Saturday, December 29, 2012

Riverside Park- the Urban Ecology Center

We never seem to be able to pass by the Urban Ecology Center (1500 E. Park Place) when we are on a walk or bike ride on the Oak Leaf Trail.  It's so accessible and interesting for all ages.  It's in the middle of Riverside park, right on the bike path, and has a pedestrian bridge over the path so you can easily reach the river from above.  This time of year, if you find yourself out enjoying the park or the trails, you should stop in too!  The crazy thing is that I have never actually driven there.  We often begin at the playground off of Oakland and walk over, or come by bike and enter from the trail.  You could always drive directly there, but then you'd miss the fun of the rest of the park.
You can get up close and personal to a snake
My son loves this slide which is
accessed by a secret entrance in the wall!
Once inside there are animals to see and displays about nature.  You can try a musical instrument or play a game.  The bathrooms are nice and water fountains available.  There's a meeting room in the basement you can rent for special events.  

If you're looking for some activities both outdoors and indoors, you can check their website which has a calendar of events.  Coming up this week is a Sunday program on water, and a weed-out.  During warmer months, you can use kayaks or climb the rock wall.  There are student and adult learning programs here.  It's a hub of activity on most weekends.

The building itself is quite impressive as it is green.  It has solar panels (in fact it is the largest solar power station in WI, according to their website!), finds a way to reuse rain water to flush toilets, and uses a number of recycled products.  Be sure to walk around and take a look at what they've done.

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