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OAKWOODS METROPARK
NATURE CENTER
32911 Willow Road New Boston, MI 48164
(734) 782-3956
June 19 through August 31
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
September 1 through June 18
Monday – Friday 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
View Park Maps

The Oakwoods Nature Center and the surrounding nature trails offer an “Up-North” escape in the heart of southeast Michigan. With approximately 350-acres of nature study area, exhibits highlighting local wildlife and history, and an indoor turtle pond, the nature center has everything you need to get away. 

OUR CENTER

Stop by the Oakwoods Metropark Nature Center to get up-close to our resident animals, hike a nature trail or attend a program.

Our Animals

When you visit the Nature Center, one of the first animal encounters you will have is with Hawkeye, our Red-tailed Hawk, and Radar, our Great Horned Owl. These birds have sustained such injuries that they can no longer survive on their own in the wild. They have become an invaluable part of our education programming as we educate the public on their species, as well as all other raptors.

Inside the Nature Center you can view water turtles, watching our Painted Turtles swim in their indoor turtle pond. You will also get to view some of our native reptiles and amphibians, such as an Eastern Fox Snake, a Garter Snake, Eastern Box Turtles, and Gray Tree Frogs.

Our Displays

Inside the Nature Center you’ll find our newly designed exhibits focusing on the Huron-Wyandot Native Americans that once called Oakwoods Metropark home. Explore the natural history of our area with interactive hidden panels and touch and smell stations. Encounter local reptiles and amphibians, along with our resident Birds of Prey, relax and watch the native wildlife in our “Up North Room” that overlooks the backwaters of the Huron River. Bring the little ones out to play in the new kids zone, where they can venture inside a beaver lodge, or practice their canoe skills.

Our Trails

Oakwoods is the flattest of the Metroparks, which makes its trails particularly appealing. All trails (except Split Log being hard surface) are a mix of gravel and hard packed, and mostly flat with the exception of two small hills on the back side of Long Bark Trail. The land features tall trees, wonderful woodland scenery, and the Huron River’s backwaters. Five nature trails guide the visitors through the land’s important natural features:

SPLIT LOG – 700 Feet
A hard surface, all weather trail ideal for people with special accessibility needs, seniors and people with baby strollers. This short, wooded trail gives you the sights and the sounds of a Cattail Marsh while winding you through the trees to pass our mightiest Burr Oak.

BUTTERFLY VIEWING AREA – .25 MILE
While at the park, stop at the Cedar Knoll Picnic Area to hike the nearby Butterfly Viewing trail where butterflies and other insects dominate. This flora enriched area has been a designated “Monarch Butterfly Waystation” since 2008.

BIG TREE – .75 MILE
A short woodland trail with a large variety of hardwood trees, and some interesting natural features along the way; an ancient post-glacial sand bar and a vernal pond that provides a unique home for many creatures in the spring and fall.

SKY-COME-DOWN – 1 MILE
Some woods, some fields and some in-between “edge” areas typify this trail. A 3-acre pond enhances its diversity and attractiveness of this trail to a variety of wildlife. This is the most diverse trail in terms of unique habitats and ecosystems.

LONG BARK – 2 MILES
After sampling the sights and sounds along the Huron River, this trail plunges deep into the woods where woodpeckers, squirrels, and other forest dwellers can be seen. Plants compete quietly for space and resources, and the trees give way to multiple wetlands.

Know before you go: 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.

Click here to view park maps.

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.

Displays

Our Nature Center displays were designed and installed with accessibility in mind using universal design principals. Displays include sensory touch, smell and sound elements, accessible interactive displays, angled information panels, high contrast colors, toddler play space, and even a beaver lodge replica that can be crawled or rolled through by wheelchair. Paved accessible pathways will get you from the parking area to the building.

Sensory-Friendly Backpaks

Oakwoods Metropark Nature 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

Coming soon.

Social Stories

Coming soon.

Trails

Oakwoods is the flattest of the Metroparks, which makes its trails particularly appealing. All trails (except Split Log being hard surface) are a mix of gravel and hard packed, and mostly flat with the exception of two small hills on the back side of Long Bark Trail. The land features tall trees, wonderful woodland scenery, and the Huron River’s backwaters. Five nature trails guide the visitors through the land’s important natural features:

SPLIT LOG – 700 Feet
A hard surface, all weather trail ideal for people with special accessibility needs, seniors and people with baby strollers. This short, wooded trail gives you the sights and the sounds of a Cattail Marsh while winding you through the trees to pass our mightiest Burr Oak.

BUTTERFLY VIEWING AREA – .25 MILE
While at the park, stop at the Cedar Knoll Picnic Area to hike the nearby Butterfly Viewing trail where butterflies and other insects dominate. This flora enriched area has been a designated “Monarch Butterfly Waystation” since 2008.

BIG TREE – .75 MILE
A short woodland trail with a large variety of hardwood trees, and some interesting natural features along the way; an ancient post-glacial sand bar and a vernal pond that provides a unique home for many creatures in the spring and fall.

SKY-COME-DOWN – 1 MILE
Some woods, some fields and some in-between “edge” areas typify this trail. A 3-acre pond enhances its diversity and attractiveness of this trail to a variety of wildlife. This is the most diverse trail in terms of unique habitats and ecosystems.

LONG BARK – 2 MILES
After sampling the sights and sounds along the Huron River, this trail plunges deep into the woods where woodpeckers, squirrels, and other forest dwellers can be seen. Plants compete quietly for space and resources, and the trees give way to multiple wetlands.

Know before you go: 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.

Click here to view park maps.

NATURE CENTER PHOTO GALLERY
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