Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education

Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education

NPS Collection


The Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education is your gateway to the stunning Paul H. Douglas Trail through Miller Woods. This trail has options for both short or longer explorations through the oak savanna and wetlands habitats. Start your visit by exploring the Douglas Center. This facility connects you to the surrounding natural environment through educational hands-on exhibits, ranger-guided hikes, lectures, live animals, nature-based arts and crafts, and a Nature Play Zone. With year-round programming, the Douglas Center offers a variety of educational opportunities and family-friendly outdoor activities like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, kayaking, hiking.


Ranger sitting on floor inside the Douglas Center reading a book to children.
Ranger reads a story to children.

NPS Photo / K. George

Educational Programs

The Douglas Center is the park’s hub for environmental education. We offer a variety of field trips, teacher workshops and travelling trunks from this building. For more information on the educational programs offered for school field trips please check out our educational page.
Ranger helps children build a fort out of driftwood and tree branches.
Children building a fort in the Nature Play Zone.

NPS Photo / K. George

Recreational Programs

Nature Play Zone

Get out and play! The Nature Play Zone is a unique area at Indiana Dunes. Unlike other places in the park, here you are encouraged to dig, climb, and create. Build a driftwood fort, scale an oak tree, or bake sand cakes in the sun! Designed for immersion in the natural surroundings, this is your space to imagine, explore, and get your hands dirty!

How is nature play different than a playground? Learn about the planning that went into developing the Nature Play Zones at Indiana Dunes National Park.

Ranger riding a bicycle with visitors along a paved bike trail.
Ranger rides a bicycle.

NPS Photo / K. George

Ranger-Guided Programs

Join us for fun activities year-round such as hiking, paddling, birding, and biking on ranger-led programs. Check out our calendar of events for a list of our programs.
Ranger teaches children how to move on cross-country skis.
Ranger teaches children how to move on skis.

NPS Photo / K. George

Winter Adventures

The Indiana Dunes is a breathtaking place to visit any time of year. In the winter, learn how to cross-country ski and/or snowshoe through the dunes. Equipment is provided free at the Douglas Center on a first-come first-served basis. Check out our Winter Activities page for more information.
Ranger speaks to a group of seated visitors in the auditorium.
Ranger speaks to a group of visitors.

NPS Photo / K. George

Lectures and Exhibits

The Paul H. Douglas Center for Environment Education connects scientific studies performed within the Park to the public through various types of exhibited displays, lectures, and workshops.
Ranger shows a milk snake to a couple of visitors.
Ranger shows snake to visitors.

NPS Photo / K. George

See, touch, and learn about some the various animals such as snakes, frogs, turtles and fish that live within the park in our Animal Room. If you arrive at the right time, you might get to help a ranger feed the animals.

Make fun nature-based crafts to take home in our craft room.
Volunteer with vest full of Junior Ranger badges helps young girl learn about the Junior Ranger program.
Volunteer shows Junior Ranger badges to a young visitor.

NPS Photo / K. George

Interested in becoming a Junior Ranger? Want to see the video about the Indiana Dunes National Park? Perhaps get your passport stamped? Pick up your BARK Ranger tag? The staff and volunteers at the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education are here to help.

Last updated: March 14, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

1100 North Mineral Springs Road
Porter, IN 46304


219 395-1882
Indiana Dunes Visitor Center phone number.

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