Great Plains Nature Center

Great Plains Nature Center A Kansas wildlife habitat in the city. Bird watching. Paved hiking trails. Discovery programs. Indoor wildlife observatory. Connecting people with nature.
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The Great Plains Nature Center is a cooperative project between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, and the City of Wichita Department of Park and Recreation. We offer experiences that connect people to the environment, wildlife and conservation measures. The adjacent 240-acre Chisholm Creek Park provides our outdoor classroom. More than two miles of wheelchair-accessible trails and boardwalks meander through riparian woodlands, prairies, streams and wetlands. An indoor wildlife observatory lets visitors relax in front of a stream of cattail-ringed wetland, where beaver, muskrat, ducks and graceful egrets make regular appearances.

01/23/2020
Splish Splash

What's better than dipping your toes in the water? Dipping your tail feathers.

Friendly reminder that applications need to be submitted no later than 5pm tomorrow. Come work with us!
01/23/2020

Friendly reminder that applications need to be submitted no later than 5pm tomorrow. Come work with us!

WE'RE HIRING!!!!! If you have an interest in wildlife/outdoor education, you're outgoing, self-motivated, work well with others and you've got a college degree in some sort of natural resource-related or interpretive outdoor education field then have we got a deal for you. The Friends of the Great Plains Nature Center is hiring a full-time Naturalist to present programs to kids and adults via several platforms on a wide variety of wildlife-related topics, work with other staff and volunteers to conduct special events for thousands of people and welcome and visit with walk-in visitors to the Great Plains Nature Center. Applicants need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively, both orally and in writing, and have a strong education and experience background in wildlife/outdoor education. For a complete job description and minimum requirements, follow the link below.

If you have any questions about the position, contact Great Plains Nature Center Director Marc Murrell at (316) 683-5499, ext. 104. If you meet the minimum requirements listed in the job description and are interested in applying simply send a cover letter and resume to Marc at [email protected]. The deadline to apply is Jan. 24, 2020 at 5 p.m.

https://gpnc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/FGPNC-Naturalist-Job-Description-1-7-20.pdf

01/21/2020

The winter weather that's headed our way has got us day dreaming of greener (and warmer) days.

We also miss our resourceful skunk buddy who utilized the bird feeders as much as the birds. Have you seen her/him lately? Because we haven't 😭

We're closed tomorrow in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We'll resume regular business hours on Tuesday, Jan....
01/19/2020

We're closed tomorrow in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We'll resume regular business hours on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

When a tree falls in the woods does it make a sound? You betcha and lots of critters hear it and they quickly begin to m...
01/16/2020

When a tree falls in the woods does it make a sound?

You betcha and lots of critters hear it and they quickly begin to make use of the newly created habitat. With the cold weather coming in, it's the perfect place for little things to hunker down under.

Do you know we have a Walking Book Club now and that it's free to join?"Crow Planet" by Lyanda Lynn Haupt is their first...
01/16/2020

Do you know we have a Walking Book Club now and that it's free to join?

"Crow Planet" by Lyanda Lynn Haupt is their first book. The club will meet Friday, March 6, 2-4 p.m. for the walk and book discussion.

Don't forget, you can pre-order through the gift shop and receive 10-20% off. Email [email protected] by Monday, Jan. 21 for pre-orders. Purchase through the gift shop is not required to participate.

Want a taste of the volunteer life at GPNC?Come do the DEW with us at our Docent Education Workshop. This month, we talk...
01/15/2020

Want a taste of the volunteer life at GPNC?

Come do the DEW with us at our Docent Education Workshop. This month, we talk about Tracks and How to Read Them and break down how to guide a hike. Join us Thursday, Jan. 23 from 6-8pm in the classroom.

For those of you who have driven by a patch of wildflowers going 70mph and wondered what that purple blur was. Also, thi...
01/14/2020
Finally, A Practical Guide for Roadside Wildflower Viewing

For those of you who have driven by a patch of wildflowers going 70mph and wondered what that purple blur was.

