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INDIAN SPRINGS METROPARK
ENVIRONMENTAL DISCOVERY CENTER
5175 Indian Trail, White Lake, MI 48386
(248) 625-7280
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
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Explore the diversity of Southeast Michigan’s native habitats at Indian Springs Metropark’s Environmental Discovery Center (EDC). This center is a gateway into the complexity and beauty of prairies, wetlands and woods. The EDC features 60 acres of restored native prairie ecosystems within our 2500-acre park. The award-winning EDC building also contains classrooms, a science lab and a 200-person event room used for a variety of school, scout and public programs, as well as special events. The interactive exhibits feature the diversity of the park’s ecosystems, including an underwater pond viewing room. 

OUR CENTER

Our Displays

Displays at the Environmental Discovery Center provide a window into the diversity and uniqueness of the ecosystems found in the park.

First Floor Displays

The first floor entry level of the EDC has two touch tables where you can explore the textures of fossils, feathers, animal pelts, pine cones and other nature artifacts. Here you can also see taxidermy mounts of Michigan birds and mammals. You’ll see a gray wolf and black bear mount that were found in this part of Michigan in pre-settlement times but are now only found further north. Other animals such as white-tailed deer, eastern massasauga rattlesnakes, and many duck species are found in the park today. Interpretive staff are available at our front desk on this level to address questions or provide additional information.

Lower Level Displays

The centerpiece of the lower level is a massive sculpture highlighting our wetlands. It features cattail and arrowhead root plants, a huge leopard frog and a gigantic dragonfly nymph and adult.

The prairie display features push buttons and photos where you can listen to sounds heard in this ecosystem. Flip-up doors reveal illustrations of animals that burrow in the soil, and a cube of prairie shows how extensive the plant roots are under the wildflowers and grasses seen on the surface. Learn how the ecosystem is maintained by fire and watch a video clip of a prescribed burn at this park.

In addition, you will find displays that teach about:

  • Wetland services like flood prevention, water filtration and wildlife habitat are illustrated using everyday objects on the swamp display
  • The variety of trees that can survive with wet feet
  • The eastern massasauga rattlesnake
  • The Allegheny mound-builder ants and their life-cycle

You can read displays about the research at the park and see the radio transmitter used to track snakes at the park near the eastern massasauga display.  You can see and touch some of the tools like secchi disks, data loggers, and even hula hoops(!) that are used to scientifically explore the park ecosystems.

Our Trails

In addition to the nature trails described below, there are a few more paths  that lead to the Lower Pond boardwalk, a lovely place to view wetlands, and the Native Plant Garden, where a great deal of biodiversity in prairie plants is visible. These trails have elevation changes and are in the full sun.

POND PROMENADE – 1.4 MILES
The trail is a short trail beginning at the Environmental Discovery Center, with a mix of shade and sun on this aggregate and grass trail a well as steep elevation changes.

TURKEYFOOT TRAIL – .5 MILE or LUPINE LOOP – .75 MILE
Explore a 60 acre prairie restoration along these two trails. Native grasses and wildflowers are at their best in late summer and early fall. Head to the Outwash Overlook for a panoramic view from the highest point in the park. This aggregate trail has elevation changes and is in full sun.

PONDSIDE TRAIL – .25 MILE
This paved trail beginning at the Park Office provides a flat, accessible walk around a wooded pond area. Look for wetland birds and turtles as you walk through the dappled shade.

WOODLAND TRAIL – 3.25 MILES
Traverse the Woodland Trail to experience the Great Huron Swamp, with its tall trees and vernal pools. This area is known for spring ephemeral wildflowers, beautiful red, orange and yellow leaves in the fall and peaceful snowy walks in the winter. These aggregate trails are relatively flat. Boardwalks are in place to cross the river and wetlands. There is plentiful shade when the trees have leaves. Crosscut Shortcut (3/4 mile), Hunter’s Ridge Shortcut (1.25 mile), and Sawmill Shortcut (2 miles) are options for a shorter walk than completing the entire Woodland Trail.

FARMLAND TRAIL – 1.5 MILES
This trail leads visitors through a mix of old farm fields and wooded areas. Farm equipment used long ago is visible along the trail. There is a mix of shade and sun.

