The 10 Best Nature Centers in Colorado!

Colorado is rich with natural spaces worth exploring, and there isn’t quite a better way to do so than through one its many nature centers. Nature centers hope to introduce and educate the public to the importance of conserving and protecting wildlife and native flora. Many of Colorado’s nature centers are surrounded by acres of trails and open space, giving visitors an opportunity to experience the state’s stunning outdoors. Here are our 10 favorites.     

1. Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, CO

The Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center, located in Colorado Springs, is one of the most popular nature centers in the state. The center itself has 30 interactive nature exhibits and a video explaining the creation of the Garden of the Gods’ famous rock formations. Also a National Natural Landmark, the rock formations are the main attraction. Stop in the nature center but also don’t forget to take a short hike in the park to visit one of Colorado’s most treasured natural landmarks. 

2. Plains Conservation Center, Aurora, West Bijou, CO

Step back in time with the Plains Conservation Center with a site in Aurora and West Bijou. This center is a relic of the past complete with a one-room schoolhouse, blacksmith workshop and genuine Cheyenne tipis. The learning center at the Plains Conservation Center is open to schools and groups by appointment. 

3. Bluff Lake Nature Center, Denver, CO

Bluff Lake Nature Center is Denver’s only nonprofit nature center. This outdoor facility is actually a wildlife refuge featuring a variety of wildlife habitats. On the premises, there are summer camps and outdoor environmental education programs. This nature center is perfect for a family-friendly outing. 

4. Bear Creek Nature Center, Colorado Springs, CO

Bear Creek Nature Center is one of Colorado’s first nature centers. The surrounding nature of Bear Creek truly connects visitors to Colorado’s pristine wilderness. Learn about honeybees, black bears or the state’s aquatic life. There are guided and self-guided tours along the two miles of trails at this Colorado Springs nature center. 

5. Lookout Mountain Nature Center, Golden, CO

Located in Golden, the Lookout Mountain Nature Center is an ecological playground. The environmentally-friendly building, with a recycled paper ceiling and upcycled boxcar floor, is complemented by the 110-acre preserve surrounding the structure. Inside the center, enjoy wildlife dioramas and experience free educational programs every summer. The gentle hiking trails through meadows and Ponderosa pines are perfect for kids and adults alike. 

6. Majestic View Nature Center, Arvada, CO

The Majestic View Nature Center in Arvada is located on 80 acres of picturesque land. The 3,000-square-foot center has interactive exhibits focusing on wildlife and plant life. Children will enjoy arts and craft classes as well as educational story times during the summer months. Don’t forget to take a stroll outside, which boasts views of a lake, wetlands and Colorado prairie grass. 

7. Carson Nature Center, Littleton, CO

Along the South Platte River in Littleton is the Carson Nature Center and South Platte Park. With over 880 acres of open space and aquariums and terrariums full of live plants and animals, the Carson Nature Center is a great destination for an educational outing. The most popular exhibit is the center’s 12-foot long table allowing children to create their own town or forest, complete with dams, sand and other ecological props. 

8. Morrison Nature Center, Aurora, CO

The Morrison Nature Center is located on the 200-acre Star K Ranch in Aurora. Before even setting foot in the center, enjoy the scenic nature of the ranch, which is home to mule deer, turtles and a variety of birds. The center offers a variety of exhibits focusing on Colorado wildlife and plant species. 

9. Nature and Raptor Center of Pueblo, Pueblo, CO

The Nature and Raptor Center of Pueblo is much more than a nature center. This facility works as a wildlife refuge for birds of prey with nearly 200 injured or abandoned birds admitted to the facility every year. Visit the center for education programs about these fascinating bird species. 

10. Audubon Center at Chatfield, Littleton, CO

Head to Chatfield State Park in Littleton to experience the Audubon Center. The center encourages a hands-on approach to nature. Since it is complete with binoculars, microscopes and other educational equipment, visitors can truly experience this center and the critical ecological habitat that surrounds it. 

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21901 East Hampden Avenue, Aurora, CO
Our Mission The Plains Conservation Center exists to bring the natural wonder of the prairie into the realm of personal experience by: PRESERVING... Read More
11247 Castle Creek Road, Aspen, CO
Mission Statement: To inspire a life-long commitment to the earth by educating for environmental responsibility, conserving and restoring the balan... Read More
6115 South Santa Fe Drive, Littleton, CO
Mission: The mission of The Hudson Foundation is “to serve the community by providing a forum for educational, cultural and artistic events... Read More
9308 South Wadsworth Blvd, Littleton, CO
MissionAudubon Society of Greater Denver advocates for the environment, connecting people with nature through education, conservation and researchÂ... Read More
2199 South University Blvd, Denver, CO
The University of Denver's Chester M Alter Arboretum was created in 1999 under the leadership of then-Chancellor Daniel L. Ritchie to honor the leg... Read More
530 South Frontage Road, Vail, CO
Mission Statement"To inspire a passion for plants in high altitude communities through beautification, conservation, education, and research progra... Read More
1800 Pavilion Drive, Montrose, CO
History:On a warm August evening in 1995, a large group of people responded to an ad in the local paper by attending a meeting to discuss the possi... Read More
5200 Nature Center Road, Pueblo, CO
The Nature & Raptor Center of Pueblo is located in beautiful Rock Canyon on the banks of the Arkansas River. A delicate blend of aquatic, ripar... Read More
13401 Picadilly Road, Brighton, CO
‹ ‹ ‹At the Barr Lake Nature Center, visitors can see displays about the park’s wildlife and have their questions answered by a naturalist. ... Read More
US highway 24, Lake George, CO
About Us: Indigo Mountain Nature Center is a sanctuary for captive-born wildlife, exotic and alternative pets nestled in the mountains west of Col... Read More
910 Colorow Road, Golden, CO
About Us: Lookout Mountain Nature Center staff and volunteer naturalists inspire kids and adults to connect with the natural world and learn more ... Read More
16002 East Smith Road, Aurora, CO
Morrison Nature Center is your gateway to discovering Aurora's true nature. Consult our library of field guides, reference books, and natural histo... Read More
2000 Old Stage Road, Florissant, CO
Mission Statement:To provide uncompromising customer service, quality accommodations and food, and educational programs that enhance a sense of sel... Read More
601 Vail Valley Drive, Vail, CO
About Us:A log cabin perched between an alpine meadow and the forested bank of Gore Creek houses the Vail Nature Center. This seven-acre facility i... Read More
20 Lakeview Drive Unit 107, Nederland, CO
About Us:Wild Bear Mountain Ecology Center is the only non-profit nature center in Boulder County.Mission Statement:Since 1995, Wild Bear’s m... Read More
450 East Lionshead Circle, Vail, CO
Coveted as one of the largest ski resorts in the world with more than 5,200 acres of skiable terrain, seven legendary Back Bowls spanning seven mil... Read More
7030 Garrison Street, Arvada, CO
About Us:Majestic View Nature Center and Community Park is a place to learn about, understand, and appreciate the area's natural features and cultu... Read More
641 Struthers Avenue, Grand Junction, CO
Our Mission:The Gardens connect visitors with the beauty of the Colorado River Basin and Plateau by providing opportunities for education, science,... Read More
180 MacGregor Lane, Estes Park, CO
To continue operation of the MacGregor Ranch as a high mountain historic working cattle ranch and to support youth education. This mission will be ... Read More
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