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County Offices will be closed on November 27th & 28th in observance of the Thanksgiving Holiday.

Ottawa County Parks & Recreation

Nature Education Center

8115 West Olive Road, West Olive
616) 786-4847

Hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 9am-5pm
Sunday: Noon-5pm Closed Mondays

Directions: From US 31, travel west on Croswell Street to West Olive Road. Turn south on West Olive Road and travel a 1/2 mile to the entrance on the west side.

The Nature Education Center , located within Hemlock Crossing Park, has exhibits, a wildlife den with critters and activities, a wildlife viewing area where you can watch birds and animals at the feeders, and a gift shop. The center also hosts a variety of educational programs for schools, special groups and the public.

Reserving the Nature Education Center

Please call the Nature Education Center at (616) 786-4847 schedule a visit, inquire about availability and make your reservation. This packet provides critical information you should know before you rent, plus helpful considerations while planning your event. To rent other facilities within the parks, please visit Rental Facilities.

School Programs

Looking for a memorable, educational outdoor experience for your pre-k through high-school students? Look no further than the Nature Education Center. Our school programs enhance your students’ learning with experiences which cannot be duplicated in a classroom. The educational field-trips are designed to meet your students at the appropriate cognitive level and can even be adapted to incorporate the subject matter you are currently studying. Year-round programs are available. If distance is an issue, there is bound to be a park near you where we can accommodate your class. Contact us today.

Special Group Programs

We offer memorable educational programs for daycares, scouts, churches, home schools, seniors and more! Educational and recreational programs can be adapted to meet your group’s need. Year-round programs are available. Contact us today.


Fall Calendar of Programs

View Calendar (PDF)

Preregistration or fees are required for some programs. See the descriptions below for details. Call (616) 786-4847 to register.

Sunday Family Programs

Various Dates, 2-3:30PM, Hemlock Crossing. These programs are designed for families with children ages five and up. Preregistration is required at least two days in advance. A fee of $1 per child will be collected at the door for those who preregister. A $2 per child fee will be charged for late registrants and walk-ins. Due to space limitations, we may not be able to accommodate walk-in guests. For detailed descriptions, like us on Facebook, sign up for NaturE-mail or call the Nature Education Center.
  • November 16: Raven about Crows
  • November 23: Go Nuts
  • November 30: Busy Beavers
  • December 7: Branches & Twig Art

Leaves & Trees & Fun with Seeds

November 22, 2-3:30PM, Hemlock Crossing. What can you do with leaves and seeds that you find on the ground? This program will focus on a variety of activities families can do together as they enjoy autumn excursions.

Meteor Showers

November 22, 7-8:30PM, Hemlock Crossing. Those bright, short-lived flashes of light we can see almost every night are called meteors. Meteor showers are visible for a few nights at a given time of the year and seem to come from a particular portion of the sky. Join Frank Roldan of the Shoreline Astronomical Association as he shares their histories, sources and tips for best observing them.

All About Owls

November 29, 2-4PM, Hemlock Crossing. Whooo can name and identify all of Michigan's owls? Describe how they hunt at night? Say that they've dissected an owl pellet? Yooou will after attending this program. Preregistration required.

Owl Prowl

November 29, 6:30-8PM, Pigeon Creek. After meeting in the Lodge for an introduction to the owls of Ottawa County, you’ll quietly prowl the woods to encounter them first-hand.

Plant Skeletons

December 6, 2-3:30PM, Hemlock Crossing. Where do all the wildflowers go? Explore what remains when the colorful spring and summer flowers have faded and gone to seed.


Parks Administration Office

Room 267
12220 Fillmore St.
West Olive, MI 49460
Monday - Friday:
8:00am - 5:00pm
Phone: (616) 738-4810
Fax: (616) 738-4812
In Ottawa County:
(888) 731-1001 ext.4810

General Park Hours*

March 1 - October 15
7:00am - 10:00pm
October 16 - February 28
7:00am - 8:00pm
*Some parks close in winter or have hours that vary. Select each park for specific park hours.