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Parks and Recreation

Our Programs and Services

School Field TripsChildren crossing Vaughn's Creek

The Nature Center offers field trips designed to provide students with meaningful, enjoyable outdoor experiences enhancing their study of science and appreciation of nature. The field trip curriculum was developed in alignment with the Metro Nashville Public Schools’ science curriculum standards and Common Core State Standards for Speaking and Listening. For more information about field trips, download the WPNC Educator's Guide, 2012-2013.pdf, the Tennessee common core standards supplement to ED Guide.pdf, and Educational Programs for Groups supplement.

School groups may also visit the Nature Center on their own on Tuesdays and Fridays when naturalist-led field trips are not available. For more information about a self-guided visit, please call 615-352-6299.

PechaKucha - Inspiring Children to Learn Outdoors

Public ProgramsFamily wearing insect antennae

To help people of all ages enjoy the beauty and wonder of the Warner Parks, the Nature Center offers a variety of public programs tailored for all ages. Almost all of our programs are free of charge. Our programs are very popular and tend to fill up quickly. Our July public schedule includes regular programming on Wednesdays for school-aged children, night programs for families, and Summer Saturdays. Check out the August public schedule for adult programs such as Dazzling Dragonflies, led by Richard Connors on Saturday, August 2, and Organic Gardening, presented by our own Deb Beazley on Saturday, August 23. Registration for programs is required and can be done by calling the Nature Center at 615-352-6299.

  • Preschoolers (ages 3-5) These programs are designed specifically for young children who are just beginning to develop their innate curiosity for the natural world.
  • School-aged Children (ages 6-12) Through hands-on exploration and first-hand experience, children discover the intricacies, as well as the beauty, of the natural world.
  • Families (all ages) These programs are fun, friendly, informal gatherings where children and adults can celebrate the wonder and beauty of nature. Topics are often very general, but there is always something of interest for everyone.
  • Adults (ages 13 and up) For park visitors who are looking for programs that address natural history topics in an adult manner, these programs incorporate enjoyable outdoor experiences with meaningful interpretation.

Scout Programs

Many programs are offered to scout groups at the WPNC. Most programs publicized in the seasonal schedule are not available to entire troops. Those that welcome scout groups are:

  • Bird Banding Days (seasonal)
  • Webelos Geology/Rocks Rock! (offered in late February)
  • Webelos Forester (offered in late October)
  • Star Party (seasonal)

Registration is required for all public programs and space is limited.

Other programs are also offered to troops by request:

Boy Scouts
Any Tiger, Bear, Wolf Cub Scout programs that relate to the Nature Center, Warner Parks, etc.
Webelos Geology, Forestry, and Naturalist Badges
Any Boy Scout programs that relate to the Nature Center, Warner Parks, etc, and especially merit badges from the Natural Sciences Group
I Will Survive basic survival program endorsed by NASAR
Nature Center Junior Naturalist Badge: Birds Webelos scouts identifying trees
Basic Map and Compass, Orienteering and GPS
Tour of the historic Hodge House

Girl Scouts
Any Daisy or Brownie programs that relate to the Nature Center, Warner Parks, etc.
Junior Girl Scout Hiker, Ecology, and Wildlife Badges
Any Girl Scout programs that relate to the Nature Center, Warner Parks, etc.
I Will Survive basic survival program endorsed by NASAR
Nature Center Junior Naturalist Badge: Birds
Basic Map and Compass, Orienteering and GPS
Tour of the historic Hodge House

All programs offered at the Nature Center/by Nature Center staff are free to the public. Minimum scout group size for a requested program is 10 scouts. Scout leaders and/or parents must accompany scouts during programs. “By request” programs are offered Tuesday through Saturday at the Nature Center; programs may be scheduled to begin NO LATER than 3:30p.m. Programs may be scheduled by contacting the Nature Center at 615-352-6299 or wpnc@nashville.gov.

Picnicking is allowed in the Edwin Warner Park Picnic Areas located off Vaughn Road on the Little Harpeth River on a first-come first-served basis November – March. April – October, the picnic shelters may be reserved by calling Metro Parks at 862-8408 (8a.m.-noon). Picnicking is not allowed on the Nature Center grounds.

Scout groups and Eagle Scout candidates interested in conservation projects can call Friends of Warner Park at 615-370-8053. The Volunteer Coordinator, along with Warner Park staff, will work with the troop to find a suitable project in the Warner Parks.

Junior NaturaWarner Parks Junior Naturalist patchlist 2014: Investigating Insects!

Our self-guided program for school-aged children will focus on animals with three body parts (head, thorax, and abdomen), six jointed legs, two antennae and usually wing: insects! Attend Nature Center programs that focus on insects of Warner Parks, explore the Junior Naturalist Resource Box, and investigate the insects in your own habitat while completing the activities in our Junior Naturalist Brochure. For more information, call us!

Nature Play

Nature Play Brochure.pdf

Nature Play area behind Learning Center

Remember when you had hours of fun simply playing in a sand pit or dirt pile? Your toys were sticks, rocks, and cups. You made mud pies, truck lanes, and deep holes in the sand. You got dirty, but you had the time of your life. The Nature Center wants kids to experience this good, old fashion fun in our Nature Play area.

Designed by Tara Armistead and funded by memorial contributions for her father, Dr. William Crenshaw, this exciting play area includes a cedar wood playhouse, a stone wall in one corner, 2 dirt piles, and a huge sand pit. Plus, (and this is the most fun part) there is a spigot that funnels water into the dirt! Mud pies anyone?

Purple PacksPond Purple Pack

Our Purple Packs have changed! They may still be checked out at the Nature Center between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. And they're still FREE! NOW, Purple Packs will have a different theme based on the current season. For summer, check out the Pond Purple Pack, which contains a pond journal microscope, dip nets, and more!