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.

04/28/2020

Nature Journaling Succulents

It’s climate week! Grab your journal and settle in to draw some plants adapted to drought - or just when their naturalist forgets to water them.

04/27/2020
April Showers Bring...

This week is all about Weather, Climate, and Wildlife! In this video, Emily explains what April Showers bring (other than May flowers), where in the world that saying even came from, and how important that springtime rain really is.

Great Plains Nature Center's cover photo
04/27/2020

Great Plains Nature Center's cover photo

Our volunteer appreciation party would normally be this week, and we are missing our volunteers like crazy! It puts smil...
04/27/2020

Our volunteer appreciation party would normally be this week, and we are missing our volunteers like crazy! It puts smiles on our faces to see y'all caring for the animals and running the front desk every day, teaching children at craft or storytime, and interacting with visitors at events.

Even though we closed mid-March, GPNC volunteers are so awesome that we beat our 2019 first-quarter volunteer hours by 36 HOURS!

Numbers aren't everything, but we want to take a moment to celebrate this success and all of the wonderful people in our community who make the nature center exceptional.

Thank you, friends, for all you do. We hope to see you again soon!

New podcast episode for That's My Favorite is up! Join Nicole Brown and Brad Guhr from Dyck Arboretum of the Plains as t...
04/25/2020
Native Plants (ft. Brad Guhr) | GPNC

New podcast episode for That's My Favorite is up! Join Nicole Brown and Brad Guhr from Dyck Arboretum of the Plains as they talk about wildflowers, prairie restoration, and native plant gardens.
https://gpnc.org/thats-my-favorite/native-plants-ft-brad-guhr/

Episode 21: Plant Native! (ft. Brad Guhr) Subscribe for more episodes! Find That’s My Favorite on your favorite podcast app. < Back to Episode List Naturalist Nicole Brown is joined by Brad Guhr of Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston Kansas for a nerd session on why native plants are awesome. ...

04/25/2020
Wildflower Hike

To round out our wildlflower week, tag along with Alicia as she explores blooming plants in her backyard.

04/24/2020
Wildflower Walk

Just because it's rainy out today doesn't mean you can't enjoy the great outdoors. Join us for a virtual wildflower walk!

There will be no nature journaling this morning, join us next week on Tuesday morning for the next one. In the meantime,...
04/23/2020

There will be no nature journaling this morning, join us next week on Tuesday morning for the next one. In the meantime, let us convince you to avoid cutting off your spent blooms.

Those seeds are a precious resource in many ways and cutting them off is doing you, and nature, a disservice (especially if you're planting native plants).

Seed heads...
- provide free seeds for you to grow new plants
- provide food for birds and other animals
- provide texture and interest for your garden through the winter
- provide a safe place for solitary bees to pupate (grow to adult)

So leave them be! Your garden will thank you for it.

Pictured: blanketflower going to seed by Nicole Brown

Happy Earth Day! Celebrating the 50th anniversary could look like going on a trash roundup hike, becoming a citizen scie...
04/22/2020

Happy Earth Day! Celebrating the 50th anniversary could look like going on a trash roundup hike, becoming a citizen scientist, reducing your plastic use, or even getting down and dirty with a native garden. This year, consider turning your landscape into a wildlife oasis by swapping non-native plant species with native ones that provide for the birds, bees, and everything in between. There are hundreds of native plants that are suitable for your landscaping needs, here we highlight one of our favorites.

The Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) is an amazing choice for a garden plant. Hardy and able to thrive in full to part sun, this eager spreader will happily fill in whatever space you give it. Bees, butterflies, and birds all are attracted to Black-eyed Susan but it is conveniently deer-resistant. It is also the host plant of the Bordered Patch and Gorgone Checkerspot butterfly larvae. The beautiful blooms last from June to September and even into October on a warm year and as such are a great addition to any garden. Young plants can be easily identified by their super hairy leaves, and therefore can easily be removed from areas you don't want them spreading to.

For more information on native plants and where you can buy them visit https://www.kansasnativeplantsociety.org/

Photo by Nicole Brown

04/22/2020
Identifying Wildflowers

Tis the season for rain showers and wildflowers! Join Rachel for a quick demo on the key elements of identifying wildflowers.

