The Great Plains Nature Center provides an educational facility for the public to learn about the natural resources, outdoor recreation, wildlife and habitats of the Great Plains. We are committed to providing opportunities for the public to learn about natural resources, especially the wildlife and plant species, of the Great Plains region, thus helping visitors develop an appreciation for wildlife and the environment, and promoting sound stewardship of natural resources. Admission: FREE. Open Monday - Saturday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Closed on Sundays, plus City, State, and Federal holidays.
Great Plains Nature Center FAQ
Q: I have small children. Is there anything at the Great Plains Nature Center that would be a good fit for my kids?
Absolutely! There's no admission, so a visit to the Great Plains Nature Center is pocket-book and budget-friendly. The nature center is on the doorstep of Chisholm Creek Park, home to a great variety of wild animals, such as ducks, geese, turtles, fish, and other cool critters. Inside, the Koch Habitat Hall features a variety of interactive exhibits that are kid-friendly, and everyone loves the 2,200-gallon aquarium with native Kansas fishes. The Bob Gress Wildlife Observatory is the perfect place to rest, check out the busy bee hive, and watch wildlife through the windows.
Q: Do you offer special programs for early childhood kids?
You bet! During the school year (September - May), our staff and volunteers offer the weekly program: Little Nature Lovers. Geared for kids aged 3-5, the program usually features a nature-theamed story, craft, and activity. This program is on Thursdays, 9:30 - 10:30 a.m. FREE.
Year round we offer Story Time on Wednesday mornings at 11 a.m. FREE. Staff and volunteers read nature-themed stories to visitors of all ages!
Q: Is there anything special we can do in Chisholm Creek Park?
In addition to the nearly 2 miles of accessible trails through Chisholm Creek Park - friendly for strollers and wheelchairs; bikes and skateboards are not allowed! - you can check-out a "Let's Go Outside" backpack from our Owl's Nest gift shop (Monday - Sat, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.) and use the contents to explore & investigate all the cool things in the park! It's FREE, and everytime you borrow a backpack, you're sure to discover something new in the park.
Before heading into the park, purchase at our front desk an ice-cream cone filled with turtle food for only 25 cents! Head out and you'll soon find a whole host of new "friends" ready to eat the nutrious food: turtles, ducks, geese, and fish!
Q: Do you offer birthday parties?
Yes! The Great Plains Nature Center is a great place to have a birthday party for youngsters 12 and under!
All parties include 2 hours access to the classroom and will have a nature education theme. The activity will vary based on the season, weather and children. Our naturalist will create the best experience possible, based on these factors.
Availability of our classroom can be limited. Reservations must be made at least one full week in advance. Bookings are available on Saturday & Sunday afternoons, 1 p.m. or 3 p.m., only.
For additional information on costs, themes, package deals, and how to register for a birthday party, visit www.gpnc.org
Q: Do you offer school field trips and programs for home schoolers?
Yes and Yes!
Staff naturalists work with all educators - private, public, and home school - to create the perfect outdoor, environmental education experience for your class or group. FREE. Specific arrangements are made for each group and we do our best to accommodate all grades and groups. If you're interested in nature and the out-of-doors, check us out!
During the school year (September - May), we offer a FREE program designed for home school groups on the first Monday of every month, beginning at 1:30 p.m. These programs are held in The Coleman Auditorium, last approximately 45 minutes, and typically feature live animals and information about the animals and their habitat needs.