Plan Your Visit
A visit to the Prairie Nature Center (PNC) can be just what you make it. With a variety of different opportunities, each experience can be totally new or tried-and-true.
Which season is best?
When you choose to visit the Prairie Nature Center depends on what you’d like to see and they type of visit you’d like to have. If you're curious what plants will be in bloom during your visit, check out our What's In Bloom pages or take a look at the sampling of pictures below from various seasons.
What Should We Wear?
Because you’ll be outside and near tall plants on hiking trails its best to wear comfortable walking shoes and layered clothing appropriate for outdoor activities. Sunscreen and bug repellent are especially important during spring and summer. If the weather is warm, consider bringing water or other refreshments
Activities for your visit
We encourage you to explore the prairie from every angle by taking a hike on our trail system. Don’t worry about getting lost out there because all trails connect back to the shelter house near the parking lot.
Self-guided tour opportunities are currently being developed. Once the planning is complete additional information will be added to our website
Wildlife viewing & bird watching
The Prairie Nature Center is important habitat for a variety of flora and fauna (aka plants and animals). With native plants and animals throughout the center, you will experience some of Ohio’s nature at its finest. We encourage you to be a naturalist, and enjoy and observe! The nature center is home to a wide array of birds, including water fowl like mallards and song birds like Red Winged Blackbirds and Barn Swallows. You can help us monitor our bird population and their activity by completing a Birder’s Checklist. You can print a checklist from here. Fill it out during your visit, and share the results with us after your visit. A great reference for bird watching can be found at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds.
Do you have a new picnic basket you've been dying to try out? Would you like to spend some quiet time with friends or family enjoying a meal outside? Pack up your food and head to the Prairie Nature Center and enjoy the area while you enjoy your meal! We do ask that you remove your trash following your visit as we have limited trash receptacles and infrequent trash pick up.
Prairie Nature Center Guidelines
For your safety, preservation of our natural resources, and consideration for other visitors, please observe the following guidelines:
1. Please no bikes or motorized vehicles on the trails
2. If you choose to bring food or drinks with you during your visit, we ask that you take the remaining trash out with you. Do not litter because food remains and trash can be harmful to animals.
3. No smoking at the Prairie Nature Center. The Ohio State University campuses are tobacco free areas. To learn more: http://tobaccofree.osu.edu/
Help your dog be a good Prairie Nature Center guest
The Prairie Nature Center is absolutely animal-friendly! You are welcome to bring friendly dogs on leashes and enjoy the trails in the park.
We’re always glad to see our four legged visitors and happy you’ve chosen PNC as your place to get outdoors with your dog! All visitors, including dogs, can enjoy their experience at PNC by respecting each other and the guidelines we’ve put in place to keep our visitors, wildlife, and pets safe.
Clean up after your dog and carry the bag to the nearest garbage can. Pooch poop can contain harmful bacteria and parasites that can infect humans and other dogs, as well as toxins that can leach into the soil and end up in groundwater. PNC provides waste bags and waste receptacles. Your dog is a guest at this property, but the wildlife lives here. Don’t allow your dog to chase animals or dig up plants.
Check your dog for ticks and burrs before you leave for home. Natural materials can easily get caught in your dog’s coat or paws.
Following proper pet protocol ensures safety, cleanliness, and enjoyable hiking experience for all guests–humans and canines alike.
Parking is encouraged in the paved parking lots prior to the entrance to the Prairie. There is limited parking at the end of the gravel drive. See the campus map for additional parking information.
Operating hours & seasons
The nature center grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk. Entrance to the nature center is free.
- Disk Golf Course on campus