The education complex features an exhibit area, observation tower, meeting rooms, Discovery room, auditorium, gift shop and offices. The focus of Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center is the area's unique topography and natural history and wildlife of Crowley’s Ridge as well as its contrast to the surrounding Delta.
The complex is designed to help the visitor experience the range of different habitats and encourage exploration of the site. The main level of the center features an exhibit hall and auditorium which present the story of the ridge’s formation and its wildlife through several hands-on exhibits and a special 16-minute feature film with animation and special effects. A two-story diorama, visible from the main and lower levels of the center, introduces visitors to the special plants, animals, and hydrology of the ridge landscape. The Crow’s Nest on the upper level of the center presents a bird’s eye view over the center’s diverse landscape to the ridge and Delta south of the site.
Grounds and Trails
This diverse site offers trails through wetlands, forest and prairie.
The Habitats Trail, a universally accessible trail and boardwalk about a quarter-mile long, can be entered from either the main or lower levels. This trail loops around Willow Pond, taking visitors across a ridge top and man-made levee to the edge of the prairie and back above a seasonally flooded bottomland forest.
For those who like to venture farther, trails through the woods connect to Craighead Forest Park. Colorful blooming gardens in front of the center attract butterflies and other insects. Of course, educational programs – from animal feedings to wildlife walks – happen every day; check the schedule to see what’s going on. Keep your eyes open for amphibians, reptiles, birds and maybe a mammal or two.
The nature center’s hiking trails are open every day from dawn to dusk. Visitors may walk in when entrance gates are closed or begin from Craighead Forest Trailhead parking just east of Craighead Forest Access Area 5/Rotary Way.