The Highland Center for Natural History–Something for Everyone

IMG_0461Visitors who come to Prescott and those moving here, may be fortunate enough to discover one is our greatest treasures–The Highland Center for Natural History. Located a short drive down Walker Road from Highway 69 (by Costco) the Highland Center offers something for everyone.

My husband and I first came to the Highland Center because we were looking to add some more physical activity to our lives.  In September of 2008, the Highland Center began the Hiking Spree. Participants are provided with maps for a dozen hikes in the Prescott National Forest. The requirement is to complete eight of the hikes. This entitles the participants to purchase an emblem appropriate to put on a wooden walking stick (Which you can also purchase at the Highland Center). Craig and I have completed the Hiking Spree every year.  We are just three hikes away from earning our 2015 emblem.

In 2008, I was still teaching at Bradshaw Mountain High School, but I considered volunteering at the Highland Center once I retired. As retirement came closer, I put volunteering on my bucket list. For the past two years, I have been a docent for second and fourth graders who come to the Highland Center on school field trips. I have learned a lot from the docent training, but I also learn a lot from the kids. I love their enthusiasm and curiosity. Sharing my love of the outdoors with them has brought me many hours of enjoyment.

The Highland Center has much to offer. Besides the school programs for second and fourth graders, there are programs for preschool, kindergarten and seventh grade. During school breaks children can enroll in day camps where they become even more immersed in learning about our special Central Highland ecosystem.

Families come to the Highland Center to enjoy the many hiking trails. The trails connect with other places in the Prescott National Forest, such as Lynx Lake and the Lynx Creek Ruins. Throughout the year, there are programs for families. Bug-a-Boo Bliss is an opportunity to take a look at our tiniest creatures. Imagine studying specimens of insects or even holding and petting large cockroaches, or taking a hike at dusk with a guide who knows just where to look for bugs and spiders. At Halloween Happenings, families can participate in scavenger hunts, crafts, and fireside stories.

For adults the Highland Center offers many educational opportunities. There are guided hikes, bird walks and interesting classes. Whether you just want to know a little about our beautiful home or you are serious about becoming a certified naturalist, you’ll find what you’re looking for at the Highland Center.

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