Earth Discovery Center

Hours

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

Links

School Field Trips
Building Rental
Trail Map
Tree Map
Facility Layout

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 – 6,000 who are students on field trips learning more 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 a beehive, exhibits of the American toad and grey tree frog, leaf collections and plant displays, nature-based artwork for sale, and much more. 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.

Throughout the year, naturalists host around 130 nature-based programs, which are open to the public. These interactive classes are designed for all ages and include activities like owl-gazing, nature hikes or building of habitats, to name a few.

Weekly Activities

Feeding Time

Sundays, 1:30pm Currently on Hold
Watch as the park’s educational reptiles, amphibians and other critters enjoy their lunch! You’ll learn some natural history about each animal along the way. On the menu: worms, defrosted mice, salad, crickets, and frozen bloodworms.

Nature Discovery Class

Saturdays, 1:30pm Currently on Hold
Stop by on the weekend for a fun activity at the Earth Discovery Center! Topic vary – possible activities include nature hikes, insects, pond life, simple crafts and more! Free with park admission

Plan A Field Trip

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

Building Features

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.

Classrooms

The wet lab is set up much like a high school science lab complete with microscopes for water analysis and chemical testing. The dry lab can host just about any program and is more like a traditional school classroom. Altogether, the Earth Discovery Center can host three classrooms simultaneously between the labs and exhibit hall.

Exhibit Hall

This is where you’ll find live exhibits featuring a variety of native amphibians, reptiles, and fish that call Eagle Creek Park their home. You’ll find salamanders and mudpuppies along with fish like the largemouth bass, bluegill, and catfish. More during the wintertime, you can view box and musk turtles, and red-eared sliders in addition to black rat, garter, and water snakes. This space is also utilized for our three of our art shows, and even then, the live animals remain on display for visitors.

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.”

Leah Frenzel, Earth Discovery Center Naturalist

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