Since 1976, the John Janzen Nature Centre's interactive exhibits, educational programming and special events have encouraged visitors towards a greater awareness of and engagement with the wonders of nature that surround us.

Learn more about the History of the Nature Centre and the Edmonton Nature Centre's Foundation.

The current renovations of the Nature Centre facilities have been designed to create even more ways for visitors to experience for themselves the joy of discovering nature in an urban environment.

The John Janzen Nature Centre invites visitors of all ages to have fun while learning more about the importance of Edmonton's natural spaces.

Find us on Facebook and Instagram for updated information about upcoming events, featured courses and interesting nature facts and photos.

We offer registered programs year-round for schools and groups, child and family courses, birthdays and daycamps. See Programs, Courses & Camps for more information.

Exhibits and Displays

The Nature Centre offers informative exhibits and interactive educational displays including:

Tegler Discovery Zone

This indoor play space re-creates local wildlife habitat in a way that children can learn about nature from the perspective of an animal. Crawling and climbing structures are designed for children up to age 10, although all ages are welcome to explore the rest of the Tegler Discovery Zone.

A baby on a rug. The rug has a stylized illustration of a frog partially submerged under water.

Exhibit Room

Welcome to the Edmonton Urban Ecology exhibit room! Recently renovated, this exhibit is a must-see for the whole family. Here at the John Janzen Nature Centre, we have brought the outdoors inside, so you can play and learn all year ‘round! Check out the Life on a Log, several live animal exhibits, and touch a real fossil! 

A child looking at a tank in the Exhibit Room at JJNC.

Honeybee Hive

Have you ever seen a honey bee up close? Inside the Tegler Discovery Zone, we have a working bee hive that has been busy all year long. Try to find the queen bee and her attendant bees, and while you’re there, learn a little bit about the importance of Alberta’s local wild bees! 



Prairie Pond

Examine pond life up close and personal at the Prairie Pond. This water oasis attracts several different species of animals including blackbirds, ducks, frogs, and salamanders! It may be quieter in the wintertime with all the creatures hiding under the ice.

A group of kids investigating a pond.

Compost School

This outdoor exhibit demonstrates how you can incorporate composting into your waste disposal routine. Learn the composting process and sample composting units designed for large and small yards.

Compost School offers information, courses and programs. 

History of the Nature Centre

John Janzen Nature Centre sign

The John Janzen Nature Centre, Canada’s oldest municipally-operated nature centre, officially opened its doors on October 6, 1976. It was the project of the late John Janzen, Superintendent of Edmonton’s Parks and Recreation Department from 1966-1972, who played a key role in the protection of river valley lands as parks.

When it opened, the John Janzen Nature Centre offered courses and workshops, Sunday walks, junior naturalist activities and an exhibit room featuring touch tables and living displays, with programs run mainly by volunteers.

By 1988, the centre occupied a unique educational niche, focusing its programming specifically on nature appreciation in Edmonton and the surrounding area.

Edmonton Nature Centres Foundation

The Edmonton Nature Centres Foundation (ENCF) was formed in 1979 as a non-profit organization to support the John Janzen Nature Centre.

The ENCF is responsible for developing a vision for the nature centre, then planning and implementing projects to carry out that vision.

Some examples of the ENCF’s projects have been the redevelopment of the pond, maintenance of the compost display, maintenance of the nature trails, development of a native plant garden, and the current expansion of the nature centre facilities.

Visitors interested in donating to the ENCF can do so at the John Janzen Nature Centre or by contacting the ENCF directly.