The Nature Discovery for Kids program is a cooperation of the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park and the Friends of the Rio Grande Nature Center, a non-profit organization established to support the park and its mission.
Founded in 1986, Nature Discovery for Kids is a summer program offered Monday through Thursday weekly classes (8:30am to 11:00am) organized by professional educators aimed at connecting young people with the natural world around them. Our instructors use hands-on activities to teach students about nature and science. In each class our students get to explore outdoors and experience different parts of the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park. We encourage them to observe, share, and ask lots of questions. We value the input of our young naturalists and we use their ideas, observations, and questions to guide our programs each day.
Sessions often begin with an overview of the topic through discussion, games, pictures, slides, short videos, or study of models or real animals. Exploration and observation are exciting and the daily nature hikes are a favorite of many students. Frequently there are trail activities and games such as scavenger hunts, observing nature, and collecting data. Some classes collect and observe specimens which are then returned to nature, and some classes work on projects. Classes spend time throughout the park, including some areas not normally accessible to the public. Classes often end with discussion and review of what was learned.
2023 Session Schedule
If you are a member of the Friends of the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park, a 10% discount will be applied to the cost of these sessions at checkout when you enter the Promotion Code Member. (You are a member if you have a current Friends day use placard for the park.)
You may also purchase a membership now to get the 10% discount for these sessions and an annual Friends placard. Regular memberships are $30 per year and special memberships for seniors (62+), teachers, people with disabilities, and students (18-23) are $20 per year. Without a membership or a current state park pass, the day use fee is $3 per vehicle per day.
If you are registering more than one child, purchase only one membership.
- Refunds must be requested by 4:00 pm on the Wednesday before the class begins on the next Monday. Call RGNC Visitor Center at 505-344-7240. to make the request.
- If a last-minute cancellation must be made, a refund will only be issued if there is another student who can be enrolled to fill the space. If there is no one else to take the space, no refund will be made.
- Class cancellations may occur if there are fewer that 8 students enrolled by the Wednesday before the class begins. Parents will be notified and have the option of a refund or a transfer to another class, if available.
- FRGNC Administration will make the final decisions on refunds. Refunds are only given by check. For questions contact the Friends office at 505-343-1373.
What to Know Before You Register
- Classes will be held regardless of weather.
- BE ON TIME for class. Meet the teachers at the group shelter in front of the Education Building, south of the parking lot. Pick your child(ren) up ON TIME also at the group shelter. Parents/guardians must sign children in and out of class.
- We will be outside, so children need to apply sunscreen and insect repellent before class and wear close-toed shoes (no flip-flops). Children should wear comfortable clothes that can get dirty and protect from scratchy bushes.
- Children can bring water in a non-breakable (no glass), easy to carry container, but NO SNACKS please.
- Cell phones can only be used with permission of the teacher for taking pictures. No pictures of other children can be taken and NO other uses of cell phones is permitted.
Rules for Students
- Children must stay with the group at all times.
- Do not bring electronic games, toys or other distractions. Check with the teacher for permission before bringing specimens to show.
- Children must be able to follow instructions and be respectful of fellow students, teachers, volunteers, and the park. Potential safety hazards will be discussed. Those who create safety or discipline problems will be asked to leave and their registration fee will not be refunded.
Note: Registration for each class ends at noon on the Sunday before the class begins on Monday.
If you are enrolling more than one child, please close this window and go back to the website when you have completed the registration and payment.