04/21/2020
Nature Journaling Beans

The bean family of wildflowers is diverse, familiar, and gorgeous! Let's take a closer look through journaling.

Let's kick off Wildflower Week with a quiz! While there might not be many native wildflowers blooming in Kansas yet, her...
04/20/2020

Let's kick off Wildflower Week with a quiz! While there might not be many native wildflowers blooming in Kansas yet, here's some of what you might be seeing right now, as well as a peek at what's to come. Answers are posted in the comments of each picture!

Keep an eye out the rest of the week for more wildflower content!

Great Plains Nature Center's cover photo
04/20/2020

Great Plains Nature Center's cover photo

04/17/2020
Classroom Tour!

Did you know we have a classroom full of animals we use for education? Unless you've been here on a field trip, you probably didn't! Join Emily as she takes you on a quick tour of the GPNC classroom.

Hey GPNC Friends!!A big shout-out to all those who helped make the first (and hopefully ONLY) socially-distanced 2020 Pa...
04/17/2020

Hey GPNC Friends!!
A big shout-out to all those who helped make the first (and hopefully ONLY) socially-distanced 2020 Passport to Nature: Party on the Couch auction a HUGE success!!! As a result of your generosity and four days of lively bidding, we raised more than $3,100! We auctioned items that were time-sensitive (happening prior to our postponed date in August) and most were a huge hit! I’d like to thank all the staff, volunteers, FGPNC board members and businesses gracious enough to help make the auction a big hit! All the money raised will be used to further the educational mission of the Great Plains Nature Center.
Be sure to mark your calendars for the 5th Annual 2020 Passport to Nature: Party on the Plains on August 27, 2020. This will be like past events and held on-site at the GPNC. We’ll get together to share some incredible food and refreshments from some of Wichita’s finest establishments. We’ve got many more great items on tap for an in-person silent and live auction with games and interesting animal ambassadors galore. But most of all we’ll enjoy some much-needed, post quarantine FUN!!! Hope to see you there!!!
In the meantime, stay safe, home and well. Keep smiling!!!
Marc Murrell
Director-Great Plains Nature Center

Have you been to Passport to Nature in the last two years? Share a picture of yourself enjoying a beverage in your Passp...
04/16/2020

Have you been to Passport to Nature in the last two years? Share a picture of yourself enjoying a beverage in your Passport to Nature wine glass with hashtag #PTNatHome and join us tonight at 8pm for game night! We’ll be playing two truths, one lie with on-the-job stories from some of our staff at the nature center. We’ll also be wrapping up our online auction which officially closes at 9pm tonight. https://www.accelevents.com/e/PassporttoNature

04/16/2020
Journaling Kansas Wildlife (Exhibit)

Rachel is journaling live offsite this morning: at the Kansas Wildlife Exhibit in Riverside Park, with Todd Volkmann and Rufus the bobcat. Forgive any stream interruptions as the wifi is a bit different out here. Grab a journal and join along.

Tomorrow is GAME NIGHT and the last night for Passport to Nature: Party on the Couch. Join our staff at 8pm as they prac...
04/16/2020

Tomorrow is GAME NIGHT and the last night for Passport to Nature: Party on the Couch. Join our staff at 8pm as they practice social distancing and play a couple rounds of two truths, one lie with on-the-job stories they have. We'll need your help to figure out which stories actually happened and which ones are made up.

If you can't join us tomorrow night but still want to participate check out our online auction. You could get a 4 night stay in a Colorado cabin for wayyyy less than you'd pay anywhere else. Follow the link to view the auction and to support the nature center. All proceeds benefit our animal ambassadors, staff, and educational programs.

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

04/14/2020

We love that you're enjoying the park, but please keep your pets on the bike trail (or a dog-friendly park). 😘

04/14/2020

Fish feeding

Another quiz for you, this time featuring some of our lesser-known ambassador animals who work hard to teach the public!...
04/14/2020

Another quiz for you, this time featuring some of our lesser-known ambassador animals who work hard to teach the public! All are native Kansas animals that you could find out in the wild. Can you name each one? Bonus: which of these is a Kansas state symbol?

Answers are in the comments on each picture!