Know before you go: The trails are open during posted park hours. Occasionally woodland trails may be blocked with debris such as fallen tree limbs. Nature trails are not cleared or salted in the winter and may be snow-covered, slippery or muddy. Pets, bicycles and running are not permitted on the nature trails.

Our Discovery Pond

Don’t miss the underwater pond dome, where you can get a view of the naturally managed discovery pond and see what life is like below the water’s surface for our native fish!

Underwater conditions and visibility change frequently, so feel free to call the EDC at (248) 625-7280 in advance to find out the viewing conditions.

PROGRAMS & ACTIVITIES

Educational programs and activities allow you to interact with nature and learn about the world around us in fun new ways. In-school programs, fields trips to the Metroparks, homeschool programs and scout programs can all be found at your Metropark interpretive centers.

What topics do we cover? Wildlife, natural science, environment, ecology, climate, farm life, regional history. And that’s just to start. Most Metroparks programs support the Common Core Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts and Math (STREAM) and Michigan Science Standards curriculum in content, methodology and technology use.

Learn more about educational programs and activities by clicking on the buttons below.

ACCESSIBILITY

The Metroparks are committed to removing barriers, creating and improving access, and increasing recreation opportunities for all.

Sensory-Friendly Backpacks

Indian Springs Metropark Environmental Discovery Center offers Sensory-Friendly Backpacks for those with sensory sensitivities. These backpacks include communication cards, noise cancelling headphones, sunglasses, a liquid timer, and additional fidget items. These can be checked out and returned to the front desk.

Sensory-Friendly Facility Map

Environmental Discovery Center Sensory-Friendly Building Map

Social Story

Indian Springs Metropark Environmental Discovery Center has created a Social Story as a preview guide for individuals with sensory process and autism spectrum differences. This guide can help prepare you, parents or caregivers for your visit to the center. Click here to read the Indian Springs Metropark Environmental Discovery Center Social Story.

Trails

In addition to the nature trails described below, there are a few more paths  that lead to the Lower Pond boardwalk, a lovely place to view wetlands, and the Native Plant Garden where a great deal of biodiversity in prairie plants is visible. These trails have elevation change and are in the full sun.

In addition to the nature trails described below, there are a few more paths  that lead to the Lower Pond boardwalk, a lovely place to view wetlands, and the Native Plant Garden, where a great deal of biodiversity in prairie plants is visible. These trails have elevation changes and are in the full sun.

POND PROMENADE – 1.4 MILES
The trail is a short trail beginning at the Environmental Discovery Center, with a mix of shade and sun on this aggregate and grass trail a well as steep elevation changes.

TURKEYFOOT TRAIL – .5 MILE or LUPINE LOOP – .75 MILE
Explore a 60 acre prairie restoration along these two trails. Native grasses and wildflowers are at their best in late summer and early fall. Head to the Outwash Overlook for a panoramic view from the highest point in the park. This aggregate trail has elevation changes and is in full sun.

PONDSIDE TRAIL – .25 MILE
This paved trail beginning at the Park Office provides a flat, accessible walk around a wooded pond area. Look for wetland birds and turtles as you walk through the dappled shade.

WOODLAND TRAIL – 3.25 MILES
Traverse the Woodland Trail to experience the Great Huron Swamp, with its tall trees and vernal pools. This area is known for spring ephemeral wildflowers, beautiful red, orange and yellow leaves in the fall and peaceful snowy walks in the winter. These aggregate trails are relatively flat. Boardwalks are in place to cross the river and wetlands. There is plentiful shade when the trees have leaves. Crosscut Shortcut (3/4 mile), Hunter’s Ridge Shortcut (1.25 mile), and Sawmill Shortcut (2 miles) are options for a shorter walk than completing the entire Woodland Trail.

FARMLAND TRAIL – 1.5 MILES
This trail leads visitors through a mix of old farm fields and wooded areas. Farm equipment used long ago is visible along the trail. There is a mix of shade and sun.

Know before you go: The trails are open during posted park hours. Occasionally woodland trails may be blocked with debris such as fallen tree limbs. Nature trails are not cleared or salted in the winter and may be snow-covered, slippery or muddy. Pets, bicycles and running are not permitted on the nature trails.

ENVIRONMENTAL DISCOVERY CENTER PHOTO GALLERY
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