The Nature Center is a 20-acre green space located within a section of the Shaker Parklands that includes gardens and natural habitats -- such as a lake, stream, marsh, field, ravine and forest. To experience these fascinating habitats, take a walk along one of our two beautiful trails offering scenic views of our conserved space in the heart of historic Shaker Heights. Click here to view our hours and to find directions to visit us.
SQUARE FEET OF LAND
MAPPED NATURAL HABITATS
FEET OF ACCESSIBLE TRAIL
YEARLY VISITORS ON THE TRAILS
GARDENS FOR NATIVE PLANTS AND INSECTS
The All People's Trail
The newly renovated ADA accessible All People's Trail, completed in November 2019, is an elevated 1/3 mile boardwalk that offers nature access for people of all abilities. It winds through the forest, over the Doan Brook, and overlooks our signature marsh and Lower Shaker Lake. The marsh is beautiful in all seasons, but during the height of summer you will be awed by the picturesque splendor of the large native blooms of the Marsh Rose Mallow. A new ADA-accessible ramp connects the trail to the surrounding neighborhood trails and the Shaker Parklands.
Stearns Woodland Trail
This trail is a natural dirt and gravel path that begins at the Nature Center's Rusty Knight Woodland Garden. It can also be accessed from the Lavelle Family Amphitheater and from the left side of the parking lot. The trail winds through the floodplain forest along the Doan Brook. Run or walk among the trees, stop at Two-Tree Square, take a rest to look and listen for birds or take the Upper Rim Trail near the Prairie to spot a butterfly. Features along the new trail will include a nature play area and brook observation deck, a treehouse, mini-marsh deck, and two new bridges.
In addition to our trails, we have many pollinator gardens! The Rusty Knight Woodland Garden, located behind the Nature Center has plant identifiers to help you learn more about native plants. Near the backside of the parking lot is our Pollinator Garden full of plant species that produce nectar for important pollinators. Near the Friends Pavilion, you'll find our Permaculture Garden; a sustainable garden used to cultivate native plants. Most conspicuous is the Rain Garden directly in front of the pavilion where you can often view monarch butterflies in summer.
WHY VISIT US?
The opportunities to learn from and connect with nature within our 20 acres are boundless. While walking on our trails, you may see deer, a mink or migratory birds. In spring, you can witness the plants awakening from their winter slumber. In summer, you can experience native flowers in full bloom, watching Monarch butterflies floating gracefully through the air. In fall, you can bring the family for a leaf walk, observing the autumnal tones of the 35+ tree species on our land. The winter season allows for birders of all levels to observe the many species that can be seen here. No matter the season, there is always something new to discover.