Inspiring exploration, appreciation, and conservation of our natural world.

Boardman River Nature Center

COVID-19 UPDATE: The Boardman River Nature Center will be CLOSED starting Monday, March 16th until further notice. All programming through April 6th has been canceled. District staff is working remotely. We appreciate your understanding, and please check back for the most up-to-date information. 

Built in 2008 on the banks of the Boardman River on the Grand Traverse Natural Education Reserve, the Boardman River Nature Center is your gateway to the natural world. The Nature Center offers an interpretive gallery  and rotating exhibits that change with the seasons. The displays encourage interaction and feature Michigan’s most interesting fauna and flora. Operated by the Grand Traverse Conservation District, the Nature Center allows us to deliver education programs right at the source, on the doorstep to a 505-acre living laboratory.

Hours and Location – The Boardman River Nature Center is open to the public Monday through Friday (10:00am-4:00pm), with a suggested donation of $5.00.

Find us at 1450 Cass Rd., Traverse City, MI 49685 (1.5 miles south of South Airport Rd.)

Education Programs – From our headquarters at the Boardman River Nature Center, we craft nature experiences that connect children, adults and families to the natural world.  These experiences not only enrich the quality of our lives, but also empower us to play a personal role in protecting the natural resources that make our region so special. Special Programming could include:

  • Scout Programs
  • Customizable Field Trips
  • Homeschool Groups

Interested in having a program at the Nature Center? Fill out the Program Inquiry Form and a staff member will be in contact with you soon.

Naturally Wild Birthday Parties – Have your child’s next birthday at the Nature Center! Click here for more information!

Things to do at the Nature Center – Discovery Packs! Rent a Discovery Pack and hit the trails! Take your pick from ten different nature themed packs, and discover what the natural world has to offer. *Packs must stay on Nature Center grounds*

Discovery Packs include activities such as: File_001 (7)
Hands on activities
Identification guides
Story books
Nature specimens
Trail guides
Trail activities,
and more!

File_000 (10)Discovery Pack themes include:
Amazing Amphibians & Reptiles
Birding Bonanza
Budding Botanist
Fossil Frenzy
Freshwater Fun
Insect Investigator
Life Cycle Exploration
Magnificent Mammals
Nature Detective
Outdoor Adventure

Love a certain piece of a Discovery Pack? Several pack items are available for purchase at our Nature Store.

Volunteer at the Nature Center – From Nature Center docents to trail stewards to education assistants, volunteer opportunities abound at the Boardman River Nature Center. For more information, please visit our volunteer page.

Richard M. O’Neil Nature Library – Browse for and borrow books from our Nature Library. Check out our inventory list and come by the Nature Center and exchange your information for the books or field guides of your choosing.

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