Explore and Learn at Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids

Explore and Learn at Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids

Blandford Nature Center Canada Goose Pond Grand Rapids

Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids is an excellent place for families to learn about nature, whether they do it in the visitor center or out on the trails that wind through the 264-acre property. You can view and visit the rescue animals that now call this awesome place home, stroll past historic buildings, participate in educational programs, or explore the miles of trails. The entire complex also includes the Blandford Farm (with goats and sheep) and The Highlands, a former golf course being turned into a public nature preserve with trails. We made a visit to Blandford Nature Center in April and today we will share some photos from our visit and tell you what you need to know to visit this place on your own!

Blandford Nature Center Visitor Center

We started our visit at the visitor center, where there is always friendly staff on hand and a few rescue animals inside. You will see turtles, a raven, an opossum, owls, and more here and learn about each of these wildlife ambassadors.

Blandford Nature Center Raven Wildlife Ambassador

Blandford Nature Center Barred Owl Wildlife Ambassador

A trail that leads behind the visitor center leads to more animal enclosures. You can see Apollo the bobcat, a few hawks, an osprey, three turkey vultures, and even a porcupine! Buddy the red-tailed hawk was incredibly vocal during our visit as you can see in the video above.

Blandford Nature Center Vernal Pools Info Sign

Blandford nature Center Wetland Wildlife Sign

After visiting the animals we headed out on the trails. We wanted to check out the wetland areas we saw on our drive in to the parking lot so we started with the East Trail heading to the Blue Heron Trail. There are many informational signs along the way, telling about the types of habitats and what animals you might expect to spot there.

Blandford Nature Center Forest Information Sign

Blandford Nature Center Turtle Grand Rapids

The walk to Timpson Tower (which was still closed for the season) and the wetland walkway was scenic and between a quarter and half mile. The pond here is home to many turtles, some ducks and geese, lots of smaller birds, and even the occasional water snake. We loved the views here and can’t wait to come back when the tower is open. We looped around a little bit to see where the Highlands property connects, but we didn’t explore any of the trails there.

Blandford Nature Center Prairie Loop Trail Grand Rapids

Blandford Nature Center Canada Goose 2024

Crossing the main entrance road, we entered the Prairie Trail that loops around a pond. There were lots of Canada geese, a few swallows, and some ducks here.

Blandford Nature Center Blacksmith Shop

Blandford Nature Center one room schoolhouse

Blandford Nature Center Sugarhouse

A short cutover led us to the Wagon Trail where there are some historic buildings. An old blacksmith shop and a one room schoolhouse are a few of the highlights here. We decided to head over to the farm and passed a log cabin and a wooden sugarhouse as we started the South Farm Trail. In less than a half mile we were out at the farm.

Blandford Farm Barn Grand Rapids

The working and educational farm is home to some goats, a beautiful barn, and a community supported agriculture program.

Blandford nature Center Red Bellied Woodpecker

Blandford Nature Center Woodpecker East Loop Trail

Blandford Nature Center West Loop Trail

Heading back we took the North Farm Trail then met up with the West Loop and headed down into the woods and across the creek. This area was full of woodpeckers! We watched as red-bellied woodpeckers went to work at the tops of trees and downy woodpeckers took aim at fallen logs and smaller trees.

Blandford Nature Center Squirrel 2024

The West Loop eventually ends up behind the visitor center and we were back where we had started. After making another trip through the animal enclosures we wrapped up our day at Blandford, amazed that such an incredible place is this close to us here in Grand Rapids.

Blandford Nature Center Hewett Memorial Meadow Grand Rapids

Blandford Nature Center is located at 1715 Hillburn Ave NW, just north of Leonard St. Separate parking for The Highlands can be found at 2715 Leonard St NW. If you want to visit the Blandford Farm without hiking through the nature center, it is located at 3145 Milo St. NW. Make sure and grab a map at the visitor center or download one at home ahead of time so you don’t miss any of the sights here!