Nature Center

Grand Reopening

December 18

We are very excited to welcome you back to the improved Conservancy Nature Center! We just completed a monumental $5 million renovation and expansion of the Susan and William Dalton Discovery Center, which now includes the John & Carol Walter Discovery Wing - adding new interactive exhibits and galleries exploring areas of critical importance to the region.
Kids Playing Walter

NATURE CENTER HOURS

Starting December 18

Tuesday - Saturday (Closed Sunday & Monday)

9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. 

See new exhibits and revisit your favorites!

Between the classic Touch Tank and Little Explorer Play Zone to the new Augmented Reality and Science on a Sphere exhibits, the Dalton Discovery Center has something for everyone.

New Discoveries

We've added multiple new exhibits to the Dalton Discovery Center! Be sure to check out the Invasive Species and Climate Change Galleries inside the new John & Carol Walter Discovery Wing.

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Electric Boat Tours

Free with Nature Center admission. All aboard from the Allyn Family Dock! Take a leisurely, informative, and fun 45-minute cruise along the beautiful Gordon River here in Naples.

Fun For the Whole Family

There's something for everyone at the Conservancy Nature Center! The new John & Carol Walter Discovery Wing features interactive educational experiences, like the New Discoveries Lab!

COSWF Lab Girls

Become a member and save!

With a Conservancy membership, you'll earn free admission to the Nature Center for at least 2 adults and 4 children. Click below to learn more about the other perks of Conservancy membership!

Additional Programs at the Nature Center

Daily Talks

Our Education Team will lead two daily talks on the deck here at the Nature Center! Join us to learn about invasive species here in Southwest Florida and our work with them.

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Invasive Species Talks

11:15 a.m. & 1:15 p.m.

Little Explorers Program Schedule

Every Thursday at 10am in 2022

The Little Explorer Play Zone is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day the Nature Center is open. We also have special programs available on select days. The specific dates are listed below.

Little Explorer Mom and Daughter
Best for kids 18-months to 5-years-old

Bring your little ones to our Little Explorer Play Zone to participate in multi-sensory, interactive activities, stories, and crafts. You will have the opportunity to learn about topics that relate to our mission of protecting Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife, and future. Little Explorers will also get to meet ambassador animals and explore the entire Conservancy campus!

Nature

January 6: The Mixed-up Chameleon

Hear the story of how a chameleon gets all mixed up by wishing he was something else and discover how each animal has its own unique talents. Explorers will design their own mixed-up critter deciding along the way how it would live successfully. Lastly, meet one of our animal ambassadors up close and learn its survival strategies.

           

January 13: Over in the Forest

Experience a hands-on activity while reading about what critters we might find living in the forest and how they move! Learn about animal tracks, and create your very own tracking guide!

 

January 20: Where Should Turtle Be?

Learn about ALL turtles you might find here in Southwest Florida! How are they the same? How are they different? Also learn about how the Conservancy helps Sea Turtles in Southwest Florida, and how YOU can help, too!

 

January 27: A House for Hermit Crab

Join us as we read about a hermit crab that decorates its shell so he can blend into its habitat and how he makes friends along the way.  Little Explorers will help the crab decorate its shell and then make one to take home!

 

Land Animals

February 3: A Color of His Own

Come hear the story of a chameleon in search of his very own color and the special friends he meets along the way! Little Explorers will learn about camouflage and get to create a camouflage craft to take home.

 

February 10: In the Tall,Tall Grass

Come discover what lives in the seemingly “empty” field! You never know what you might find by using your senses, such as seeing, touching, hearing, and smelling! After that, Little Explorers can become scientists as we explore what can be found in nature around the Conservancy. This program takes place outside the usual playroom, so come join us for a unique experience!

 

February 17: Oopsie Otter

Join us in reading about Oopsie Otter and her playful pals! You otter be ready to dance and play, as we will sing silly songs and act just as an otter would while slipping through our rivers!

           

February 24: Bear Crossings

Come hike our trails through the eyes of a Florida black bear as we move like a bear and search for food. Explorers will also paint bear tracks and compare them to their own! We can bear-ly wait for you to join us!

 

Bugs

March 10: Bugs Bugs Bugs

Bees and butterflies are both flying insects, but they each have their own unique characteristics. Did you know bees have a special way of communicating with each other using dance? Or that almost all butterflies have symmetrical patterns on their wings? Come learn the science of these crazy critters with a healthy dose of music, dancing and art.

 

March 17: Creaky Crickets

Get familiar with our native Florida insects and learn that there’s nothing creepy about these crawlies! Little Explorers will get a hands-on look at what it’s like to be an entomologist by finding, catching, and identifying insects from our pretend bug habitat.

 

March 24: I Love Bugs!

Learn which bugs fly, crawl, and jump and then move like your favorite bug! Sort and match our bugs and make a bug craft of your very own.

 

March 31: The Grouchy Lady Bug

Help our ladybug friend tell time as she goes on a wild adventure! Make your own ladybug clock craft so you can follow along with the story!

