Nature Centers
Nature centers are places where you can see the natural and historical world come alive. Browse through these nature centers in Colorado and introduce your children to the world outside their door.
Nature Centers in Colorado
Rocky Mountain Arsenal
Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest urban wildlife refuges in the nation with more than 15,000 acres of land. It’s a place where wildlife thrives and where visitors can reconnect with nature and experience the many wildlife-dependent opportunities the Refuge has to offer. Come walk the many easy hiking trails, take the self-guided Wildlife Drive auto tour, observe more than 330 species of wildlife, and explore the Visitor Center.
Butterfly Pavilion
The Butterfly Pavilion is home to over 5,000 animals, including Rosie the Tarantula, sea creatures, and over 1,600 butterflies. After walking through the tropical rainforest pavilion, explore the gardens and nature trails outside. They offer education programs for groups.
Rocky Mountain Raptor Program
For 33 years, Rocky Mountain Raptor Program has served the northern Colorado community through rescue, rehabilitation & release of injured birds of prey. Our community-based team of veterinary experts and specially trained volunteers provides all aspects of raptor care ranging from compassionate medical care to constructing cages that serve as temporary homes for recovering birds. Rocky Mountain Raptor Program also plays a vital role in community education and outreach, providing hands-on learning about raptor species and the environment. Private Behind the Scenes Tours explore the main rehabilitation facility on Vine Drive, including various work areas and some of the caging facilities. Visitors will learn about medical management of cases, how the RMRP trains and coordinates volunteers and staff to provide care for the birds 365 days/year. Injuries, therapies, and issues involved in caring for raptors are discussed. The tour may include an opportunity to meet an educational raptor.
Colorado Gators Reptile Park
Colorado Gators is a family oriented, educational facility that focuses on full use of natural and recycled resources. Our goal is to maintain an integrated ecosystem while providing educational opportunities and viable farm products. Every visitor to Colorado Gators has the opportunity to meet, pet, hold, and take pictures with a little alligator. There are several large African Sulcata tortoises that wander freely throughout their section of the park. You can also see an albino alligator, Nile crocodiles, Burmese pythons, anacondas, and other reptiles.
Denver Botanic Gardens
With more than 32,000 plants on 23 acres from such far-away places as Australia, Africa and the Himalayas, Denver Botanic Gardens is recognized as one of the top five botanical gardens in the United States. Open year round. They offer special programs for school groups.
Western Colorado Botanical Gardens
The WCBG is home to an Herb Garden, Cactus Garden, Rose Garden and Orchid Display that are maintained by local gardening organizations. The WCBG maintains several other gardens including the Childrens Secret Garden, Shozan-en, Celebration Plaza, Community Garden and the lovely public gardens that surround our buildings.
Mount Goliath
Mount Goliath, a mountain peak section of the Mount Evans area, is accessible by the M. Walter Pesman Trail and is located 17 miles from Idaho Springs within the Arapaho National Forest. This trail winds through subalpine and alpine areas where wildflowers and animals live amid grand mountain vistas and the sculptured, grizzled beauty of the bristlecone pines. Highlights include delicate alpine floral treasures such as alpine forget-me-nots, moss campion, fairy primrose, purple fringe, chiming bells and spring beauty. This is a trail of contrasts--awesome Rocky Mountain vistas of the Divide peaks; delicate floral treasures; wind-sculpted, ancient bristlecone pines; cold summit winds; and gentle summer breezes. The path winds through the exquisite blooms of the alpine tundra, talus slopes and subalpine meadows providing a delightful and educational hike in one of Colorado's most beautiful natural areas. The Denver Botanic Gardens offers guided tours of Mount Goliath on select dates in June through August
Plains Conservation Center
The Plains Conservation Center exists to bring the natural wonder of the prairie into the realm of personal experience by: preserving a remnant of the eastern Colorado High Plains, educating the public about its natural and cultural heritage and nurturing sound conservation and environmental ethics. A visit to the Plains Conservation Center offers a unique way to experience the natural and cultural heritage of the High Plains of Colorado.
South Platte Park Carson Nature Center
South Platte Park is over 880 acres of open space along the South Platte River with 5 lakes open to fishing, 2.5 miles of the South Platte River and the Mary Carter Greenway for walking and biking, nearly 4 miles of natural surface trails, and the Carson Nature Center and classroom. South Platte Park has over 300 species of wildlife and is an excellent place for wildlife viewing, photography, and bird watching. Stop in to check out exhibits and live animals in our small museum, get information on trails or wildlife, or how to use our Interactive Water Table.
Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center
Explore Colorado Springs' paradise in one magical stop. Garden of the Gods Park is a registered National Natural Landmark. Imagine dramatic views, 300' towering sandstone rock formations against a backdrop of snow-capped Pikes Peak and brilliant blue skies. This world-class Visitor & Nature Center and museum is the most visited attraction in the region with all new interactive exhibits. Learn how the amazing red rocks got there with the NEW Geo-Trekker movie experience, shown every 20 minutes. Delight in one of Colorado's most photographed views while eating in our glass-enclosed café or from our terrace overlooking Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods. Admission into the Park and Visitor Center is free.
The Wildlife Experience
Founded in 2002 as a wildlife art and natural history museum designed to serve as a cultural center and community asset for South Metro Denver. The 151,000 sq ft prairie mission style facility hosts numerous fine art, natural history and interactive science changing exhibits each year, in addition to its signature permanent exhibition, Globeology, featuring open dioramas interpreting eight biomes of the world. The Wildlife Experience strives to inspire a new generation of conservationists and outdoors enthusiasts by bringing visitors closer to wildlife and fostering the desire to experience the outdoors through high-quality exhibitions, large screen movies and a host of education programs.
Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield
Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield provides a picturesque setting among the grasslands, ponds and cottonwood banks of Deer Creek. Facilities include nature trails, display gardens, educational exhibits, a historical farm and one-room schoolhouse, working beehives and picnic areas. Visit the Earl J. Sinnamon Visitor Center, the historic Hildebrand Ranch, a restored 1918 dairy barn and silo, the 1874 Deer Creek Schoolhouse, 2.5 miles of nature trails, the Deer Creek Discovery children’s play area and numerous wildflower gardens.
Mordecai Children's Garden
The Children’s Garden offers a place for kids and families to play, explore and discover every spring, summer and fall. Because the natural environment constantly changes, no two visits in this magical 3-acre oasis will be alike. This garden is located at the Denver Botanic Gardens on top of the parking structure. Children can learn at the rooftop alpine garden, race pinecones down Springmelt Spring, hunt for bug in the Glorious Grasslands and observe aquatic life at Pipsqueak Pond.
Berry Patch Farms
Berry Patch Farms is a certified organic working farm that offers pick-your-own produce. The farm is 40 acres and no fees or membership dues are charged. You are encouraged to bring your children so they may learn more about agriculture and to have an authentic farm experience. School groups are most welcome. They are located in Brighton, just north of Denver.
Crow Canyon Archaeological Center
More than 30 years ago, Crow Canyon was founded on the idea that members of the public could play an important role in archaeology. Each year, they welcome people of all ages to their campus near Mesa Verde in southwest Colorado. Their volunteers support their mission of archaeological research, education programs, and partnership with American Indians.
The Wild Animal Sanctuary
The Wild Animal Sanctuary is a state and federally licensed zoological facility and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We are located outside of Keenesburg, Colorado, 30 miles northeast of Denver. We are located on rural, rolling grasslands, comprising 720 acres and sheltering more than 290 large carnivores alone. TWAS is the largest sanctuary of its kind and one of the oldest in the United States.
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