Unique Outdoor Destinations for Families
Step into the fresh air and explore Lansing’s natural side at one of the area’s nature centers.
When walking or hiking nature trails, it can feel as if you’re in another place and time.
There’s something 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.
Each of Lansing’s nature centers offers:
- Camps and workshops
- Learning opportunities
- Visitor Centers
- 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
|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 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.
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’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’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.
Their 60 years of experience is stunning and kids continue to have a blast learning and exploring.
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 Woldmar Nature Center:
3 Reasons to Visit Woldumar Nature Center:
You’ll love hanging out in their welcome center where you get to inspect the educational displays of insects, wildlife, and more!
5 miles of trail and 5 different routes that intertwine make for hours of exploring fun to be had.
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 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
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.
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!
Visit the turtles, read in their library, or bird watch.
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!
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?!
Bengel Wildlife Center at MI Wildlife Conservancy
|Michigan Wildlife Conservancy – Bengel Wildlife|
6380 Drumheller Rd, Bath Twp, MI 48808
Bengel Wildlife Center is located at the edge of Haslett 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:
- Wildlife Education: programs, camps, deer watching, and more.
- Wildlife Pub: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!