 

Our Earth

April 7: Over in the Ocean

Join us as we explore the ocean and all of the creatures that live within! Do you know the difference between fresh and salt water? After our story, join us for a guided tour of our Patch Reef tank and touch tank encounter. Little Explorers will also be making a sea creature craft to take home!

           

April 14: The Busy Tree

Discover how many friends you might find living in just a single tree! Help us put together our own “busy tree” and meet one of our tree-climbing animal ambassadors!

 

April 21: All the Way to the Ocean

Hear about how two best friends made a difference in what travels all the way to the ocean. Explorers will discover how they too can reduce the amount of trash in our oceans and take home a fun upcycled craft!

 

April 28: The Lorax

Come join us in reading about The Lorax and his Truffula trees that he is trying to save! Little explorers will play a matching game and make their own Truffula tree to care for.

 

Endangered Species

May 5: Eyes on Endangered Species

Listen to riddles and rhymes during this fun story to discover endangered species around the world. Keep your eyes open as we play a matching game to learn about animals that need our help in our own backyards and even meet one up-close during a live animal encounter!

 

May 12: Felina’s New Home

Felina the Florida Panther has had her home invaded by people, trash and noise! With help from biologists, Felina and her friends finally find a quiet and clean new home. Learn about Florida Panthers, their habitat, and make a craft to take home!

 

May 19: Sea Turtle Tales

Join us as we read about the adventures of Gary and Harry the sea turtles and learn all about the effects pollution has on Florida’s sea turtles. Afterwards, we’ll visit our Patch Reef tank and get an up close look at our resident Loggerhead sea turtle!

           

May 26: Fabulous Frogs

Sometimes we think it’s better to be somebody else but in the end, it’s best just to be YOU! Learn alongside with Frog about different animals and how they each have a different but very important role to play in nature.

 

Ocean Animals

June 2: Jenny Jellyfish

Join us in reading the story of Jenny and Jiggly, two moon jellies who get in a lot of trouble, but the helpful humans came to the rescue and save their lives! After the story we will sing the moon jelly song and make one to take home!

 

June 9: Henry the Manatee

Come along as we learn all about Florida’s state marine mammal—the Manatee! Help us discover what a manatee eats and where they live. After the story, stick around for a fun activity and craft!

 

June 16: Mr. Seahorse

Put on your suit of armor, as we learn just how tough seahorses are! Make your own father seahorse to take home, as we take part in the incredible journey of how seahorses raise their young!

 

June 23: Fabulous Fishes

Dive into the scaly and slippery world of fish!  From a seahorse floating with seagrass to an angelfish hiding near the coral reef, dive in as we count just how many FINtastic fish we can see during a visit to our discovery center!  Take home your own decorative fishy craft and learn just how many fish there are in the sea.

 

June 30: Commotion in the Ocean

Learn about the many different animals that live in the ocean, from barnacles to blue whales, through fun, under the sea rhymes. Then join us for a guided touch tank encounter. Also, create your very own whale to take home!

 

Nature

July 7: The Mixed-up Chameleon

Hear the story of how a chameleon gets all mixed up by wishing he was something else and discover how each animal has its own unique talents. Explorers will design their own mixed-up critter deciding along the way how it would live successfully. Lastly, meet one of our animal ambassadors up close and learn its survival strategies.

 

July 14: Over in the Forest

Experience a hands-on activity while reading about what critters we might find living in the forest and how they move! Learn about animal tracks, and create your very own tracking guide!

 

July 21: Where Should Turtle Be?

Learn about ALL turtles you might find here in Southwest Florida! How are they the same? How are they different? Also learn about how the Conservancy helps Sea Turtles in Southwest Florida, and how YOU can help, too!

 

July 28: A House for Hermit Crab

Join us as we read about a hermit crab that decorates its shell so he can blend into its habitat and how he makes friends along the way.  Little Explorers will help the crab decorate its shell and then make one to take home!

 

Land Animals

August 4: A Color of His Own

Come hear the story of a chameleon in search of his very own color and the special friends he meets along the way! Little Explorers will learn about camouflage and get to create a camouflage craft to take home.

 

August 11: In the Tall,Tall Grass

Come discover what lives in the seemingly “empty” field! You never know what you might find by using your senses, such as seeing, touching, hearing, and smelling! After that, Little Explorers can become scientists as we explore what can be found in nature around the Conservancy. This program takes place outside the usual playroom, so come join us for a unique experience!

 

August 18: Oopsie Otter

Come join us in reading about Oopsie Otter and her playful pals! You otter be ready to dance and play, as we will sing silly songs and act just as an otter would while slipping through our rivers!

 

August 25: Bear Crossings

Come hike our trails through the eyes of a Florida black bear as we move like a bear and search for food. Explorers will also paint bear tracks and compare them to their own! We can bear-ly wait for you to join us!

Ribbon Cutting Event Sponsor

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Grand Reopening Sponsors