04/14/2020

Nature Journaling mammals. Grab your sketchbook, a writing/drawing instrument of your choice, and journal along with us!

Click “LIKE” if you visited the nature center as a kid (or as a kid at heart). Click “WOW” if your kids/grandkids have b...
04/13/2020

Click “LIKE” if you visited the nature center as a kid (or as a kid at heart). Click “WOW” if your kids/grandkids have been out here. Click “HEART” if you miss us like we miss you. Please share your memories in the comments because we miss the students, the newcomers, the regulars, our volunteers, the tall ones and the small ones, and everyone in between. All of these memories, visitors, and free admission wouldn’t be possible without our partnerships and generous donations from people like you. You can still support us by participating in our online auction that’s chock-full of items and experiences. Click the link to participate and support your favorite nature center. https://www.accelevents.com/e/PassporttoNature

We've taken some time-sensitive elements of our Passport to Nature event and brought them online!Support the Great Plain...
04/13/2020

We've taken some time-sensitive elements of our Passport to Nature event and brought them online!

Support the Great Plains Nature Center now through April 16, when the auction closes. Online auction: https://accelevents.com/e/PassporttoNature

In celebration of our mission, we'll be taking this week to highlight some of our ambassador animals and the work they help us do in the community and beyond.

04/11/2020
Birds of Prey

To wrap up our bird week, Emily covers the basics of what sets birds of prey apart from other birds.

Looking for a challenge this weekend? Try playing some Bird Bingo in your backyard or neighborhood! If you don't have yo...
04/11/2020

Looking for a challenge this weekend? Try playing some Bird Bingo in your backyard or neighborhood! If you don't have your feeders set up, you can check out some of the excellent feeder cams at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Sapsucker Woods (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N609loYkFJo).

Also, if you're having trouble sighting the birds, try a sound ID instead! And if you're a city-dweller having lots of trouble, we'll allow you to count a pigeon or squirrel toward one space if it jumps on your feeder 😁!

04/10/2020
Bird Brains!

Continuing with our theme of birds this week, Naturalist Allan discusses the undeniably intelligent crows of the Great Plains and the world!

04/09/2020

It's that time again! We're going to journal the birdlife visiting the Sapsucker Woods live cam by Cornell: https://youtu.be/N609loYkFJo Grab a sketchbook and journal along!

Tell us in the comments: what do you think of our online programs?! Love nature journaling with Rachel? Reveling in the ...
04/09/2020
Event Page | Passport to Nature

Tell us in the comments: what do you think of our online programs?! Love nature journaling with Rachel? Reveling in the marvels of the outdoors on Alicia’s hikes? Are our parodies making you smile? Our naturalists teaching you new and exciting things? Tell us what you enjoy and what you want to see more of.

All of this awesome content is brought to you by our staff, hard at work from home to keep you entertained, learning, and engaged with something we all need more of--the natural world! If you want to help support our efforts, join us for our online auction next week. Consider buying something you want while supporting a good cause, and maybe competing with a friend in a bidding war.

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

DescriptionParty on the Plains!Food, music, and ADVENTURE await at our annual fundraising event - your chance to help us connect people to nature!EXPLORE our exhibits.SAMPLE local cuisine.DELIGHT

04/08/2020
Take a Hike!

It's bird week here at GPNC so get out there and take a hike! Alternatively, you can join Alicia from the comfort of your own home. It's recommended that you walk around your house our out in your yard while you hike with us.. you know... for exercise.

04/08/2020
Let Them Eat

We hope this makes you smile 😊

If you’re interested in helping us take care of our animal ambassadors, we encourage you to join our online auction that runs from April 12-16th. All proceeds support the educational mission of the nature center and helps provide care for our critters. Kick off starts at 6pm this Sunday, hope to see you there!

More details: https://www.accelevents.com/e/PassporttoNature

04/07/2020

Nature Journaling Birds

Did these brown birds stump you?? Time to check your answers!
04/07/2020

Did these brown birds stump you?? Time to check your answers!

