Nature’s Wonders: 5 Family-Friendly Nature Centers in Metro Detroit

July 19, 2023
Kayakers on the Detroit River

Photo courtesy of Detroit Outpost

Metro Detroit is home to some of the most fun and interactive nature centers in the state. Many of these locations aim to educate their visitors about natural resources, nature, and how to maintain our environment in positive ways. The best part is that these nature centers are fun for families with kids of all ages. The next time you’re looking for something fun to do as a family, check out one of these family-friendly nature centers in Metro Detroit!

West Bloomfield Woods Nature Preserve

4655 Arrowhead Road, West Bloomfield Township

West Bloomfield Woods Nature Preserve was the first in Michigan to receive recognition as an Urban Wildlife Sanctuary from the National Institute for Urban Wildlife. The 162-acre preserve is frequented by a wide variety of wildlife including over 100 bird species, white-tail deer, red fox, and coyote. This nature preserve is great for hiking with the entire family. Their hiking trails are unpaved and include benches as well as a lookout over the wetlands.


Deer in the forrest of West Bloomfield Woods Nature Preserve
Photo courtesy of West Bloomfield Woods Nature Preserve

DNR Outdoor Adventure Center

1801 Atwater Street, Detroit

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The DNR Outdoor Adventure Center is a great place to learn about the outdoors while still being in the middle of the city. They have plenty of hands-on activities, exhibits, and simulators to make it truly feel like you’re spending time outside. At the Outdoor Adventure Center, you can walk behind and touch a waterfall, step into a fishing boat and reel in a big fish, hit the trail on a mountain bike or snowmobile, and much more. Visitors can also learn about how the DNR manages forests, wildlife, and fish. 

Detroit Outpost

12550 Avondale Street, Detroit

Detroit Outpost specializes in guided kayak excursions throughout the Detroit Riverfront, Belle Isle, and historical canal districts. They like to keep groups of paddlers small with their open paddles and also offer private paddles that are perfect for parties and team building. Detroit Outpost has several different routes for their paddles and loves to highlight the Belle Isle wetlands and Detroit sunsets.  

Kayaker on the Detroit River
Photo courtesy of Detroit Outpost

Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve

333 North Hill Circle, Rochester Hills

Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve encompasses 19 acres of land in Rochester Hills. The preserve offers environmental education to residents through programs and classes, both on-site and in the classroom. It is free to walk the trails and enjoy the nature center at Dinosaur Hill. They also host annual events, opportunities for field trips, and a community garden.

Trailhead at Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve
Trailhead at Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve

Leslie Science & Nature Center

1831 Traver Road, Ann Arbor

The Leslie Science & Nature Center is located in a public park and is primarily outdoors. Visitors can walk around to see the wildlife, ponds, and plants that are on the property. You can visit the raptor enclosures and learn about these incredible birds or take a stroll inside the Critter House to see many species native to the region up close. When it’s time for the kids to burn off some energy, head to the Nature Playscape for imaginative play created by natural elements.