The Forest Ecology Preserve offers a dynamic venue for social gatherings, business meetings, and special events. The amphitheater and pavilion provide a scenic backdrop for romantic outdoor weddings and intimate receptions. The nature center’s trails, gardens and open spaces are ideal for employee picnics, ceremonies, reunions, and group outings. The preserve can accommodate groups with amenities including tables, chairs and audio/visual equipment. Areas available for private events include:
- Covered Pavilion with Seating up to 80
- 150-seat Multi-Level Open-air Amphitheater
- Butterfly Garden and Turtle Pond Vista
- Historic Homestead Lawn and Garden
The Preserve also hosts private events for many community groups including civic and social clubs, service organizations, scouts and church groups. For more information about private events and rentals, or to request a speaker for your program, contact Jennifer Lolley at (334) 844-8091 or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Nature-Themed Birthday Parties & Critter Caravan
The Forest Ecology Preserve is a wonderful destination for themed nature-based birthday parties! Trained teacher/naturalists provide age-appropriate programs for children and youth. Each 1.5-2 hour party includes a 20-45 minute program, nature hike and hands-on activities.
Tables, chairs, and some themed decorations and displays will be set up with posters and other items, including live insects, reptiles or animals. Parents are in charge of decorations, food and clean-up.
Six themed parties are commonly offered. Custom parties can be created if there is a special theme that the child would like (a $25 fee will be charged for program design).
Birthday parties are $125 for up to 20 kids and $5 for every child over a group of 20 or more. Hosts must have a current membership of Magnolia level or above.
Nuts for Nature
This program is designed for children ages 2-4. A short program using puppets and live animals will be presented on animals, reptiles, amphibians, plants and trees. Plenty of hands-on learning will keep them entertained. A follow-me hop, skip and jump hike will be led to the playground.
This program will be presented with several live specimens including snakes, lizards, and turtles for the children to hold and/or touch. Each child will be given a rubber snake or lizard to take home. Children will then take a short hike to the pond and Reptile Rest to look for reptiles. A craft is available to make a bead bracelet (7 and older) with the pattern of a coral or scarlet king snake (red on yellow- kill a fellow, red on black, venom lack) to take home.
Frogs and Fun
This program on amphibians will be presented with many live specimens for the children to touch and /or hold. Children will hike to the pond to look for frogs and listen to their calls. Frog coloring sheets will be available at beginning of party for children to work on till everyone gets there. Each child will receive a rubber frog.
This program on insects with several live specimens including the Madagascar hissing cockroaches, worms, and tarantula will be available for the children to hold and touch. Children will go on an insect scavenger hunt. We have butterfly nets and catch boxes. Each child will be given a rubber insect to take home.
Art in Nature
Art in Nature is a short program that highlights the beauty of nature found at the preserve. Children will use magnifying glasses to look up close at items in nature. Nature photographs will be displayed. Children will go on a nature hike to gather items to put on their nature bulletin board that they will make to take home.
Warm for the Winter
Warm for the Winter teaches children about the various ways animals keep warm for the winter. The birthday child will be dressed to demonstrate how humans stay warm and the children will examine animal pelts to see how animals stay warm. They will discuss animal homes then hike out to look at animal burrows and squirrel nests and to fill feeders for deer and birds. Returning to the amphitheater, guests will enjoy a campfire where they can roast hotdogs and/or marshmallows (supplied by parent). This program is offered during the winter months between November and March.
Critter Caravan brings the party to you! Critter Caravan includes a themed program with live animal encounters, guided hike (if applicable) and games or other age-appropriate activities. The guest of honor will be presented with a t-shirt and goody bags for each of their guests (up to 20). Critter Caravan is $250 for a two-hour program led by a trained naturalist/teacher and can be scheduled at a location of your choice within 50 miles of the preserve.
Due to facility and staff limitations, only 2 parties may be scheduled at the preserve per day; in the morning and afternoon. Reservations for Critter Caravan must be made 2 weeks in advance. Please be aware that community programs, camps and volunteer work events may present scheduling conflicts. Please visit the interactive calendar to review availability. For more information or to schedule a party, contact Jennifer Lolley at (334) 844-8091 or e-mail (email@example.com).