Bored at home? We’ve got just the high-competition, social distancing event you’ve been looking for. Starting April 12th...
04/07/2020

Bored at home? We’ve got just the high-competition, social distancing event you’ve been looking for. Starting April 12th we’ll be opening an online auction to support our animal care and educational programming needs. We have some really great items like Alabama tickets and a night at the new downtown ballpark in a luxury suite. The auction will be open until April 16th and feature items totaling almost $5,000 in value. Join us in your PJs with a glass of wine, for our Facebook live kickoff on Sunday, April 12th at 6pm!

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

Time to put your birding to the test!! Color edition. These birds lack bright colors, but they make up for it by being a...
04/06/2020

Time to put your birding to the test!! Color edition. These birds lack bright colors, but they make up for it by being amazing. Identify these incredible Kansas birds. Answers come out at 8pm CST.

Photos by our founding director, Bob Gress.

TIME TO GET BIRDY. This week it's all about birds.
04/06/2020

TIME TO GET BIRDY. This week it's all about birds.

A few words from our director, Marc Murrell:  As the world comes to grips with the COVID-19 pandemic it’s obviously evid...
04/03/2020

A few words from our director, Marc Murrell:

As the world comes to grips with the COVID-19 pandemic it’s obviously evident life as we know it has changed dramatically in the interim. Gone are the days (for now) when pre-school students hug a naturalist after a program, or I slap high fives with our Project Life crew each time I pass them in the hall. Heaven forbid someone sneezes or coughs. It’s a scary proposition knowing we’re battling an invisible foe.
But battle we will. Most will try to make the best out of a bad situation. Our GPNC staff are busy behind the scenes trying to provide content so remote, outdoor learning, information and education still gets transmitted, sans any virus concerns by our virtual visitors. Check out our page and website for some of those treats. Our visitation is on hold, as are many lives until we get through this pandemic event, but we’re still trying to carry on as best we can.
We will get through it. It’s challenging for sure. People are resilient and previous generations have survived far worse with far less. I’m confident the GPNC, all our employees, volunteers, Friends of the GPNC members and visitors will be back, stronger than ever, after it’s safe to do so.
In the meantime, take care of you and yours, both mentally and physically. Take a walk, go fishing, hiking, birdwatching or simply sit outside, close your eyes and listen. One of the most peaceful times in the outdoor world is around sunrise when wild things wake up. It’s happening every morning in a place near you. Melodiously therapeutic, birds and frogs are in full chorus. I’m not sure what they’re singing, but I’d like to think they’re reassuring us all will be well with the world once again, hopefully real soon.
Keep smiling.

04/03/2020
Mushrooms: Unsung Heroes

It's Fungal Friday! Lyndzee talks more in depth about the mysterious world of fungi and how mushrooms are going to save the world.

04/03/2020
Kansas Bugket List

Nicole Brown joins us from home for a presentation on her Kansas Bugket List because she just can't help but talk about bugs no matter where she is. Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments!

04/02/2020

Nature Journaling Wildflowers with Rachel

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


Comments

Can anyone there tell me what kind of a toad this is? It was inside a plant on the east side of Wichita.
This question is for Rachael. We have driven out of town three times now. Once to Cheney and twice to Mulvane. Something very important has been missing in the Sky and on the fences. Birds. I mean birds. Not a hawk. Not a sparrow. Nothing. Where are they? I have never not seen anything like this before and I know my birds. Any ideas?
This is stuck in my window well. What is it? How should I get it out?
Does anyone know if we are able to walk the trails today even though the center is closed on Sundays?
I am so glad for the resources y'all provide. My son likes to get the pocket books when we come. We took the butterfly one to Monarch Mania this past season. And today, I used the Back Yard Bird pocket guide to identify some Dark-Eyed Junco birds that have been visiting my yard the past couple days. Thank you for being a great educational and resourceful place for my family 💚
Please help me identify the fruit in this tree along the South side of North Chisholm Creek Park. My mom believes it’s some sort of plum...
These are fun
What is this growing on my stump??
We found a feather explosion in our back yard today, not sure if it happened overnight or during the morning. Looks like mourning dove feathers...do you think an owl or hawk caught a dove and ate it on top of our swing set? There was no carcass left...I would guess a cat would leave a carcass if it caught a bird. And I can’t imagine it would eat it one top of our swing set.
Todd’s turtles try eating treats!
Chinese Mantis
Is the archery club still meeting?