Dunwoody Nature Center is an oasis for kids, with AMAZING programs and playscapes for the family. If that wasn’t enough, general admission is FREE! Here are 22 fantastic ways to play at DNC.
Things to do ANYTIME
Explore the Treehouse Head to the treehouse for classes and camps, overnights, birthday parties or just stop by on your way through and enjoy a tree top perspective over the wetlands.
Sit in a Teepee – Seen as you drive in to the Nature Center, the teepee was an Eagle Scout project from 2014 and is used for scout ceremonies, as well as for the general public to explore and imagine.
Walk the Wetlands Boardwalk – Learn about the great diversity of plant and animal life in the wetlands without damage to this fragile but hard-working ecosystem. You can do all of this without getting your shoes dirty, thanks to hard-working volunteers that created the wetlands boardwalk.
Play on the Playground – Sure to be a new favorite for families, the playground was completed about a year ago featuring modern play equipment in a unique, shaded setting. It is filled with a HUGE structure for older kids (with two tall slides they will love!) and a smaller structure for toddlers. There is also two climbing towers (one spins!), a giant rope swing, a new-school teeter-totter, flat-bottom swings, and MUCH more.
Ride the Tree Swings – Right as you enter the center you’ll see the tree swings to the left. These are appear to be typical bench swings like you see on a southern porch, but they are BETTER. First, they are about half the length- perfect for one rear end or two kids squished together. Second, they SPIN in every direction. They were a huge hit for my kiddos!
Water Play in Wildcat Creek – Pack a picnic lunch, a towel and maybe some extra shoes in case anyone wants to venture into the creek to look for salamanders, crayfish or other native species. Even if your kids don’t want to get wet, the boulders along and in the creek are irresistible!
Lounge in a Hammock – The Hammock Garden was created to give older youth (tweens and teens) a place to hang out, as well as all park visitors a place of respite. You’ll probably notice people setting up their ENOs here, so be sure to bring yours!
Geocache – Our family has been geocaching since 2004…we love it! There are a number of caches at the nature center, so bring your phone or GPS. If you’re not familiar with it, read more and sign up here: https://www.geocaching.com/play
Letterbox – There are eight letterboxes scattered around the nature center. Use clues from the website to locate them, stamp your sheet and move to the next clue. It’s a great way to learn more about nature and the nature center.
Hike the Trails – Connecting all of the Nature Center areas to explore are the walking trails. Follow the trails to discover all the hidden gems of the Dunwoody Nature Center.
Become a member – Entry is FREE for everyone, but if you love the nature center as much as we do then consider a $50 annual membership. It helps with park improvements (like the new AWESOME playground.) Here’s what membership offers you:
- Free admission to our six concert series
- Free programs such as our Earth Day Yoga + Stars Celebration
- Exclusive early and discounted registration for our popular, sell-out summer camps
- Discounts on classes (all year long)
- A “members-only” preview time during our annual Butterfly Festival (August 20th).
- What’s more, your support allows them to offer community-wide FREE programming such as the popular Friday Night Hikes, Great Backyard Bird Count, and astronomy programs at Brook Run Park.
Volunteer (including Adopt a Trail) – There are many ways to volunteer with the Dunwoody Nature Center! Look for Volunteer Days on the program calendar, or consider the opportunity to adopt a trail with your family.
Mark your CALENDAR*
Butterfly Festival (August) – See hundreds of live butterflies in two mega tents, a Birds of Prey show, live music, fun games for kids, live music, concessions and more. See our August monthly highlights for details.
Mommy, Me and Nature (School year) – For moms and kids 18mo – 36mo. Moms get four opportunities each week, over three days, to spend in nature with other moms and kiddos.
ECOExplorers Classes (School year) – One Saturday a month kiddos 2-5 years and their favorite adult spend 90 minutes diving into a nature topic with crafts, an activity station, circle time and a hike.
Nature Play Drop Off (School year) – Drop off your 3 or 4 year old for an hour of fun on Tuesdays.
Summer and Winter Camps (June, July and August for Summer, early Thanksgiving week, or late December for Winter) – Full and half-day camps are available, but act fast! They fill up quick (waiting lists are available.) Summer camp registration begins mid-February.
Leadership Training (June) Kids 14-17 years old engage in leadership training and transfer those skills to environmental stewardship. During the week, LITs will learn about leadership, character, and teamwork as they build positive relationships with their fellow LITs. A minimum commitment of one week as a Junior Counselor is required at a DNC Summer Camp session of your choice after the completion of the program.
Backyard Campout (June and November) – Camp in the forest without going too far from home. At this family focused program, you’ll learn some of the camping basics like how to set up and break down tents and how to build and put out a campfire. DNC educators help you plan for the overnight by explaining everything that you need to bring for your adventure. And what campout would be complete without a fire, some s’mores, games, a night hike, and even a camp song or two.
Summer Concert Series (May – July) Every other Saturday starting at 7:00pm, bring your chair, blanket, and picnic dinner– and cool off with a rotating selection of craft beers hand-picked for the night by Moondog Growlers. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis as you join a night of rockin’ tunes in the shade of the beautiful meadow or on the back porch of the new deck.
Celebrate Your Birthday – There are multiple programs to choose from, each with a special theme you select. All include an hour with the facilitator and an hour of flex time, plus a special gift. Owl Prowl and Campfire/Nigh Hike parties are great for kids over 6yo who want a “night time” birthday experience.
Friday Night Hikes (September and October) – These leisurely, family oriented hikes follow trails around the wetlands and back forests of Dunwoody Park. Under the light of the stars and armed with flashlights, Nature Center educators guide groups through the hike, offering a chance to hear the night time sounds of owls, bats, and other nocturnal creatures as well as the gentle flow of Wildcat Creek. Hikers are encouraged to stick around after the hikes in the Nature Center’s newly renovated meadow to enjoy hot cocoa, take a peek into the Milky Way through the telescope, and huddle by a warm fire in the old fireplace – a remnant of the original homestead on the property.
*Most of these calendar items require a fee. Discounts or free entry may be available with a DNC membership.
After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.
Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.