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Parks and Recreation

Our Programs and Services

School Field Tripskids smiling at the pond

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 a list of State Science Standards covered by Nature Center field trips, as well as a list of the Common Core Standards we address, please see our Supplement to the Educator's Guide.

School groups may also visit the Nature Center on their own on 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 Programsfacepainting at Insects of the Night event

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. 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.
  • Homeschool Journeys are hands-on exploration and first-hand experiences through which children discover the intricacies, as well as the beauty, of the natural world. Children aged 5-13 (Kindergarten through 8th grade) may register for these programs, which take place on the second Thursday of every month, September through December. Note: Starting in February, registration for Homeschool Journeys will be online. To register, visit our Calendar of Events page on the day of registration, and click on the desired age and session you wish to register for. From there, you fill out the necessary information, and hit submit. Once the space is filled, you can email to be put on the waiting list.
  • 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 ScoutsWebelos scouts identifying trees

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

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 615-862-8408 (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.

Nature Play

Nature Play Brochure

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 PacksFall little purple pack 2014

Purple Packs have been updated again! These packs, which can be checked out from the Nature Center for free between 9 and 3 p.m. daily, have activities and tools to encourage exploration around the pond, garden, forest, and field. Our newest additions include scavenger hunts for nuts and seeds for both our preschool friends and school-aged children. Check out a purple pack today and hit the trail!