Explore 5 Lansing Area Nature Centers to Discover Play Areas, Trails, Animals, & More

Howell Nature center feature

Unique Outdoor Destinations for Families

Experience the natural beauty by visiting one of many area nature centers and immersing yourself in the great outdoors.

As you traverse the various walking or hiking trails, you may feel transported to another era, away from the commotion of modern life with its paved roads, cars, and mobile devices.

The sounds of chirping crickets, singing birds, and rustling leaves of nearby wildlife are both energizing and rejuvenating. We are fortunate to have a wealth of nature preserves in our area, providing ample opportunities to explore the serene and wild side of life.

Each nature centers offers:

  • Events
  • Camps and workshops
  • Learning opportunities
  • Visitor Centers
  • Trails
  • Play areas and structures
  • Live animals

Although all nature centers pack the same type of adventures, NONE are the same. Each of our centers in Greater Lansing has successfully created its own unique vibe and experience.

I truly can’t say I have a favorite because they are all so different.

Here’s why you’ll love each of our local centers:

Fenner Nature Center Trails
Fenner Nature Center Trails

Fenner Nature Center

Fenner Nature Center
2020 E Mt Hope Ave, Lansing, MI 48910

Peace and tranquility await at Fenner Nature Center which is smack dab in the heart of Lansing.

As you wind around the entrance, you’re immediately surrounded by the sounds of nature.

Their visitor center has stations for hands-on learning and play, while their outdoor space naturally invites kids to explore in participatory ways. You’ll experience bird watching, the interactive playground where Fenner Nature Center encourages kids to add to the designated structure, and miles of grounds to venture.

It’s no wonder my family can’t leave Fenner without at least taking a mini-hike every time we visit.

Fenner Nature Center Animals

4 Reasons to Visit Fenner Nature Center

Davis Nature Pavilion
Hands-on learning stations make this a must-do when you visit Fenner Nature Center.

Turtles, a bunny, snakes, and other wildlife can be observed inside along with exhibits and public events.

Fenner Nature Center welcome center
Fenner Nature Center Davis Pavilion

Hiking Trails
Fenner’s 4 miles of trails and 7 different routes have multiple fun stops along the way.

Some stops include the butterfly garden, barn, playscape, and observation decks over several ponds.

Fenner Nature center community interactive playground
Fenner Nature center community interactive playground
Fenner Nature Center Lookout Deck

Fenner Nature Center’s 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.

Many families make these events annual traditions.

Waiting for the maple syrup to come at the Fenner Nature Center

Summer Camp
Camps at Fenner Nature Center 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.

Getting close to a maple sugaring tree at Fenner Nature Center

Woldumar Nature Center

Woldumar Nature Center
5739 Old Lansing Rd, Lansing, MI 48917

Nestled on Lansing’s southwest side is the awesomeness that is Woldumar Nature Center!

A fun fact about Woldumar is that it is privately owned and relies on donations and supporters as a non-profit 501(c)3. Why is this so cool? The volunteer opportunities are great for kids, and their programs and events are community-minded.

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.

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 Woldumar Nature Center:

Natural Playground at Woldumar 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!

Welcome Center at Woldumar Nature Center
woldumar nature center lansing indoor play kids
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.

Hiking Trails at Woldumar Nature Center

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


Holiday Event at Woldumar Nature Center

Harris Nature Center

Harris Nature Center
3998 Van Atta Rd, Okemos, MI 48864

“Whoa!” 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 cannot borrow the books, 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

Outdoor 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.

Beaver Lodge at Harris Nature Center
Beaver Lodge at Harris Nature Center

Although the trails in the actual nature center are not very long, they connect to the bigger Meridian Township Trails, making these trails around 6 miles of paths to trek.

Have fun out there!

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

Harris Nature Center Welcome Center
Welcome Center at Harris Nature Center

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 events scheduled throughout the year.

Howell Nature Center

Howell Nature Center
1005 Triangle Lake Rd, Howell, MI 48843

Howell Nature Center should be considered a day trip adventure. There is SO MUCH to do here and each portion of the grounds lends to hours of play.

4 Reasons to Visit Howell Nature Center:

Alexandria’s Naturescape Treehouse
Um, did someone say treehouse?! And adult supervision is required?! Sign me up. Not to mention the waterfall for splashing on hot summer days plus so much more fun in this area!
Bonus: It’s wheelchair accessible!

Treehouse at Howell Nature Center

Wild Wonders Wildlife Park
This teaching zoo is 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.

Entrance to the Wild Wonders Wildlife Park

Adventure Education

Experience the thrill of soaring through the trees on zip lines, scale to new heights on the outdoor climbing tower, and tackle mid-air obstacles on the high ropes courses. What could be a more immersive way to connect with nature than being right in the midst of it all! Little explorers can now enjoy a miniature ropes course designed just for them with the addition of Sky Tykes.

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?!

Wading pond at Howell Nature Center

Bengel Wildlife Center at MI Wildlife Conservancy

Michigan Wildlife Conservancy – Bengel Wildlife
6380 Drumheller Rd, Bath Twp, MI 48808

Bengel Wildlife Center is located in Bath, MI. They have what seems like endless opportunities to get involved with wildlife conservancy. Their outdoor activities, including 4 miles of walking trails, are always open.

Members can shoot the 3D archery course and enjoy catch/release fishing, as well as play disc golf.

3 places to start at the MI Wildlife Conservancy:

Worth-The-Drive Centers

Have you checked off the everything on the Nature Center bucket list and are craving more outdoor fun?!

Check out our top pick places to visit within about an hour from the Greater Lansing area.

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

Inside the Kalamazoo Nature Center Museum/Welcome Center
Kalamazoo Nature Center Indoor Rain Forest

Belle Isle Nature Center:
Play, explore, see animals, and hang out in their indoor treehouse.

You’ll also enjoy lots of interactive nature games as well as hiking and many other great experiences on the island.

Belle Isle Nature Center

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

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

Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery

Have Fun Adventuring in Nature, Lansing!

Here’s where you can find nature centers near me!

Comment below to let us know what you love about the places you’ve visited.

We love hearing about the fun you’re having in Lansing and beyond. Have fun getting out into nature, Lansing!

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