Park Explorer Packs

Explore our nature park and make new discoveries with one of our 5 themed Park Explorer Packs! Current themes include Birds, Insects & Invertebrates, Pond Life, Trees, and Wildflowers & Pollinators.

More information

Explore our nature park and make new discoveries with one of our themed Park Explorer Packs!

We’ve loaded 5 themed loaner backpacks up with tools, educational resources, and fun activities that you can use to create your own adventure out on our trails. Though these packs are loaded with things you can do and use, you get to decide which activities and tools look interesting to you! Complete one activity or do them all. We hope you have a great time exploring!

Park Explorer Pack themes include:

  • Birds, Insects & Invertebrates, Pond Life, Trees, Wildflowers & Pollinators
  • We’re also developing a Fungi themed pack and will let you know as soon as it is available.

Inside each themed backpack, you will find a Content Card listing all of the items you should find in that specific backpack. In general, our Nature Discovery Center Park Explorer Backpacks will include:

Tools: (exact tools vary from one backpack to another)

    • Magnifying glasses, small eyepiece magnifiers, nets, bug boxes, mesh critter enclosures, plastic tubs, binoculars, ruler, wet erase marker, pencils, colored pencils, crayons, paper

Educational Resources:

    • Field guides – books and/or laminated pamphlets you can use during your visit to identify and learn more
      about our native wildlife
    • Laminated information sheets – cover some basic biology of plants and animals
    • Specimens in specimen boxes or bags – some of our backpacks contain themed sets of specimens to
      examine up close, from tree cookies, pinecones, and acorns, to feathers, and honeycomb.


    • Laminated activities like scavenger hunts and themed yoga challenges
      Note: Please use only the wet erase marker inside the backpack to write on any laminated activities that
      need to be marked (like scavenger hunts).
    • Fundanas® – bandanas printed with themed nature games (and beans for markers)
    • Investigations – these activities let you tap into your inner scientist and record your own observations to
      answer questions about what is happening in our nature park
    • Themed coloring pages

How much does it cost to use a loaner backpack?

  • NDC Family Level Members can check them out FREE of charge as a perk of their membership.
  • Non-members must pay $5 per family to use a loaner backpack.

Where and when can we check out backpacks? Park Explorer Packs may be checked out at our front desk during regular Discovery Room Open Hours, and must be returned to the desk during open hours.

How long can we keep loaner backpacks? You can keep a loaner backpack for up to ONE WEEK from the date of check out.

Do all of my kids share one backpack? Yes, everyone in a family will share the same backpack and all of the tools and laminated activities, etc. inside. At check out please let us know how many kids will be using the pack so that we can add in enough coloring sheets and paper activities for everyone.

What can you keep? Any paper inside the backpack that is not laminated in plastic.

What needs to be returned? Everything else, including all of the various tools, educational resources,
Fundanas® and laminated activity cards, needs to be returned with the backpack in good condition. Note: Please
leave wet items outside of the bag and hand them to our staff separately so they can be cleaned and dried.

More about our current Park Explorer Pack themes:

Birds – Learn about the basic biology and behavior of birds through investigations and games, try to identify birds in the park, design a new bird, try some bird yoga, and more!

Insects & Invertebrates – Explore life under a log, catch and observe insects and their other invertebrate neighbors, play bug bingo, and learn a bee dance among other activities.

Pond Life – Dipnet for fish, tadpoles, and aquatic insiects, discover a food chain, survey pond life, use your senses to explore Cypress Pond, color a pond scene, and more!

Trees – Examie tree cookies, strike a tree pose, go on a tree based scavenger hunt or two, make some leaf rubbings, start a tree journal, or play a game using trees in the park.

Wildflowers & Pollinators – Learn about the flowers pollinators prefer, go on a flower or pollination scavenger hunt, take a closer look at flower parts, catch a pollinator to watch!