Racine Nature Club

- Partnering across Racine to get kids outside! All programs are free, open to famil

ies and individuals of all

ages, and will be oodles of fun! Be sure to dress for the weather and be ready to

get messy!

Partnering across Racine to get kids outside! All programs are free, open to famil

ies and individuals of all

ages, and will be oodles of fun! Be sure to dress for the weather and be ready to

get messy!


Partnering across Racine to get kids outside! All programs are FREE, open to families and individuals of all ages, and will be oodles of fun! Be sure to dress for the weather and be ready to get messy!


Racine Nature Club is an AZA initiative supported by The Walt Disney Company that provides innovative ways to establish or enhance family-centered nature play experiences in their communities. As a conservation organization, part of our mission is to create experiences that cultivate environmental stewards and foster a connection to wildlife and nature. The Racine Zoo is partnering with a number of local organizations to bring the members of Racine’s community a chance to engage in safe, supervised, FREE nature play experiences.  There are vast and virtually endless opportunities to see, explore, learn from and become inspired by the wonders of our natural world.

AZA organizations have long realized that the key to long-term success of conserving nature is engaging and inspiring conservation action among children and families.  Racine Nature Club will offer accessible, easy, no-cost fun through family-oriented and nature-based outdoor activities that can help build a life-long affiliation with zoos and nature centers, and with nature itself. Research strongly indicates that spending time in nature benefits physical and mental health and our overall well-being. It is especially important for children to have frequent and varied opportunities to play outdoors in nature as a healthy and fun part of their everyday lives. Nature play also strengthens family ties, promotes a sense of community and space, and instills a conservation mindset and caring attitude towards the environment. Nature brings families together and fosters friendships across racial, political, religious beliefs and other divides.

Unstructured nature play is spontaneous and self-directed. It allows children to become self-reliant, make independent observations and decisions, explore interests, solve problems, discover talents, and form their individual identities. Research shows that children who play in nature tend to be happier and are better prepared for the experiences of adulthood. Many children today are bombarded with structured activities and an overabundance of technology, even at very young ages. Kids are under pressure to perform and achieve like never before, spending an average of less than 10 minutes in unstructured play outdoors each day and an average of more than 50 hours weekly plugged into media. People are talking more about the benefits of and need for children’s unstructured nature play, including experts ranging from scientists to parents themselves. Research indicates that nature play promotes health benefits, including cognitive, social and emotional development, and builds resilience and creativity as well. Experiences in nature as a child can also lead to environmental awareness and stewardship later in life as motivation to protect and conserve wildlife and wild places is founded on a love and understanding of nature.

Nature play can take a variety of forms, from more structured learning activities to true unstructured nature play, and all are important to a child’s overall development. The Racine Nature Club is bringing together many of the major players in the greater Racine area – Racine Zoo, the EcoJustice Center, Caledonia Conservancy, Root River Environmental Education Center, Hawthorne Hollow, River Bend Nature Center, and Hoy Audubon to bring you varied and fun opportunities to get out and play! Read below for all of the FREE activities and where you can go to get your family playing outside and creating memories this year!


PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED! Email education@racinezoo.org to RSVP


Saturday, May 25 | 9am – 12pm
Garlic Mustard Pull with Weed Out! Racine

Root River Steelhead Facility, 
Lincoln Park, 2200 Domanik Dr., Racine, WI 53404
Pitch in to remove invasive garlic mustard as part of AZA’s Spring Into Action campaign!


Saturday, June 8 | 10am – 12pm
Audubon Song Bird Trail

Hoy Audubon at the Pike River Pathway
7345 Washington Ave., Racine, WI 53406
Meet near the Case High School track field and learn to identify birds and how Audubon volunteers monitor songbird nests as their babies grow!


Tuesday, June 25 | 5:30pm – 7:30pm 
Canoe and Kayak Trip

Root River Environmental Education Center
1301 W. 6th St., Racine, WI 53404
Paddle down the Root River for a great chance to see shorebirds, ducks, and more! Beginners welcome, but space is limited.


Thursday, July 11 | 5:30pm – 7pm
Sifting through the Root River

Lincoln Park, 2200 Domanik Dr., Racine, WI 53404
Dip net and sift through the Root River, or just splash around on the banks!


Tuesday, July 23 | 5:30pm – 7pm
Polliwog Pond

Hawthorne Hollow, 880 Green Bay Rd., Kenosha, WI 53144
Join us for some frog-tastic adventures searching for amphibians and other wildlife in the woods!


Tuesday, August 6 | 1pm – 3pm
Love your Lake!

Zoo Beach, 200 Goold St., Racine, WI 53402
Join us for some seining, dip netting, water play and dig in Racine’s biggest sandbox as we search for life in Lake Michigan!


Sunday, August 11 | 10am – 12pm
A Walk in the Woods

River Bend Nature Center
Join us as we take a family-friendly walk in the woods at River Bend and explore bugs, plants, wildlife, and many different habitats such as ponds, forests, a prairie, and the Root River!


*Wheelchair accessible program 


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