time: 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Sunday August 11, 2019

Kid's Planetarium Show: Robots on Mars

Location: Ella Sharp Museum – 3225 4th St Jackson
Mars is one of Earth's nearest planetary neighbors. With the help of all kinds of robotic friends, scientists hope to learn as much as they can about the red planet. "Robots on Mars" is a brand new live program that will visit these metal scientists as they look for water, [...]
Time: 1:30 pm - 2:15 pm

Sunday August 18, 2019

Kid's Planetarium Show: Robots on Mars

Location: Ella Sharp Museum – 3225 4th St Jackson
Mars is one of Earth's nearest planetary neighbors. With the help of all kinds of robotic friends, scientists hope to learn as much as they can about the red planet. "Robots on Mars" is a brand new live program that will visit these metal scientists as they look for water, [...]
Time: 1:30 pm - 2:15 pm

Sunday August 25, 2019

Kid's Planetarium Show: Robots on Mars

Location: Ella Sharp Museum – 3225 4th St Jackson
Mars is one of Earth's nearest planetary neighbors. With the help of all kinds of robotic friends, scientists hope to learn as much as they can about the red planet. "Robots on Mars" is a brand new live program that will visit these metal scientists as they look for water, [...]
Time: 1:30 pm - 2:15 pm

Sunday September 1, 2019

Kid's Planetarium Show: Robots on Mars

Location: Ella Sharp Museum – 3225 4th St Jackson
Mars is one of Earth's nearest planetary neighbors. With the help of all kinds of robotic friends, scientists hope to learn as much as they can about the red planet. "Robots on Mars" is a brand new live program that will visit these metal scientists as they look for water, [...]
Time: 1:30 pm - 2:15 pm

Monday September 2, 2019

Sprouts Service Learning Group

Location: DeVries Nature Conservancy – 2635 North M52 Owosso
Each class works on projects, builds things, cares for the animals or does other service learning projects to help benefit DeVries. Build skills and promote family time with each lesson. RSVP is required by noon the day of class so we can have projects ready. Ages 5-13 are welcome, and [...]
Time: 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Thursday September 5, 2019

Preschool Science Exploration: Nocturnal Nature

Location: Harris Nature Center – 3998 Van Atta Rd Okemos
Curious preschool children explore nature through hands-on science activities and discovery walks with a naturalist guide. In September kids will learn ways that nature is different at night.
Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Sunday September 8, 2019

Kid's Planetarium Show: Robots on Mars

Location: Ella Sharp Museum – 3225 4th St Jackson
Mars is one of Earth's nearest planetary neighbors. With the help of all kinds of robotic friends, scientists hope to learn as much as they can about the red planet. "Robots on Mars" is a brand new live program that will visit these metal scientists as they look for water, [...]
Time: 1:30 pm - 2:15 pm

Sunday September 15, 2019

Kid's Planetarium Show: Robots on Mars

Location: Ella Sharp Museum – 3225 4th St Jackson
Mars is one of Earth's nearest planetary neighbors. With the help of all kinds of robotic friends, scientists hope to learn as much as they can about the red planet. "Robots on Mars" is a brand new live program that will visit these metal scientists as they look for water, [...]
Time: 1:30 pm - 2:15 pm

Thursday September 19, 2019

Chipmunk Story Time: Possum's Harvest Moon

Location: Harris Nature Center – 3998 Van Atta Rd Okemos
Story time comes alive as children interact with puppets Chicory Chipmunk and his animal friends. Stories are followed by a craft, games or a walk. In September our stories are about the harvest moon, including Possum's Harvest Moon by Anne Hunter.
Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Saturday September 21, 2019

Harvest Moon: Tales around the Campfire

Location: Harris Nature Center – 3998 Van Atta Rd Okemos
The harvest moon is low in the sky and appears huge. The extra light it gives off used to allow farmers to stay in their fields harvesting crops well into the night. What a great time to enjoy a campfire, roast marshmallows and hear stories from the Lansing Storytellers before [...]
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Sunday September 22, 2019

