Ford Nature Center

Tucked away in the northern part of Mill Creek Park stands a handsome stone mansion donated to the Park in 1968 by the children of the late Judge John W. Ford. The Ford Nature Center opened to the public in 1972 as the headquarters for the Park’s nature education programs.

The naturalist staff at the Ford Nature Center offers a variety of programming throughout the year including hikes, school programs, workshops, and special events.

Display areas at the Ford Nature Center include the Habitat Room which depicts plants and animals of four local habitats, the Discovery Room where children can use their senses to learn about the natural world, and a Live Animal Room with turtles, snakes, and other animals native to northeast Ohio.

The Ford Nature Center also houses the Vickers Memorial Library, a bird observation area, the Teachers’ Resource Center, and a gift shop. The grounds include wildlife gardens and walking trails. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll on the Virginia J. Axtmann Nature Trail For All People, a barrier-free trail with interpretive signs. Arrangements for group tours and school programs, as well as reservations for scheduled public programs may be made by calling this facility.

Address, Hours & Info

Ford Nature Center
840 Old Furnace Rd.
Youngstown, OH 44511

Phone: 330.740.7107

Summer Hours
Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday, Noon – 5 pm
Monday – closed

Observed Holiday Weekends: Easter, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day

Teachers’ Resource Center

The Teachers’ Resource Center is located in the Ford Nature Center and houses a collection of over 300 books, videos, CD-ROMs, and kits designed for classroom use in environmental education. Materials may be checked out of the library for a two-week period at no charge. Any educator may use the resource center, but must first complete a registration form. Educational materials are geared for Preschool through Grade 8. Choose from children’s storybooks, a wide assortment of books on nature education activities and natural history for both children and adults, and guides on natural history, field identification, and activities. We also have activity kits designed by our staff for classroom use. Feel free to browse during our business hours 9 am – 5 pm daily. For more information, contact Ford Nature Center at 330.740.7107.

Activity Kits

Activity kits are available from Teachers’ Resource Center.

Animal Tracks & Signs

Follow the tracks to learn about wildlife and the signs they leave behind. Includes storybooks, field guides, a video, and activity for making your own bear tracks.
Grades: K – 6

Going Batty!

Bats are very beneficial to an ecosystem because of their diet of insects. Other bats drink nectar from flowers and aid pollination. Let your students go batty with this kit which includes the Stellaluna book, puppet, puzzle, videos, and bat-related activity books.
Grades: Preschool – 4

Wild About Wetlands

Go wild with a discovery scope, activity books, CD-ROM, invertebrate samples, field guides, and more. Complete a wetland puzzle, and listen to the sounds of the swamp lands.
Grades: 3 – 8

Frogs & Turtles & Ducks, Oh My!

Romp in the swamp with Billy B as he leads your class in songs about the places frogs prefer. Kit includes puppets, wetland activities, storybooks, a music CD, pond book and tank, and field guides.
Grades: Preschool – 2

Ohio’s Vertebrates

This kit, funded by a Wildlife Diversity Grant through Ohio Division of Wildlife, follows guidelines of the Ohio Science Model for Grades 3 – 5. Activities are designed to prepare students for Ohio’s 4th Grade Proficiency Test. Kit includes various animal skulls and skins, along with replicas of tracks and artifacts for a hands-on learning experience with Ohio’s birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and fish.
Grades: 3 – 5

Taking Out Resources
  • Complete a registration form.
  • Select items.
  • See desk attendant to check out materials.

 

Returning Resources
  • Check that all items are in kits.
  • See if anything is damaged.
  • Return to desk attendant at the Ford Nature Center.