Nearby Fun

Nature Centers

Area Nature Centers Become Partners
With Wild Ones

  • 1000 Islands Environmental Center The 1000 Islands Environmental Center 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.
  • Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve Formerly known as “Center Swamp”, this property was secured by Natural Areas Preservation Inc. in 1971 to be set aside for preservation. With a $33,000 donation the dedicated group of directors purchased the initial 488 acres of land that comprised the preserve. By March of 1979 the preserve grew to 775 acres and was named after the founder of Natural Areas Preservation Inc., Gordon Bubolz.
  • Heckrodt Wetlands Preserve Heckrodt Wetland Reserve is a 76-acre urban nature reserve with habitats including forested wetland, cattail marsh, open water, created prairie, open field, and upland forest. The 4,000 square foot Nature Center features a “Living Waters” exhibit with an indoor live wetland, and aquariums that are home to local fishes, crayfish, turtles, and snakes — surrounded by a display of mounted Wisconsin mammals and birds. Outdoor exhibits include a memorial butterfly garden and bird feeding area, as well as a pond, bog and stream complex. The Nature Center facilities feature a workshop/meeting room, a classroom amphitheater/Discovery Den, Solarium, and a resource library.
  • Horicon Marsh International Education Center The mission of the Friends of Horicon Marsh Education & Visitor Center is to provide financial and volunteer support for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources – Horicon Marsh’s efforts to educate visitors about the needs, values and uses of watersheds, wetlands and wildlife.
  • Mosquito Hill Nature Center The Mosquito Hill Nature Center is open year round with both indoor and outdoor opportunities on 430 acres adjacent to the Wolf River. Inside are natural history exhibits, hands-on displays, an art gallery, themed classrooms, meeting rooms, and a library. Find things to do on the event calendar or the Thrivent Art Gallery schedule. There are also various school programs available for any grade level.

Other Nearby Nature Centers

  • Brillion Nature Center Nestled within the Brillion Wildlife Area is the Brillion Nature Center, a non-profit 501(c)(3) environmental education center located on a 40 acre parcel leased from the WDNR and operated by the Brillion Nature Center Association, Inc.
  • High Cliff State Park – The Friends of High Cliff is a dedicated group of volunteers who work to benefit High Cliff State Park. We partner with staff and volunteers to complete environmental and beautification projects, sponsor educational and recreational activities for park visitors, and raise funds to support special park needs.
  • Ledge View Nature Center Friends of Ledge View Nature Center, Inc. began when some community members saw the beauty in a hill of woodland and ledges. Calumet County had reserved the property for quarrying; these people believed it should instead be dedicated and preserved as park land. In fact, they had already been using it with youth groups for environmental education.
  • Navarino Nature Center Navarino Nature Center (NNC), a private, non-profit organization, was established in April of 1986 by a group of residents concerned about ecology and environmental education. In January of 1987 in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) a site was selected on the 15,000-acre Navarino Wildlife Area.


  • The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Museum is just 20 minutes south, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Founded in 1953, the EAA is a growing and diverse organization of aviation enthusiasts whose interests include classic and antique airplanes, warbirds, aerobatic aircraft, ultralights, helicopters, contemporary aircraft, and building their own airplanes.
  • The Green Bay Packers and Lambeau Field are just a half-hour up the road in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Visit the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, Lambeau Field, and other points of interest.
  • Barlow Planetarium A world-class facility for 3-D excitement, the Barlow Planetarium offers giant full-color special effects and crystal-clear, five-channel, 10,000 watt THX surround sound with 48-foot projection dome.
  • Weis Earth Science Museum The official State Mineralogical Museum of Wisconsin.
  • Outagamie Museum Preserves and exhibits the history of Outagamie County and lower Fox River Valley. Operates the Charles A. Grignon Mansion, the Outagamie Museum, and gathers, interprets, and disseminates information related to the life and career of Harry Houdini who claimed Appleton, Wisconsin, as his home town.
  • Hearthstone Historic Museum House Tour the first home in the world lit by hydroelectricity.
  • Trails of the Fox Cities include some of the best walking trails in the state. The city of Appleton has recently been named the best walking city in Wisconsin by Prevention magazine and the American Podiatric Medical Association. Trails will take you from Fox Valley Technical College to the Wild Ones EcoCenter (5 mile walk).
  • Nature Net, the Environmental Learning Network, lists a multitude of environmentally focused destinations in the Fox Cities, including many nature centers and preserves.
  • Horicon If you are driving, plan to stop at Horicon Marsh or the International Crane Foundation.
  • National Railroad Museum The museum dates to 1956, with a mission to foster an understanding of railroading and its significance to American life. What began as an effort to acquire a single steam locomotive for a city park has grown into one of the largest rail museums in the nation. It now serves over 75,000 visitors annually.
  • The Fox River Mall, located between the FVTC and the EcoCenter, on the Fox Cities Trails system features over 180 stores like Macy’s, Younkers, Scheels, Pottery Barn, Coldwater Creek, Chico’s, Target, Ann Taylor, Abercrombie & Fitch, Aeropostale, and Build-a-Bear Workshop. Great choices for family dining include Northwoods Café, Fratello’s Restaurant & Brewery, Atlanta Bread Company and TGI Friday’s.