Celebrating 40 years in 2014!
A 1940s homestead perched between a mountain meadow and the forested bank of Gore Creek houses the Vail Nature Center. This seven-acre facility, in the heart of Vail, is a tranquil gem to explore the web of trails along Gore Creek or come inside to learn from the exhibits and knowledgeable staff. Programs include: hiking, birding tours, beaver pond tours, wildflower viewing, stargazing, and creekside nature tours. All ages, donations accepted.
Summer Hours: Interpretive Center is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm., trails are open dawn to dusk.
Vail Nature Center Programs
May 24, 2014 – September 27, 2014 | (970) 479-2291
* Denotes programs where registration is required prior to the program.
Vail Nature Center – Daily 9am-5pm Celebrating 40 years in 2014!
A 1940s homestead perched between a montane meadow and the forested bank of Gore Creek houses the Vail Nature Center. This seven-acre facility, in the heart of Vail, is a tranquil gem to explore the web of trails along Gore Creek or come inside to learn from the exhibits and knowledgeable staff. All ages, donations accepted.
*Full Day Backcountry Hikes – Tuesdays and Saturdays, 8:00am-4pm (June 3 – September 27)
Join a Naturalist on an all-day hike throughout the spectacular backcountry of the Rocky Mountains. Hikes are at a pace that allows participants to enjoy the flora and fauna along the trail. Participants should be in healthy condition and accustomed to the altitude. Hike participants should bring extra clothing, rain gear, lunch, trail snacks, water and a camera. Transportation is provided from the Nature Center. Adults only; dogs are not allowed. Please call for trail location, difficulty level, and reservations. $50/person; $45 VRD taxpayers.
*Half Day Backcountry Hikes – Wednesdays, 8:30am-1pm (June 4 – September 24)
Our expert naturalists will teach you on a leisurely hike on various trails in the Vail area. While easier and slower-paced than full-day hikes, participants must be able to hike 3-6 miles at high altitude. Hike participants should bring rain gear, trail snacks, water and a camera. Participants should wear sturdy footwear that is comfortable. Transportation is provided from the Nature Center. Ages 16 and up. Dogs are not allowed. Please call for trail location, difficulty level, and reservations. $35/person; $30/VRD taxpayers.
*Photo Safari – Mondays, 8:30am – 12:30pm (June 30 – August 25)
Spend the morning exploring the beauty of the Rockies with your camera. An expert photographer will teach you easy techniques and tricks that will immediately improve your photography. You will learn the foundation to better pictures through composition and using your camera and eye to their fullest potential. You will learn how a scene translates into an image as well as what to look for from the grandest panorama to the tiniest detail. Adults only; $45.
Wildflower Walk – Mondays & Wednesdays 11:30am-12:30pm (June 9-August 13)
Join Nature Center staff on a leisurely one-hour walk through the woods and meadows and learn about the flowers that carpet the mountains and the conditions they need to thrive. All ages, $5 or $3 for VRD taxpayers.
Morning Bird Walk – Tuesdays & Thursdays 8:30am-9:30am (June 10-August 14)
Join Nature Center staff for a morning walk through the meadows and woods along the Gore Creek to learn about a great variety of birds, what they need and how you can attract birds to your own backyard. All ages, $5 or $3 for VRD taxpayers.
Creekside Nature Tours – Sundays 11:00am-noon and 1:30pm-2:30pm (June 15 through August 31)
Join the Nature Center for a casual stroll along Vail’s streamside paths. Tours depart from the Walking Mountains Science Center booth at the Vail Farmers’ Market Sundays throughout the summer. All ages, donations requested.
* Evening Beaver Pond Tour – Mondays & Thursdays 7pm-8:30pm (June 16-September 1)
Beavers are one of the animals that define the Rocky Mountains and Vail is lucky to have a healthy beaver population right in town. The evening begins at the Nature Center with a brief presentation about beavers, followed by a drive to a beaver pond where there is an active lodge. Bring warm clothes and a flashlight. All ages, $6 per child, $12 per adult or $35 for a family of five.
*Stories in the Sky: Stargazing – Tuesdays, (8:45pm-10pm 6/17 – 7/29 | 8:15pm-9:30pm 8/5 – 8/28)
From endless constellations, cascading shooting stars and full moons almost as bright as the sun, these are the realities in the mountains of Vail that should be experienced by all. All ages, $6 per child, $12 per adult or $35 for a family of five.
*S’mores and More: Family Campfire Program – Wednesdays & Fridays 7pm-8:30pm (June 25 through August 29)
A warm campfire, exciting stories of woodland adventures and the sweet smell of burning marshmallows fill this family program at the Vail Nature Center. All ages, $6 per child, $12 per adult or $35 for a family of five.
*Learn to Think Like a Trout: Fly Fishing for Kids – Saturdays, 9:30am-1pm (June 21 – August 30)
This unique fly-fishing program is comprised of education about stream ecology and entomology (study of insects), as well as the basic skills of fly-fishing. Most importantly, it’s about having fun on the water! No previous experience is required. Fishing equipment is provided. Ages 8 – 13; $45.
*Art in Nature for Kids – Fridays, 9:30am-1:30pm (June 27 – August 15)
Art is all around us! These classes will engage young artists of all skill levels with the natural world while helping them appreciate art and nature in a whole new way. Art in Nature takes place outside at the Vail Nature Center. Materials included. Activities change every week – call for details and reservations. Ages 6-13; $45.
Scenic Storytime– Sundays, 10:00am-10:45am (June 15 – August 31)
Bring your little one to the Vail Nature Center to listen to stories and learn about the real plant and animal characters from the books. Storytime takes place outdoors, weather permitting. Children 2-5 years with an adult; $5/family.