Experience nature and develop an appreciation for the wild beauty and uniqueness of North America’s heartland while enjoying a 2-mile walk along a trail twisting through the 240-acre Great Plains Nature Center. Learn about native Kansas wildlife at Chisholm Creek Park, accessible through wetlands, prairie and riparian habitats.
The Great Plains Nature Center helps promote conservation while teaching visitors the importance of urban habitats. The Plains offer a unique environment because they are not surrounded by oceans or mountains, yet wildlife thrives on the available resources. In Kansas, grassland prairies make up the majority of the habitat for many animals and plant life. From rivers and streams to wetlands and woodlands, animals and plant life adapt to sometimes-harsh climates including temperature fluctuations, winds, rain, snow and ice in the winter and dry heat in the summer.
So what kinds of animals call Kansas and Wichita home? There have been 87 species of mammals, 457 species of birds, 67 species of reptiles, 32 species of amphibians and about 15,000 species of insects recorded in the state. At the Great Plains Nature Center, visitors have the chance to see some of these species in action at Chisholm Creek Park, including egrets, muskrats, fish, deer and a vast array of wildflowers and grasses. To respect the natural habitat of the animals and plant life, pets, bicycles, skateboards and skating is prohibited. Fishing is only allowed in two areas: Island Pond, which has a strict catch-and-release rule, and Chisholm Lake. A valid fishing license is required.
Inside the Great Plains Nature Center, you’ll find Koch Habitat Hall. This nature museum teaches visitors about the climate of the Great Plains and history of its great prairies, wildlife and plant life. With a hands-on, interactive area, guests can learn about the rivers, lakes, riparian habitats and woodlands that make up the beauty of the Plains, as we know it. Check out the 2,200-gallon aquarium filled with fish life, or learn about the sounds native animals make. Find out more about this museum and others focused on the history of Wichita here.