Kid's Planetarium Show: Robots on Mars

Location: Ella Sharp Museum – 3225 4th St Jackson
Mars is one of Earth's nearest planetary neighbors. With the help of all kinds of robotic friends, scientists hope to learn as much as they can about the red planet. "Robots on Mars" is a brand new live program that will visit these metal scientists as they look for water, [...]
Time: 1:30 pm - 2:15 pm

Sunday September 29, 2019

Kid's Planetarium Show: Robots on Mars

Location: Ella Sharp Museum – 3225 4th St Jackson
Mars is one of Earth's nearest planetary neighbors. With the help of all kinds of robotic friends, scientists hope to learn as much as they can about the red planet. "Robots on Mars" is a brand new live program that will visit these metal scientists as they look for water, [...]
Time: 1:30 pm - 2:15 pm

Family Special: Tails of Michigan Wildlife

Location: Harris Nature Center – 3998 Van Atta Rd Okemos
What do woodpeckers and opossums have in common? Tails that help them stay on a tree. Tails can balance, propel, swat and so much more. Families will have fun learning about animals and their special tails through hands-on nature activities.
Time: 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Thursday October 3, 2019

Preschool Science Exploration: Animals in Autumn

Location: Harris Nature Center – 3998 Van Atta Rd Okemos
Curious preschool children explore nature through hands-on science activities and discovery walks with a naturalist guide. In October kids will learn about how animals spend fall getting ready for winter.
Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Monday October 7, 2019

Sprouts Service Learning Group

Location: DeVries Nature Conservancy – 2635 North M52 Owosso
Each class works on projects, builds things, cares for the animals or does other service learning projects to help benefit DeVries. Build skills and promote family time with each lesson. RSVP is required by noon the day of class so we can have projects ready. Ages 5-13 are welcome, and [...]
Time: 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Thursday October 17, 2019

Chipmunk Story Time: Fall is Not Easy

Location: Harris Nature Center – 3998 Van Atta Rd Okemos
Story time comes alive as children interact with puppets Chicory Chipmunk and his animal friends. Stories are followed by a craft, games or a walk. In October our theme is fall and includes the whimsically story Fall is Not Easy.
Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Saturday October 19, 2019

Halloween Adventures

Location: Harris Nature Center – 3998 Van Atta Rd Okemos
If you like spooky fun or just plain fun, you’ll have a blast at the HNC Halloween Adventures. Children will squeal with delight as they enter the Halloween Fun House, a Halloween thrill without blood or gore. Inside the nature building there will be crafts, pumpkin decorating and treats. Outside, [...]
Time: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Saturday November 2, 2019

Nighttime Scavenger Hunt

Location: Harris Nature Center – 3998 Van Atta Rd Okemos
Try a new twist on geo-caching. Embark on a treasure hunt using a flashlight while you follow reflective tacks on the trees. Find the hidden cache in the woods and receive a prize. Please register ahead and bring a flashlight.
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Monday November 4, 2019

Sprouts Service Learning Group

Location: DeVries Nature Conservancy – 2635 North M52 Owosso
Each class works on projects, builds things, cares for the animals or does other service learning projects to help benefit DeVries. Build skills and promote family time with each lesson. RSVP is required by noon the day of class so we can have projects ready. Ages 5-13 are welcome, and [...]
Time: 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Monday December 2, 2019

Sprouts Service Learning Group

Location: DeVries Nature Conservancy – 2635 North M52 Owosso
Each class works on projects, builds things, cares for the animals or does other service learning projects to help benefit DeVries. Build skills and promote family time with each lesson. RSVP is required by noon the day of class so we can have projects ready. Ages 5-13 are welcome, and [...]
Time: 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

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Have Fun Adventuring in Nature, Lansing!

Comment below to let us know what you love about the nature centers you’ve visited. We love hearing about the fun you’re having in Lansing and beyond. Have fun getting out into nature, Lansing!