A hidden gem, the E.L. Johnson Nature Center in Bloomfield Hills is picturesque with its four-acre, inland pond and more than two miles of walking trails where an assortment of animals can be found.
As part of the Bloomfield Hills School District, the visitor center offers a variety of programs in addition to educational exhibits and seasonal displays – and hours tend to vary during the week, but is open Saturday and Sundays (12:00pm until 3:00pm). Programs are geared more towards school field trips, but are also available for scout groups, families and adults, and special events such as birthday parties.
This is one nature center where you can expect to spend the majority of your time outdoors. There’s plenty to do though. The hiking trails are suitable for strollers, but are dirt/mulch so smaller wheels may have a little trouble, and there are benches and picnic tables whenever a break is needed. Between wetlands and woods, there are many different animals that can be found – if you’re lucky, you’ll catch sight of a red fox, coyote, or mink along with the common sight of deer, birds, amphibians, and reptiles.
E.L. Johnson Nature Center is also home to two deer, a red-tailed hawk, and two great-horned owls who have been displaced or injured.
My man and I didn’t get a chance to explore all 40 acres, but we were captivated by what we were able to explore. Although if you have a little one who is afraid of bees, there is a bee farm on site and one of the trails does go by it – consider yourself warned. *grin*
One of the areas I wish we could have checked out was the “faithfully-restored” 1859 one-room schoolhouse and a log cabin, but that just means we have something to look forward to next time!
Note that there are public restrooms available inside the Nature Center building, however, the visitor center weekday hours vary depending on the season, so if not having access to a restroom is problematic, I would call (248.341.6485) to see when/if it is open before going out there. The trails are open Monday through Friday 8:00 am until 7:00 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm and no pets or bikes are allowed – but it is perfect for joggers who are looking for a change of scenery.
The E.L. Johnson Nature Center is located at 3325 Franklin Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302.
Jackie is a stay at home mom to two adventure loving boys; a wife to a husband who is very tolerant of her reading addiction; and the owner of Literary Escapism where she has actively promoted books since 2006. Since introducing her boys to the world of superheroes and Doctor Who, she has realized that she is a bigger geek than she knew. She loves exploring and finding new adventures to take her boys on, and it turns out they love checking out the unknown as well.