Location: 2730 Harper Street, Lawrence, KS
Web site: http://www.lprd.org
The Prairie Park Nature Center is an undiscovered jewel in Douglas County. It’s hard to find, but it’s entirely worth it. The designers definitely took accessibility to heart: in addition to captivating displays, virtually everything is brailled, and there are displays with both audio and tactile features. We had a blast here, and Peanut learned a lot.
Outside, there’s a spiderweb kids can climb on, a moulded rock climbing feature and what can be best described as a large manual wind chime.
The chimes require virtually no dexterity whatsoever and make a great noise–these were beloved by my toddler.
Inside, there are multiple enclosures for critters ranging from bald eagles to prairie dogs. Aside from the outside aviaries, every enclosure has braille sheets with the same text as the print English, making them very friendly for the vision-impaired–if your kiddo can see the animals but doesn’t have the visual acuity for print English, this place is perfect.
There are several hands-on exhibits, including a toddler area that has stuffed creatures, a wall with labeled twigs from probably 50+ species of trees, and an exhibit that has both animal furs and bones to let you identify the parts of a deer. There are also exhibits that feature wildlife sounds, and there’s a center Maine Coon cat for those who want something to pat.
The exhibits are well-designed and interactive; there are both live animals and taxidermied critters. We absolutely loved the Prairie Park Nature Center and can’t say enough to recommend it–it’s definitely a winner!!