Ottawa County Parks & Recreation

Nature Center

From US 31, travel west on Croswell Street to West Olive Road. Turn south on West Olive Road and travel a 1/2 mile to the entrance on the west side.

The Nature Center, located within Hemlock Crossing Park, has exhibits, a wildlife den with critters and activities, a wildlife viewing area where you can watch birds and animals at the feeders, and a gift shop. The center also hosts a variety of educational programs for schools, special groups and the public.

Public Observatory

Hemlock Crossing is home to West Michigan's first public observatory. Learn More »

Nature Programs

Guided nature and recreational programs are offered in every season. Click here to see the schedule and get registered.
Our Naturalist Guides have developed some online programming for you to enjoy from home! Click here to explore the different habitats in Michigan, geological features and historical accounts from the comfort of your own home.


Hemlock Crossing offers snowshoe rentals for adults and children (4+) at the Nature Center.

Guided treks are available throughout the winter; take a look at our program calendar for dates. Visitors are invited to warm up in front of a fire in the Great Room after their snowy outing! Contact the Nature Center at the phone number above to inquire about a group or school outing.

Man Snow Shoeing

Reserving the Nature Center

Please call the Nature Center at (616) 786-4847 to schedule a visit, inquire about availability and make your reservation. To rent other facilities within the parks, please visit Rental Facilities.

School Programs

Looking for a memorable, educational outdoor experience for your pre-k through high-school students? Look no further than the Nature Center. Our school programs enhance your students’ learning with experiences which cannot be duplicated in a classroom. The educational field-trips are designed to meet your students at the appropriate cognitive level and can even be adapted to incorporate the subject matter you are currently studying. Year-round programs are available. If distance is an issue, there is bound to be a park near you where we can accommodate your class. Contact us today.

Class Program