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!
We’ve visited the Dunwoody Nature Center dozens of times, and we always discover something new each time we visit.
Here are 21+ fantastic ways to play at Dunwoody Nature Center in Dunwoody, Georgia.
THINGS TO DO ANYTIME AT DUNWOODY NATURE CENTER
No matter when you visit the Dunwoody Nature Center, you’ll always find plenty of things to do and explore. Here are some of the awesome activities you can 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!
- See the Bees – The bees are back with colorful new hives! Each hive has a distinct mural design. See them all! In 2021, an Observation Hive was built and was open during programs and special events. Check it out to see if the hive is available when you’re visiting.
- Lounge in a Hammock in the forest – 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. New to geocaching? Read more here.
- 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.
- Play the Piano – The DNC’s friends at Play Me Again Pianos procured “Claude” for them and their neighbors and Walton High School spruced him up for our park. Come check out this “smile generator” and tickle the ivories as you relax within the natural beauty of our 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.
- Become a member – Entry is FREE for everyone, but if you love the nature center as much as we do then consider a $75 annual membership. It helps with park improvements.
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.
- 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.
SPECIAL EVENTS AT DUNWOODY NATURE CENTER
BUTTERFLIES AND BREWS
Join the Dunwoody Nature Center for an evening of fun & child-like joy at the Nature Center! Butterflies and Brews is a 21+ only event filled with delicious food, local drinks, live music, artisan vendors, and of course, LIVE BUTTERFLIES!
Get an up close encounter with these beautiful & delicate creatures while having fun with friends in the beauty of the Georgia forest. The DNC created this event with you in mind—because adults deserve to see the butterflies, too!
This year, the event will be held on September 8, 2023. Your ticket includes a picnic meal, two drinks (more available for purchase), and unlimited access to the Butterfly Tents.
SPRING FAMILY BACKYARD CAMPOUT
In the spring, the Dunwoody Nature Center hosts the Spring Family Backyard Campout!
Join the DNC for a night under the stars at the Dunwoody Nature Center! While the park generally closes at dark, their Family Backyard Campout allows guests to stay the night on our grounds. It’s a great option for young families and camping beginners.
Bring your own picnic dinner and s’mores to roast in their historic campfire. Join a Nature Center educator on a night hike with your family, or borrow our self-guided night hike activity guide to explore on your own.
Bring your own food, gear and other supplies. Access to public restrooms and tap water. Program will be cancelled in case of inclement weather or otherwise poor camping conditions.
ONGOING EVENTS AT DUNWOODY NATURE CENTER
In addition to special events, the Dunwoody Nature Center hosts some amazing recurring events throughout the year. Most of these calendar items require a small fee and registration. Discounts or free entry may be available with a DNC membership. View their calendar for more details.
- Thai in the Wood – This series offers gentle physical exercises and stretches. It is sometimes described as meditation in motion; it promotes serenity through gentle movements, connecting the mind and body.
- Nature Lovers Book Club – Meets the third Monday of each month from 9:00-10:30am for a scintillating discussion on a selected nature-themed book. Book Club meets in the Rain Garden of the Dunwoody Nature Center near the fireplace unless otherwise indicated.
- Georgia Audubon Society Bird Walks – Held monthly, Georgia Audubon field trips are a great way to learn more about Georgia’s resident and migrating birds. They are also a great way to meet other people who share your interest in birds and the outdoors.
- Fall Friday Night Hikes – 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.
- Environmental Science Merit Badge Workshops – Are you a scout wanting to earn your Environmental Science Merit Badge? Well DNC has workshops available. Join them for a day of all things environmental science: bees and pollination, habitat studies, oil spill clean-up techniques, and more! DNC will help you complete all necessary requirements so you can earn your badge. Workshops are taught by certified Merit Badge Counselors.
- Mommy and Me Nature Classes – During Mommy and Me, your toddler aged 18 months – to 3.5 years old will have a great time exploring the park with their adult partner and led by one of our naturalists. Each week will have a different theme, featuring fun and engaging activities. Learn more.
- ECOExplorers Classes – This STEM learning experience is entirely student-led. Everything for these projects is student-driven. Each class was given a different research topic. Classes researched their topic, took notes, created a script, and recorded a video.
- Homeschool Nature Classes – On Wednesdays, homeschoolers in K-5th grade can enjoy outdoor nature and science activities during Backyard Scientists. Activities will correspond to each grade-level standard. On Thursdays, homeschoolers in 5th – 8th grade will enjoy an in-depth nature study class! Learn more.
- Summer and Winter Camps – Full and half-day camps are available, but act fast! They fill up quickly (waiting lists are available). Summer camp registration begins mid-February.
- 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.
DUNWOODY NATURE CENTER FAQ
What is the time frame for a Dunwoody Nature Center membership?
Dunwoody Nature Center membership benefits are valid for 12 months from the date of purchase. Membership benefits include early access to camp registration, free or reduced admission to select nature centers across the United States, member exclusive and discounted events, birthday party rentals, and more.
When does early bird summer camp registration begin at the Dunwoody Nature Center?
Early camp registration opens on February 1 for members. General camp registration will begin on February 15. Many of the camp sessions are usually sold out during the member-only period.
How do I get access to other nature centers with a membership?
As a member of the Association of Nature Center Administrators, members are eligible for free or discounted benefits at other ANCA affiliated nature centers throughout the country. Each nature center sets its own policies on how to apply the benefits but typically include: free or reduced admission fees, discounts at nature shops, and discounts for programs. Find other ANCA nature centers here.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO GEORGIA
- YOUR GEORGIA VACATION
- TREETOP QUEST: Treetop Quest Dunwoody: 13+ Tips, Tricks, and Insights for Your Family Adventure
- NATURE CENTERS: 13+ Atlanta Nature Centers Near Me for Enjoying Special Time Outside
- CASCADE SPRINGS: Cascade Springs Nature Preserve: A Peaceful In-Town Waterfall Hike
- FERNBANK SCIENCE CENTER: Fernbank Science Center: Free Fun for Inquisitive Minds
WHERE TO STAY IN DUNWOODY
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