Placer Nature Center

Placer Nature Center is located in Auburn, CA. It is a great place geared towards helping parents and children learn about the outdoors. They have homeschool classes, classes for educators, and parent/child exploration days. They are also open to the public.

They have a ton of picnic tables, bathrooms, hiking trails, and various indoor exhibits. They also have a frog pond (where they pulled out some pond water so we could play with tadpoles) and a garden. There are some clearings that were fun to collect sticks and build things in. And yes, since it is outside in the foothills there is poison oak.

We went to their Saturday parent/child class. We got there late but no one minded. They welcomed us and we jumped into learning about frogs, then about the way water flows from snow to usage and then back through evaporation. We saw a real beehive and some baby trout. We went walking through the garden and hiked a small trail (my 16 month old did it too!). They helped us use their microscopes to look at various slides and let Nicholas assemble skeleton of animals. It was a blast.

It was a great adventure to do as a family. We got to do some guided learning about things that we didn’t really know. We had helpers to make sure my kids didn’t kill the tadpoles while playing with them – because if left to our own devices I would never have done that. And then we got to hang out and walk around and enjoy nature. It was a fabulous family learning activity. I would go back anytime. In fact, we are headed back for their April class.

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