Indoor Play: John Janzen Nature Centre

There’s a lot of snow out there. Time to explore nature (indoors) at the John Janzen Nature Center.

This place is a haven for kids. There’s so much to do, and so much space to do it in! Even when there are field trips, scheduled programming, and other visitors at the Center, it never feels too busy.

The Tegler Discovery Zone is great for kids 10 years and younger. There’s a slide, a beaver dam with running water, a glacier to climb and slide down on, an underground squirrel’s midden, a bee hive climbing structure, and a LIVE bee hive, behind a plexiglass wall – perfect so kids can get up close and watch the bees, hard at work. This is my families favorite indoor playground in the city. It’s clean, relatively quiet, perfect for ages 0-10, and has a couple of benches for parents to sit, while the kids explore. We probably get here once a month with our Naturally Edmonton Pass (, and on our last visit we noticed that they had added a kids scavenger hunt in the Tegler Discovery Zone – my 5 year old had a blast searching for things he had never noticed before.

Included in your admission, is access to the daily drop-in programming that happens in the Exhibit Room. The Drop-In programs are lead by a staff Interpreter, and the program is adapted regularly to meet the needs of the participants on each day. Some of the drop-in activities that we have been around for are: feeding the garter snakes and frog, crafts, story time, artifact encounters, and nature hikes. Dress for the weather though, because some of the drop-in programs are outside, like exploring river valley trails, looking for footprints and other signs of the animals that live in our large Urban Forest.

The Exhibit Room is great without participating in the drop-in program’s too. There are a few garter snakes, a couple of salamanders, and a frog there have a permanent home there – and there are stools available, so kids can get up and get a good look at them. There are also a few drawers full of toys, including a pair of lady bug wings – my kids’ favorite, a tunnel for kids to crawl through, some more permanent artifact encounters, like a beaver’s tail, and even some taxidermy set in wild life scenes.

Before you go: Remember to bring socks! Even the adults are required to take their shoes off before entering the Tegler Discovery Zone. And trust me, there is no way your kids are going to go to the John Janzen Nature Center, without climbing that bee hive!

For more information about programming, camps, hours and location of the John Janzen Nature Center, follow this link