Douglas Center Grand-Reopening and National Kids to Parks Day

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Date: April 27, 2018

INDIANA DUNES NATIONAL LAKESHORE: Join rangers and PBS Kids’ NATURE CAT on Saturday, May 19 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. to celebrate the re-opening of the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education and National Kids to Parks Day. This popular center marks the western entrance to the national lakeshore in Gary, Indiana. As the park’s education hub, the center serves over 5,000 school students each year and thousands of other visitors. It closed last December to allow for the construction and installation of a new heating and cooling system with a “greener” footprint, as well as new doors and skylight windows.
National Kids to Parks Day is an annual event sponsored by the National Park Trust designed to connect kids and families to public lands, encourage STEM learning, and inspire the next generation of park stewards. NATURE CAT has teamed up with the National Park Trust and other park areas to help celebrate the connection between local parks and nature exploration.
NATURE CAT, co-produced by Spiffy Pictures and WTTW Chicago, is an animated PBS KIDS series designed to encourage children to develop connections with the natural world. Each episode follows its title character and his friends as they embark on adventures of nature investigation. Digital resources related to the series, including games and hands-on activities, are available at NATURE CAT airs daily, check your local listings.
Nature Cat will be attending the event, and guests are encouraged to visit stations inside and around the center to participate in nature-focused activities such as an outdoor scavenger hunt, fort building, arts and crafts, yoga on a dune, birding, and seed ball making to promote native wildflowers and pollinators.
For those looking to get a deeper look into Miller Woods, a picnic hike to the beach and back will be offered at 11 a.m. Participants are encouraged to bring lunches and plenty of water for this hike that totals just over 3 miles. The hike will highlight the surrounding natural area of Miller Woods with its globally-rare black oak savanna habitat, dune and swale topography, and spectacular native plant and wildflower displays. The wild lupine should be in full bloom that weekend.
The Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education is located within Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore at 100 N. Lake Street in Gary. For more information on this or other programs at the Douglas Center, call 219-395-1824 or visit our website at and our Facebook page at
National Park Trust Its mission is preserving parks today; creating park stewards for tomorrow. In the 35 years since NPT was established, the non-profit organization has completed more than 60 land acquisition, restoration, and mitigation projects in 30 states, 1 U.S. Territory and Washington, D.C. including 48 Nati­­onal Park Service projects. In 2009, NPT launched its nationally recognized Buddy Bison Programs which currently supports more than 200 Title I schools across the country. Since 2011, NPT has organized Kids to Parks Day, an annual national celebration of America’s parks hosted on the third Saturday in May. More details about NPT can be found at
PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers children ages 2-8 the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, digital media and community-based programs. PBS KIDS and local stations across the country support the entire ecosystem in which children learn, including their teachers, parents and community. Provided by stations, the free PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and live stream is available to more than 95% of U.S. TV households. Kidscreen and Webby Award-winning provides engaging interactive content, including digital games and streaming video. For more information visit, or follow PBS KIDS on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.
WTTW Chicago, a division of Window to the World Communications, Inc., is a premier producer and presenter of original, high-quality content for both public and commercial distribution. For more than 60 years, WTTW has introduced a wide array of groundbreaking cross-platform programming — reflecting the world’s rich and diverse arts and entertainment scene, as well as education, politics, public affairs, business and religion — to a national audience. Follow WTTW on Twitter and Facebook.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is one of 417 units of the National Park System ranging from Yellowstone to the Statue of Liberty. Located in Northwest Indiana, the park includes 15 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and 15,000 acres of biologically diverse beaches, woods, prairies, and marshes. Up to 2 million visitors come to the Indiana Dunes each year.

Last updated: April 27, 2018

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1100 North Mineral Springs Road
Porter, IN 46304


(219) 395-1882
Indiana Dunes Visitor Center phone number.

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