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The Environmental Nature Center makes Learning a Breeze

Mar 15, 2011 by Sandy Schroeder

It starts the moment you pull into the parking lot and walk into the state of the art Environmental Nature Center Green Building, the first of its kind in Orange County. It’s an 8,500 square foot learning center, certified at the highest level of green standards and chock full of nature and energy advice and examples.

Then, from there you’re able to step onto a nature trail that winds its way through 15 different California plant communities and wildlife habitats, including desert oasis, valley grassland, foothill woodland, chaparral, coastal strand, redwood forest, mixed evergreen forest and northern oak woodland.

I visited the ENC in Newport on a recent Saturday afternoon and found:

Numerous families roaming through the Center, as the kids were smiling and the parents seemed relaxed. That’s hands-on learning at its best.

It’s really your choice. Treat the ENC as a learning experience and explore the site with programs for the whole family. Or, if you’re in the neighborhood and having one of those days, it’s the perfect place for a brief walking meditation, as you meander down its pebbled paths with the sun on your back, birds in the air, and the sounds of trickling water in the serene background.

The site is only 10 minutes from the busy Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach.

The Native Butterfly House Celebration is this, May 7th .

In the midst of my tour of the nature trails, I spotted the Butterfly House. It’s not open yet, but it will be as previously stated this May 7th, when the center sponsors an opening celebration and eco-faire.

As the only one of its kind in Orange County, the house will feature over 45 nectar plants and a huge collection of other native species. After May 7th, it will be open on sunny days all the way through to the fall.

As a learning experience,the ENC has a whole set of programs specifically designed for you and your kids to learn about energy conservation and use, and the many diverse aspects of California. There’s also a planting area for demonstrations using native California plants. Check the site for school, scout programs, classes and birthday party facilities.

The ENC is located at 1601 16th street, in Newport Beach. To get there, just head south on Pacific Coast Highway, then turn left on Dover, and make another left on 16th Street.

It hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8 am – 5 pm, and on Saturday, 8 am – 4pm. The ENC is closed on Sundays.

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Family, Hiking/Walking, Parks, Recreation, SoCal
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