Get Some Fresh Air by Exploring One of These 9 West Michigan Nature Centers with Your Family

west michigan nature centers

Discover Nature at Its Finest at these Michigan Nature Centers

We are fortunate to be surrounded by so much natural beauty. Michigan nature centers are a fantastic way to enjoy, appreciate, and learn about the world around us.

All of these nature centers are well organized, gorgeous nature spots with lots of learning opportunities.

Better yet, most of the nature centers offer free admission, with some charging a small fee to get in.

Get out and explore!

Are you looking to explore nature while hiking a great trail?

We’ve put together a list of our favorite hiking trails in West Michigan.

PLUS, join our hiking Facebook group to connect with other local hikers.

Important Message: Local businesses are working hard to implement procedures based on the new safety guidelines. For each of the attractions and events we mention, we include a link to the business website. Please use this link to confirm the details, hours of operation and any requirements guests must follow before visiting. Thank You!

WEST MICHIGAN NATURE CENTERS

Blandford Nature Center
1715 Hillburn Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
616-735-6240

There are so many places to explore at Blandford Nature Center as you learn about life in another era.

Visit the schoolhouse and walk the trails. Tap trees and sample various maple treats during the annual Sugarbush Festival. Blandford always has many classes, summer camp opportunities, festivals, and special events throughout the year. Admission is $3 per person.

Website | Our Review

michigan nature centers - blandford nature center


Calvin College Eco Preserve
3201 Burton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546 
616-526-6000

If you want to discover hundreds of plant species (including the smallest in the world!) and 250+ year old trees, Calvin College Eco Preserve is the place to visit. Explore 44 acres of forest and wetlands.

Enroll in one of the dozens of class offerings, including summer camp. Stop in to the Bunker Interpretive Center and discover different displays for each season.

FREE to visit.

Website | Our Review

michigan nature centers - calvin eco preserve


DeGraaf Nature Center
600 Graafschap Rd,
Holland, MI 49423
616-355-1057

The DeGraaf Nature Center is an 18-acre nature preserve. Its several habitats include meadow, upland forest, lowland forest, marsh and pond.

Visitors can view the live animals in the visitors center and watch birds at the feeders. In addition to native animal taxidermy, there are also native reptiles, amphibians, and owls. Stop into the Pioneer Cabin to learn about the settlement of West Michigan.

Loaner snowshoes are available for a small fee at the Visitors Center during business hours when there is at least four inches of snow on the ground. Many of the trails on the property are wheelchair, stroller and wagon-friendly.

FREE to visit.

michigan nature centers - degraaf nature center


Gillette Sand Dune Center at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park 
6585 Lake Harbor Road, Muskegon, MI 49441
231-798-3573

The Gillette Visitor Center at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park features exhibits to tell visitors about Michigan’s unique sand dune story.

Features include dune habitats in all four seasons, an animation station to see how sand dunes are formed, and an interactive computer station that features other sand dune parks in Michigan. FREE to visit.

michigan nature center - gillette at pj hoffmaster
Photo courtesy of Michigan Sea Grant.

Hemlock Crossing 
8115 W Olive Rd, West Olive, MI 49460
616-786-4847

Hemlock Crossing offers 239 acres of woods and wetlands along the Pigeon River. The Nature Center has exhibits, a wildlife den with critters and activities, and a wildlife viewing area. The Nature Center offers programs throughout the year as well as summer camps.

Snowshoe rentals are available for adults and children (4+) and guided walks are available throughout the winter. Kayak and canoe launch also available. FREE to visit.

Website | Our Review

michigan nature centers - hemlock crossings


Howard Christensen Nature Center
16190 Red Pine Dr., Kent City, MI 49330
616-675-3158

Howard Christensen Nature Center is on 135 acres of land.

It has plant species imported in the 1940s and found only a few places in Michigan, Snapping Turtle Jaws, geocaching, and miles of swamp and ponds.

Explore the animal displays and see things like 35 million-year-old fossils, Anaconda snakeskin, and hundreds of birds and animals.

Admission is $3 per person.

michigan nature center - howard christensen nature center


Hudsonville Nature Center 
2700 New Holland St, Hudsonville, MI 49426
616-669-0200

Stop by the Hudsonville Nature Center to explore 76 acres of woodlands, prairies and wetlands. FREE guided hiking tours available in the spring, summer, and fall.

FREE to visit.

michigan nature centers - hudsonville nature center


Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway
4214 56th Street, Holland, MI 49423

616-393-9453

The Outdoor Discovery Center is a 160-acre nature preserve on the south side of Holland. Different habitats visitors can explore include meadows, remnant dune, forests, and marshes. Don’t forget to stop into the visitor’s center to explore different wildlife exhibits, see live reptiles and amphibians, and watch the bird feeding station.

Take the kids outside to the nature play park and let them climb on balance beam logs, play in a human-sized eagle nest, climb a spider web, and soar on a zipline. The Outdoor Discovery Center offers many classes and programs throughout the year, including summer camp.

Many trails are wheelchair, stroller, and wagon friendly. Loaner snowshoes are available for a small fee when there is at least four inches of snow on the ground.

FREE to visit.

michigan nature centers - outdoor discovery center


Wittenbach Wege Center
11715 Vergennes, Lowell, Michigan 49331

616-987-2565

Wittenbach Wege Center is on 140 acres of forests, prairies, wetlands, and field.

There are trails, a visitor center and farm animals. Hike the peaceful trails, explore the taxidermy exhibits in the visitor center, and look for frogs and turtles on the pond. Visit with sheep, chickens, and pigs at the barn.

WWC is a great field trip location. FREE to visit.

Website | Our Review

michigan nature center - wittenbach wedge

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