Earth Discovery Center

Hours

Monday–Saturday, 10am–5pm
Sunday, 1pm-5pm
Free with park admission

Links

School Field Trips
Building Rental
Maps

5901 Delong Road Indianapolis, IN 46254
317.327.7148

In 2007, with the help of the Eagle Creek Park Foundation, the Earth Discovery Center was born.  We raised $3.4 million to construct a world-class nature center, which you can find nestled in the forest canopy right by the reservoir.  With an emphasis on the youth, the Earth Discovery Center seeks to enhance environmental education for all ages!

The old original nature center, now known as the Ornithology Center, attracted around 40,000 guests per year, and only had the capacity to hold one classroom of students. Now, the larger building caters to over 80,000 annual visitors and hosts thousands of students every year on field trips to learn about the natural world.

As soon as you walk in, it’s very likely you’ll be greeted by some sort of creature! That might be a snail, or during the summertime, you can even catch the morphing of a caterpillar into a monarch butterfly right at the front desk. Inside the center you’ll find exhibits and information about native Indiana plants and animals, including aquariums with live native reptiles, fish, and amphibians, taxidermy mounts, and replicas. Other wildlife educational ambassadors may make appearances at scheduled program times. When you venture outside, you can take in a beautiful view of the reservoir out on the deck, or hop on the nearby hiking trails.

As well as field trips, naturalists host over 100 nature-based public programs, events, and summer day camps. For a current list of Eagle Creek programs, please visit this Indy Parks page.

Weekly Activities

Wildflower Weekend

Welcome spring with a weekend of guided hikes and programs to enjoy and learn about the beautiful wildflowers of Eagle Creek Park!

This event takes place in mid-April with a detailed schedule available by mid-March at www.indyparks.org.

Celebration of Nature

This annual exhibit showcases local artists and nature-themed paintings, photography, sculpture, wood-carving, and more! Celebration of Nature takes place the first two weeks of December.

Information and entry forms available at our Art Shows page.

Plan A Field Trip

Call for available times
We have various options for unique learning activities.  Please call us or email

Building Features

Kids standing on paver wall of a geothermal pond

Geothermal Pond

In 2014, the Eagle Creek Park Foundation contributed $30,000 to supplement a 3Mgives Eco Grant for construction of a geothermal pond behind the Earth Discovery Center. This allows for large school groups to immerse in an elaborate pond study program to dip-net for frogs and aquatic insects, which adds to their studies in the wet lab.
teens looking at a fish tank filled with aquatic life

Classrooms

The Wet Lab Classroom is set up much like a high school science lab with stools and six lab tables, and is a great space for messier field trip activities. The Dry Lab is a multifunctional open space that is also the home base for summer daycamps. By utilizing the Exhibit Hall, the Earth Discovery Center can host up to three classrooms simultaneously.

frog sitting on top of a turtle on a log

Exhibit Hall

The Exhibit Hall is home to some of our live turtles, snakes, and other educational ambassadors, as well as a multifunctional space for field trips, public programs, art exhibits, and seasonal activities and displays. The walls of this unique space are covered with custom wallpaper artwork featuring several of the native plants and animals found in Eagle Creek Park.

Meet the Naturalists

Key Contributors to the
Earth Discovery Center

The EDC would like to thank the following generous contributors:

“We find that a lot of kids are really scared of nature — they come here and think they’re going into the jungle! We want them to take a walk in the park and realize that there is nothing dangerous out there. They might find some of these creatures in their own backyard, but they’re harmless and fun to learn about.”

Eco-Friendly Building

The Earth Discovery Center was built with the following environmentally friendly features:

  • Geothermal heating and cooling that utilizes local groundwater
  • Photocell outdoor lighting
  • Native, wildlife-friendly landscaping
  • Carpet made of recycled material
  • Eco-friendly bathrooms with motion sensor lighting, faucets, and hand dryers, as well as low-volume toilets
  • Revolving front door that helps keep cooled or heated air inside
  • Built on the site of the old ranger station (using previously disturbed land means fewer habitats affected and less land cleared)
  • Bike racks
  • Furniture made of recycled plastic
  • Recycling containers for plastic, glass, and paper products
  • Bio-swale and swirl tank to clean storm water run-off before returning it to the reservoir
Eagle Creek Park Foundation © 2023. All Rights Reserved.