Also, this is just amazing.

https://prairieecologist.com/2020/01/13/finally-a-practical-guide-for-roadside-wildflower-viewing/?fbclid=IwAR268rPR2_AfGgxlTIy0NqJ7q2lCpcNork-TBpcJvugcIM2Gb0pzPm4GIws

If you’re a fan of wildflowers, I’m sure you’ve noticed the same thing I have – all the field guides out there have one massive flaw. They’re designed for people who a…

Even in the winter you can find pretty nature things to photograph. Turkey Tail mushrooms (Trametes versicolor)
01/13/2020

Even in the winter you can find pretty nature things to photograph.

Turkey Tail mushrooms (Trametes versicolor)

WE'RE HIRING!!!!! If you have an interest in wildlife/outdoor education, you're outgoing, self-motivated, work well with...
01/08/2020

WE'RE HIRING!!!!! If you have an interest in wildlife/outdoor education, you're outgoing, self-motivated, work well with others and you've got a college degree in some sort of natural resource-related or interpretive outdoor education field then have we got a deal for you. The Friends of the Great Plains Nature Center is hiring a full-time Naturalist to present programs to kids and adults via several platforms on a wide variety of wildlife-related topics, work with other staff and volunteers to conduct special events for thousands of people and welcome and visit with walk-in visitors to the Great Plains Nature Center. Applicants need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively, both orally and in writing, and have a strong education and experience background in wildlife/outdoor education. For a complete job description and minimum requirements, follow the link below.

If you have any questions about the position, contact Great Plains Nature Center Director Marc Murrell at (316) 683-5499, ext. 104. If you meet the minimum requirements listed in the job description and are interested in applying simply send a cover letter and resume to Marc at [email protected]. The deadline to apply is Jan. 24, 2020 at 5 p.m.

https://gpnc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/FGPNC-Naturalist-Job-Description-1-7-20.pdf

You guys. Our black widow laid two more egg sacs bringing her total up to 4 egg sacs (that we know of), they can make up...
01/07/2020

You guys. Our black widow laid two more egg sacs bringing her total up to 4 egg sacs (that we know of), they can make up to 9 sacs in a summer. Each one can contain between 20 and 900 eggs. WE ARE SO PROUD OF HER.

01/06/2020

Read to the Animals is all month long! Come by and pick a book from one of the baskets or bring your own! Luckily, not all of our books are Shakespearian and maybe, just maybe, the critters you read to will read back ;)

01/05/2020

Todd here with special guests and a farewell announcement!
Instead of saying goodbye, please follow and visit the Kansas Wildlife Exhibit.
Friends of the Kansas Wildlife Exhibit

Say hello to our new(ish) axolotl ambassador! Axoltols are salamanders that keep their larval features as adults. So eve...
01/03/2020

Say hello to our new(ish) axolotl ambassador! Axoltols are salamanders that keep their larval features as adults. So even as full blown independents who schedule their own dentist appointments, they still keep their tadpole-like tail and feathery external gills (those things sticking out of its head). This condition is called neoteny.

Our first Volunteer of the Month for 2020 is Maribel. We’ve had some unique projects crop up in the last year that we ha...
01/02/2020

Our first Volunteer of the Month for 2020 is Maribel. We’ve had some unique projects crop up in the last year that we have been so grateful to have her help with, and we also love it when she brings her adorable baby girl around!

Hi, I'm Maribel. I'm a mom of an energetic girl, with another baby on the way. I like to take my daughter out on the trails so she can check out the plants, animals and leaves. In the picture we were visiting the Elachee Nature Science Center in Georgia.
What is your favorite thing that you’ve done here?
I just love walking around the trails, it's really relaxing. And I really do enjoy helping out with the Little Nature Lovers, it's a lot of fun.
What’s something you think everyone should know about the Great Plains Nature Center?
There are so many programs happening for all kinds of ages! They are all creative and unique! And lots of these events are free!
What is the weirdest thing you’ve seen in nature?
I haven't really seen weird things in nature. Nature is really cool and unique and I just accept it all as normal.

