Austin Nature & Science Center
Located on the western edge of Zilker Park, the Austin Nature & Science Center provides educational and recreational programs that help children, families, and adults learn more about the natural environment. Founded in 1960, the facility was originally housed in the Deep Eddy Bathhouse but relocated to its current home in Zilker Park in 1987. This 80-acre facility provides many opportunities to engage in nature-based activities. Call your friends and family to explore this destination at 2389 Stratford Dr, Austin, TX 78746.
In addition to its indoor exhibits, the ANSC offers numerous outdoor attractions and recreation activities. The facility is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more programming information, visit the website. The facility also hosts various events throughout the year.
Visitors can explore the natural sciences in the Naturalist Workshop or the Discovery Lab. Seven mini-labs allow visitors to create and learn more about the natural world. Guests can also explore a variety of specimens, including fossils, insects, and animals. The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center features rescued animals, including birds of prey. These animals are injured and cannot be returned to the wild. The center accepts donations to help fund its rehabilitation efforts.
The ANSC also hosts several special events throughout the year. Some of these include Austin Nature Day, Star Party, and Family Archery Day. There are also some educational programs, including one that helps students understand the butterfly life cycle. These events are offered at a range of times, such as spring, summer, and fall. Some of the activities include an arts and crafts program, a butterfly release, and a hike around Lady Bird Lake. Other events are aimed at introducing the community to the park’s rangers.
The ANSC also provides a wide range of educational programs, such as camps, preschool programs, and school field trips. Several of these programs are free of charge. Those who would like to enroll in a program may contact the visitor service office. Those who are interested in participating in a camp or other adventure experience should register before visiting the ANSC.
Some of the camps, such as Tadpole Camps and Frog Camps, are for children ages four to five and seven to eight, respectively. Others, such as Pollywog Camps, are for older kids. Those who are interested in participating in the Counselor in Training course should also contact the visitor service office. These courses are a one-day training session for teens who want to assist with camps or other activities.
The Austin Nature and Science Center has many animal exhibits. These exhibits offer visitors the chance to see reptiles and small mammals such as bobcats. There is also a Dino Pit, which allows children to dig up and examine fossil casts. They can also follow the paths of fossil hunters in the Dino Pit. The facility also houses an insect exhibit, including a honeybee hive.
The ANSC has also offered outdoor activities since it opened. For example, the Eco-Detective Trail invites visitors to discover Austin wildlife. In addition, the Visitor’s Pavilion includes a trade counter where visitors can purchase items they find in the exhibit. There are also traveling exhibitions on nature and science that are organized regularly. These exhibitions are listed on the ANSC’s exhibition website.
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