Looking to get out into nature with your kids or need some quality alone time, but not sure where to start? In every corner of Northeast WI, you can find nature, environmental or wildlife centers and preserves. They all offer miles of trails to explore with opportunities to learn from exhibits and programs.
Here is our list in no particular order:
🌳 Navarino Nature Center in Shiocton consists of 15,000 acres of wetlands, forests, prairies and agricultural fields. There are a variety of recreational opportunities available to all visitors including but not limited to the following: hunting, hiking, birding, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, wildlife viewing, auto tour, geocaching, photography, biking (on roads), cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, walking your dog and many others.
🌳 The Ridges Sanctuary Nature Center in Baileys Harbor is open to the public year-round, and feature exhibits on the cultural and natural history of The Ridges, a fully accessible boardwalk that spans a third of a mile, five miles of rustic trails, historic range lights, educational programs and more. There’s always something to do at The Ridges.
🌳 Crossroads at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay is a preserve which offers education, conducts research and provides outdoor experiences to inspire environmental stewardship in learners of all ages.
🌳 Fallen Timbers Environmental Center in Black Creek Fallen Timbers is an environmental center located near Seymour, WI, owned by six school districts and operated by CESA 6. It serves about 16,000 people a year and is open to public after school hours and on weekends. It features 456 acres lowland woods and meadows, prairie, sugarbush, ephemeral ponds (extremely rare!), a 1-acre pond and an extensive trail system. It also offers buildings and cabins, as well the Continuing Cartier Environmental Education
🌳 Sanderling Nature Center at Kohler-Andrae State Park in Sheboygan is where you can explore exhibits and use interactive kiosks to learn more about the park. Visitors can watch an 8-minute movie, “Welcome to Kohler-Andrae” or one of many other nature films. Families can enjoy reading together from our picture book collection. Visitors can observe Lake Michigan vessels and waterfowl from the rooftop observation deck and more. A variety of fun-filled educational programs for children and adults are typically scheduled May through October.
🌳 High Cliff State Natural Area in Sherwood is recognized by its excellent cliff environments, an undisturbed wet-mesic forest and more than a mile of Lake Winnebago shoreline. The most common mammals observed here are fox and gray squirrels, raccoons, skunks, opossums, deer, woodchucks, 13-striped ground squirrels, chipmunks, mice, shrews and bats. Present, but rarely seen, are red fox, weasels and mink. High Cliff is a premier area to watch the warbler migration in the spring. The park is also home to several purple martin colonies. Naturalist programs are offered primarily from May through September. All naturalist programs are subject to change. Make sure to contact the park prior to attending any event. The General Store Museum is open from 1 to 5 p.m. on weekends from Memorial Day through Labor Day when volunteers are available. Kids are also encouraged to participate in the Wisconsin Explorer Program.
🌳 Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve in Suamico 920-acre wildlife area on the west shore of Green Bay. It features waterfowl and wetland birds. 9 miles of hiking, X-C skiing and snowshoeing trails. Snowshoe rentals available for on-site use during the winter months.
🌳 Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary in Green Bay is a beautiful 600 acre urban wildlife refuge featuring live animal exhibits, educational displays, miles of hiking/skiing trails and various wildlife viewing opportunities.
🌳 Ledge View Nature Center in Chilton is a 105-acre Calumet County park and environmental education center. The park is best known for its caves, but also contains woodland, dolomite ledges, open prairie and an inactive quarry. Hikers can enjoy 3 miles of trails, a 60-foot observation tower, an arboretum, and gardens with native wildflowers. Visitors can also view displays and interactive exhibits inside the nature center building.
🌳 Mosquito Hill Nature Center in New London is open year round with both indoor and outdoor opportunities on 441 acres adjacent to the Wolf River. Inside are natural history exhibits, hands-on displays, a gift shop, themed classrooms, meeting rooms, and a library.
🌳 Bubolz Nature Preserve in Appleton is to serve as a gathering place for the community to become inspired by, appreciate & enjoy nature through educational programming and recreational opportunities, while fostering a healthy environment & providing an improved quality of life.
🌳 Maywood Environmental Center in Sheboygan offers six diverse ecosystems, an Arboretum, and a butterfly & hummingbird garden on its 135-acres.
🌳 Woodland Dunes Nature Center & Preserve in Two Rivers contains over 1,500 acres of hardwood & conifer forests, wetlands, and prairies with 7 miles of hiking trails to enjoy. Take a stroll, have a look, and listen to the wonders that are found here. Our 14 ridges and swales are home and important stopover habitat to neo-tropical songbirds, Monarch butterflies, bats, amphibians, mammals and over 400 plant species. This rare land and its creatures attract thousands of visitors year-round and serves as an interactive outdoor classroom for thousands of students in the region.
🌳 Heckrodt Wetland Preserve in Menasha is a 76-acre urban nature reserve with habitats including forested wetland, cattail marsh, open water, created priaire, open field, and upland forest.
🌳 1000 Islands Environmental Center in Kaukauna provides the public a place to enjoy our natural resources. Recreation is provided by the many miles of trails, which can be used for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Year-round educational programs teach children and adults the importance of the inter-relationships between them and the environment.
🌳 Brillion Nature Center in Brillion is a 40 acre parcel that provides environmental education opportunities and outdoor experiences for area schools and the general public.
🌳 Neustadter Nature Center at Collins Marsh in Reedsville is a 4,200 acre state wildlife area located just 20 minutes west of Manitowoc. The facilities include a nature center, screened in shelter, 110 foot tower, as well as a grill and bonfire pit. Birders, Hunters, Photographers, Kayakers, Hikers and Bikers will all find places to explore.
🌳 Marsh Haven Nature Center in Waupun is a place to appreciate the wonders and beauty of nature. Visitors often see numerous bird species, including a well-established Purple Martin colony. Wildlife may be seen while wandering through the woodland, prairie, or wetland trails on our 46-acres. It also offers a bunkhouse and camping area for overnight group stays, a picnic shelter and campfire area, observation tower, a classroom, and indoor theater for presentations.