Peace out 2019, it's been real. Friendly reminder that we'll be closing tomorrow at noon to celebrate the New Year. Regu...
12/30/2019

Peace out 2019, it's been real.

Friendly reminder that we'll be closing tomorrow at noon to celebrate the New Year. Regular business hours will resume on Thursday (Jan. 2nd). Wishing you all a safe and happy 2020 and we look forward to all of the exciting things the new year will bring.

Coming Spring Break 2020
12/27/2019

Coming Spring Break 2020

Need something to listen to during your holiday drive? We've got some new podcast episodes out.Naughty Nature (not suita...
12/26/2019

Need something to listen to during your holiday drive? We've got some new podcast episodes out.

Naughty Nature (not suitable for all audiences) - ###mas
We're going old school Naughty Nature on this special edition Christmas Eve episode. Lyndzee, Todd, and Rachel each share something naturally, naughtily Christmas. Hear why mushrooms may be the reason for the season, why gift-giving is natural, and why Santa's reindeer may or may not have balls.

That's My Favorite (great for everyone) - Cannibal Roly Polies
Roly Polies (an isopod) are fascinating, accessible, common, and adorable. That's why GPNC naturalist Amanda Alessi adores them. What more do you want from a critter--important ecological roles, strange habits, diversity, crazy parasitic relationships? One word: isopods!! These tiny cute animals make Amanda's case for turning over rocks and digging in the dirt an easy sell.

Watch out pardner there's a new club in town. Holster your paperbacks and hit the trail. Walking Book Club is our newest...
12/21/2019

Watch out pardner there's a new club in town. Holster your paperbacks and hit the trail. Walking Book Club is our newest GPNC activity! It's focused on providing a relaxed environment for learning something new and getting outdoors with other nature enthusiasts. We'll meet monthly to chat about what we've read and (weather permitting) go for a walk.

We'll vote on our first book in January, read it over the month of February, and get together for our first walk on March 6th. Meetings take place on the First Friday of every month from 2-4pm.

Holiday closing updates:Dec. 24 - ClosedDec. 25 - ClosedDec. 31 - Closing at 12pmJan. 1 - ClosedOur regularly scheduled ...
12/20/2019

Holiday closing updates:
Dec. 24 - Closed
Dec. 25 - Closed
Dec. 31 - Closing at 12pm
Jan. 1 - Closed

Our regularly scheduled children's programs will be on hold until after the 1st of January. Little Nature Lovers will resume on Jan. 2nd to talk all about tracks in the snow and read the classic winter children's book, Stranger in the Woods. All other weekly programs will resume on Jan. 7th.

Happy holidays from our nerdy family, to yours.

12/20/2019
Food Coma

Have you ever seen an opossum so food comatosed that all you get is an ear twitch?

Our animal ambassador got two meals by accident yesterday.

Let's play a game! Guess who made this weird wiggle in the snow. Winners get virtual high fives and bragging rights beca...
12/18/2019

Let's play a game!

Guess who made this weird wiggle in the snow.

Winners get virtual high fives and bragging rights because this is pretty tough.

📷: Dexter Mardis
📍: Near Viola, KS

This might come as a shock.We. Offer. Scholarships.That's right. We give out 500 buckaroos (dollars, not kangaroos made ...
12/18/2019
Scholarships | GPNC

This might come as a shock.

We. Offer. Scholarships.

That's right. We give out 500 buckaroos (dollars, not kangaroos made out of money) to someone working on an undergraduate degree, graduate degree, or even to those working on special projects, events, workshops, etc.

The deadline to apply is January 31st, and the recipient will be awarded in April. Follow the link for more info and for the application.

https://gpnc.org/uncategorized/scholarships/

Friends of the Great Plains Nature Center Scholarship/Grant Program Guidelines The scholarship/grant program of the Friends of the Great Plains Nature Center provides for individual scholarship and grant programs that are compatible with the missions of the Great Plains Nature Center. Individual sch...

Who else took a walk in the snow? We saw a couple of SUBLIME snow angels in the park!
12/17/2019

Who else took a walk in the snow? We saw a couple of SUBLIME snow angels in the park!

