Nature Explore® Classroom, Trail and Garden

Nature Explore® Certified ClassroomA woman and a group of children around a bin of composting leaves.

This outdoor classroom area is designed to engage children in exploring and interacting with the natural world as part of their daily life, helping to develop a lifelong sense of wonder. Our certified Nature Explore Classroom is a dynamic, nature-based play and learning space for family enjoyment. Children can enjoy digging in the dirt, creating music, making art with natural materials, climbing and more!

The surrounding landscape showcases key ecological concepts, including:

  • Animal habitats
  • Composting
  • Ecological cycles
  • Gardening
  • Recycling
  • Water issues
  • Worm composting

Nature Explore® Trail

Located adjacent to a creek on the Environmental Education Center grounds, the Nature Explore Trail is an educational pathway that uses interactive signage to teach visitors about Plano’s creeks, their inhabitants and ways that residents of all ages can care for them. The trail was funded through a Texas Parks & Wildlife Conservation License Plate grant.

The trail’s boardwalk is made of TREX, a composite decking material made from recycled wood and plastic film. The use of this recycled material shows that watershed protection, including the removal of plastic pollution from waterways, can be a beneficial practice. 

The trail also features a metal art installation of "Herbie" the blue heron. Blue herons are large wading birds that are common in Plano’s creeks, and their survival is dependent on the health of their habitat. "Herbie" was designed to visibly house plastic debris to demonstrate the impact of litter on wildlife and the environment.

Nature Explore® Garden

The Nature Explore® Garden reconnects young children with nature through activities engaging important skills in science, math, music, movement, language, literacy, art and social visual-spatial development.

There are endless possibilities to discover nature:

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  • Crawl through a tunnel-like a worm
  • Sneak a peek at the root viewing box
  • Create music which mimics nature
  • Weave with natural objects
  • Dig for worms and hold one
  • Hide in a chrysalis
  • Spot a bird
  • Plant a seed in the children’s garden
  • Hunt recycled objects
  • Count the rings on a giant tree cookie

For more information, visit the Nature Explore® website.