Explore DeGraaf Nature Center
The DeGraaf Nature Center is an 18 acre nature preserve that is free and open to the public. The property is owned by the City of Holland in Ottawa County. The site consists of several habitats including meadow, upland forest, lowland forest, marsh and pond. Trails consist of gravel and boardwalk and are approximately 3/4 mile in total. Many of the trails on the property are wheel-chair, stroller and wagon-friendly.
The staff offer a variety of programs to schools and the community that help foster the concepts of wildlife management, conservation, outdoor education and preservation. The Helen O Brower Visitors Center provides many opportunities to experience wildlife. There are a number of native animals including reptiles and amphibians and a host of native animal taxidermy. There are also two resident captive screech owls that have been injured and are no longer able to survive on their own in the wild.
Highlights for many visitors include viewing the live animals in the visitors center, watching birds at the feeders, or sitting quietly by the stream watching for wildlife. Loaner snowshoes are available for a small fee at the Visitors Center during business hours when there is at least four inches of snow on the ground.
Though the property is owned by the City of Holland and is managed by the Parks and Recreation Department, day-to-day operation of the Helen O Brower Visitors Center and all education opportunities offered through it were assumed by the ODC Network in partnership in 2018.