Welcome to Harris Nature Center where nature and exploration join to bring out the explorer at every age
Adopt an Animal
Surround Yourself in Nature at the Gathering Circle in Harris Nature Center
Be a Kid at the Exploration Area in Harris Nature Center
Spend some time with friends at Harris Nature Center
  • Harris Nature Center

    • How can I find out more about the Harris Nature Center Foundation?

    • What is the History of the Harris Nature Center?

    • What is the Mission of the Harris Nature Center?

Turtles at Harris Nature Center Camps
Kids and Moms with Nets
Frogs and Friends Camp at Harris Nature Center
Fishing at Harris Nature Center Camps

Featured Event

If your children are curious about the outdoor world, love exploring and discovering, then they will want to attend the Nature Connection Summer Camp! The full camp brochure is to the left on this page, under Flyers. Enroll now using the orange button in the upper right corner of this page.

All of the camps include walks, nature activities, games, crafts, stories and a camp tee shirt. Many camps (depending on age group and camp theme) may include insect hunting, time with live animals, river exploring, archery or geo-caching.

There are camps for toddlers (with an adult), preschoolers and kids going into Kindergarten - 6th grades. There is also a Counselor-in-Training camp for kids going into 6th - 8th grades. Camp times are generally 9 am - 12 pm for preschoolers and 9 am - 3 pm for older kids. Toddler camp times vary. 

Harris Nature Center Flyers

Harris Nature Center
  • Harris Nature Center

    Harris Nature Center
    1. Address:3998 VanAtta Rd.
      Okemos, MI 48864
    2. Phone:517.349.3866
    1. Canoe and Kayak Launch
    2. Drinking Fountain
    3. Fishing Dock
    4. Natural Trails
    5. Nature Building
    6. Nature Exploration Area
    7. Open Space
    8. Parking
    9. Paved Trail(s)
    10. Picnic Area(s)
    11. Portable Toilet
    12. Rest Rooms
    13. River Overlook
    1. Nature Center

Meridian Riverfront Trail Map and Brochure 

The Harris Nature Center makes up 48 acres of a larger park called Meridian Riverfront Park. This property was purchased in 1986 with Land and Water Conservation funds. The Harris Nature Center opened its doors to the public on July 22, 1997. The nature center offers environmental activities and outdoor recreation opportunities focusing on protecting, promoting and interpreting the Red Cedar River. The building offers interpretive exhibits, live Michigan animal displays, nature murals by local artists and a variety of environmental programs for schools and the general public. Park amenities include a 1/2 mile paved trail, natural trails that connect to Eastgate Park and a Nature Exploration Area where people can intuitively interact with nature.  

Trails are open every day from dawn until dusk.

Nature Center Building Hours (Except Holidays): 

• Monday - Friday: 9 am - 5 pm
• Saturday: 9 am - 4 pm
• Sunday: 12 pm - 4 pm

Meridian Riverfront Park Map

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Explore the Trails

Take a relaxing walk on the Harris Nature Center trails, following the color-coded maps posted along the way for your reference. In summer, the trails of the Harris Nature Center are lush with plants and insects. Watch for dragonflies and butterflies to go dancing by as you stop to study the scouring rush, an ancient non-flowering plant known to many as snake grass. It may remind you of bamboo because of the circular ridges on its stem, but they are not even in the same family! Bamboo is a grass (think of the leaves). Scouring rush does not have leaves and is in the family called horsetails.

Discover Wildlife In Nature

Visitors to the Nature Center can discover wildlife along the trails, as well as the wondrous colors of nature during each season. Families are drawn to the Harris Nature Center from around the region seeking opportunities to discover nature and animals.

Enjoy Being A Kid at the Nature Exploration Area

Visitors can interact with nature in a way that allows them to find real Michigan fossils from millions of years ago, engage in imaginative play in the Beaver Lodge, pretend to be a spider climbing a human sized spider's web and many more discovery moments at the Harris Nature Center Foundation's Nature Exploration Area.

Pack the kids and a picnic lunch in the car and make a trip out of it for a great outdoor family STAYcation anytime between dawn and dusk.

See More at the Harris Nature Center Foundation

Adopt an Animal

Adopting an animal is a great way to support the nature center’s live animal educational programs. The Harris Nature Center houses several species of animals that are permanently injured or unable to return to the wild for another reason. Your support will help to ensure that these animals receive the proper care and nutrition they need to remain healthy and give you the satisfaction of knowing you are helping all animals flourish at the nature center.


HNC Nature Building History

See how the nature building evolved from a simple house into the educational center it is today.