12/16/2019

Oh heck, one more snow day video for you guys. Did you see those huge white flakes??

Staff had a super productive morning...

12/16/2019

We're open on snow days! How else would our animal ambassadors get snow enrichment?? ;)

On those rare, warmer winter days you may find something that looks like this. Fungus: *looking out bark window* it look...
12/13/2019

On those rare, warmer winter days you may find something that looks like this.

Fungus: *looking out bark window* it looks nice out, I think I'll produce some mushrooms and spread my spores around.

Kansas weather: *dry, cold, windy*

Fungus: I regret my decision.

This is a dried out cluster of oyster mushrooms.

Kansas used to be covered by a sea.. so we can still share this, right?It's super cool.
12/11/2019
The Deep Sea

Kansas used to be covered by a sea.. so we can still share this, right?

It's super cool.

Scroll down the deep sea in this interactive page.

The Owl's Nest Gift Shop is here for your holiday shopping needs. We have unique gifts for the hard-to-shop-for and natu...
12/11/2019

The Owl's Nest Gift Shop is here for your holiday shopping needs. We have unique gifts for the hard-to-shop-for and nature nerds of all ages. From toys and puzzles, to books, field guides and more! Stop by between 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday - Saturday. Members get a Friends-only discount!

Can confirm, we have the scars to prove it. Tiny predators deserve respect too, Karen!!
12/09/2019

Can confirm, we have the scars to prove it. Tiny predators deserve respect too, Karen!!

12/07/2019

She's a good neighbor. 😢 #reassurance #googletranslate #opossum #notapet

12/06/2019
Bringing in the Greens is tonight from 6-8pm! Come by to get your picture with Santa, kids are welcome to do it, too. ;)...
12/06/2019

Bringing in the Greens is tonight from 6-8pm! Come by to get your picture with Santa, kids are welcome to do it, too. ;)

We'll also have storytime with Mrs. Claus, make and take home ornaments, garland crafting (for the birds!), telescope viewing, snacks, lantern walks, the bell choir, and live owls!

Kick-off the holiday season with this FREE event that's great for all ages.

Bell Choir: 6:30 & 7:15

Lantern Walks: 6:45 & 7:30

12/05/2019

Ticks may sleep all winter but WE REMAIN VIGILANT. They'll be back. #checkyourcrevices #ticktok #tickssuck #tick

If you don't have your tree yet, might we suggest a lovely, invasive cedar tree? These trees spread quickly, shading out...
12/04/2019

If you don't have your tree yet, might we suggest a lovely, invasive cedar tree? These trees spread quickly, shading out grasslands, crowding out other trees, and aiding in the spread of wildfires. So get out there, cut down a tree, save the prairie, and maybe take home a surprise squirrel ;)

Be sure to follow all laws and regulations for cutting down a tree on public land, you need a special permit to cut one down at any public area.

If you don't want to donate for the children, do it for the animals. This #givingtuesday, you can sponsor one of our ani...
12/03/2019

If you don't want to donate for the children, do it for the animals. This #givingtuesday, you can sponsor one of our animal ambassadors. All proceeds go toward food, care, vet visits, and enrichment.

Click here to sponsor one of our critters: https://www.accelevents.com/e/PassporttoNature#FundaNeed

It's #givingtuesday, help support our mission by becoming a member today. You'll get advance notice of all our events, o...
12/03/2019
Memberships and Donations | GPNC

It's #givingtuesday, help support our mission by becoming a member today. You'll get advance notice of all our events, our newsletter, discounts in the gift shop, and access to member-only events!

Follow the link to join today! https://gpnc.org/membership/

Online Memberships Online memberships are now available! You can also pay for your membership in person at the Owl’s Nest Gift Shop. Supporting Memberships Life Membership – $1000 Bison Membership – $500 Bald Eagle Membership – $250 Pronghorn Membership – $100 Family Memberships Family –...

Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, show your support for the nature center by donating today to help us reach our education goa...
12/03/2019

Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, show your support for the nature center by donating today to help us reach our education goal. There are a lot of ways to show your support, either by donating to a specific need or becoming a member. If those options don't float your boat, feel free to donate what you can. All money raised goes toward educational programs, animal care, and reaching the community. #givingtuesday #givingGPNC

Fund a specific need: https://www.accelevents.com/e/PassporttoNature#FundaNeed

Donate: https://www.accelevents.com/e/PassporttoNature#Donate

Become a member:
https://gpnc.org/membership/

What better way to spice up your evening commute than to listen to the newest Naughty Nature episode! Keep in mind that ...
12/02/2019

What better way to spice up your evening commute than to listen to the newest Naughty Nature episode! Keep in mind that this podcast isn't suitable for all audiences so we wouldn't recommend listening to this with sensitive ears around.

Also, this podcast should really be called "The One Where Rachel and Todd's Minds Explode," because that's exactly what this episode is.. mind-blowing.

Listen to it on your favorite podcast app.

Our Volunteer of the Month, Cody, always puts a smile on our face with his infectious enthusiasm. As a bonus, he keeps t...
12/02/2019

Our Volunteer of the Month, Cody, always puts a smile on our face with his infectious enthusiasm. As a bonus, he keeps the GPNC running by bringing us productivity-enhancing coffee!

Hello everyone! It’s Cody! When I’m not volunteering, I’m either doing homework while pursuing my geoscience degree or on an outdoor adventure with my furry kid, Apollo.
So far, my favorite thing I have done at the GPNC is meet all of the amazing people. I don’t just mean the visitors, but the staff and fellow volunteers as well. The wealth of knowledge at the GPNC is incredible. Everyone has a strong passion for conservation and spreading knowledge of the natural world that continues to inspire me.
What I think everyone should know about nature in the Great Plains is, there is far more out there than you think. Our ecosystems in the Great Plains are incredibly diverse and the creatures, plants, and animals that call it home are all around us. You just have to look!
The weirdest thing I have seen in nature is probably the Monument Rocks or the Chalk Pyramids in western Kansas. The structures stand out like a sore thumb in the plains landscape. The 70ft tall structures are made up of sedimentary Niobrara chalk from the erosion of an ancient sea bed during the Cretaceous period. If you have the opportunity to venture out west, they are most definitely worth a day trip.

National Park Service
12/01/2019

National Park Service

Can you draw a bison? Use this template to help you get started!

#FindYourPark

Our staff celebrated Thanksgiving by carving up a bird! For education, of course.This Great Horned Owl was likely hit by...
11/27/2019

Our staff celebrated Thanksgiving by carving up a bird! For education, of course.

This Great Horned Owl was likely hit by a car, and while it's a sad sight, finding a bird like this in good condition is a great opportunity for us. By preserving the parts of the bird we could, we're able to give people a safe, up-close, hands-on look at an amazing animal.

For those curious, salvaged animals like this are washed, preserved, and reported to the government offices that grant us the permits to preserve and use these artifacts for education. We ONLY salvage animals, which means we ONLY use animals that died under natural circumstances. Most of our education collection is preserved right here by our own staff.

11/26/2019
Turkey Brent

Don't be like Turkey Brent here, be sure to stuff yourself with food rather than the other way around. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at GPNC!

We'll be closed for the holiday from Nov. 28- Nov. 30 and we'll resume regular business hours on Dec. 2nd!

11/26/2019

Someone please hire her, we already have a opossum.

Address

6232 E 29th St N
Wichita, KS
67220

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00
Saturday 09:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(316) 683-5499

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Our Story

The Great Plains Nature Center is a free facility that is a cooperative project between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, the City of Wichita Department of Park and Recreation and Friends of the Great Plains Nature Center. We offer experiences that connect people to the environment, wildlife and conservation measures. The adjacent 240-acre Chisholm Creek Park provides our outdoor classroom. More than two miles of wheelchair-accessible trails and boardwalks meander through riparian woodlands, prairies, streams and wetlands. An indoor wildlife observatory lets visitors relax in front of a stream of cattail-ringed wetland, where beaver, muskrat, ducks and graceful egrets make regular appearances.

Nearby museums