ALNC UPDATES

Welcome! Our facility is open on weekdays from 9am to 4pm and on weekends from 10am to 2pm.

Wearing a face mask indoors is optional. Because we are a childcare facility and follow public health protocols, we have limited access to some public offerings and areas of our facility. We appreciate your patience as we work to find a healthy balance of access and safety for our community.

As always, our grounds and trails featuring self-guided tours are free and open daily from dawn until dusk.

Visit Us

We love visitors at Aldo Leopold Nature Center!

Rainbow Trail Sign

Visit us seven days a week to connect with nature and exercise your senses in our oak savanna, wetland, prairie, and woodland ecosystems nestled in the heart of beautiful Monona! Located on Femrite Drive, between Monona Drive and Copps Ave, and nestled between Woodland Park and Edna Taylor Conservancy – Aldo Leopold Nature Center (ALNC) is your neighborhood nature center and we invite you to come, explore the magic and wonder of the natural world, located in your own backyard.

Hike and explore our prairie, pond, and woodland trails with our self-guided hikes and Digital Docent: Climate Change Impacts walking tour (scan the QR codes around our grounds or view the PDF version here). Trails are free and open daily from dawn until dusk.

Stop inside to find information on our Scavenger Hunts, including Scavenger Hunt BINGO, or check out a backpack to participate in our Family Trailside Backpack Program.

 
Two girls on fishing dock

Our Children’s shack is a 3/4 size replica of Aldo Leopold’s Shack – the shack in which he and his family spent many weekends observing and recording the natural world along the Wisconsin River in Sauk county. Not fully staffed, the Children’s shack is open for special events and programming with tours available upon request.

At the Aldo Leopold Nature Center, we know that truly living our mission and reaching as many children, families, educators, conservationists, and community members as possible means expanding access now. In order to better serve our community, we have redesigned our space to increase our impact, improve our programs and better accommodate diverse populations.

Explore our indoor Nature Nooks! Designed for the littlest adventurers to engage with prairie, pond and woodland habitats and even learn a bit about Aldo Leopold, your young child will have hours of fun playing and discovering in our indoor ecosystems with our Catch & Release Fishing stage, Prairie Plant Sensory table and Tree Hollow and Woodland Animal puppets.

ALNC is proud to be a part of Nature Net’s Nature Passport program! Get started by picking up this self-guided family program at ALNC or one of the other Nature Net sites throughout South-Central Wisconsin. Discover new places and take your adventures on the road! Learn more about Nature Net on our website.
 

HOURS

Our hiking trails featuring self-guided tours are free and open daily from dawn until dusk!
To protect our wildlife, conservation areas, and other visitors, we do not allow dogs or other pets on our grounds.
Leashed service animals, marked as such, are allowed on trails and public areas of the facility.

Our facility is open on weekdays (M-F) from 9am to 4pm
and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 2pm.

Because we are a childcare facility and still following public health protocols, we will retain a few restrictions, including requiring masking indoors and limited access to some public offerings and areas of our facility. We may also have to adjust our hours or access on short notice. We appreciate your patience as we work to find a healthy balance of access and safety for our community.

Check our Calendar of Events to view public events and guided programs.

Interested in EMPOWERING children with the countless benefits of nature?
Click here for information on becoming an ALNC Member!

 

 

Directions

Please consider these alternative transportation options for visiting us!

Aldo Leopold Nature Center
330 Femrite Drive
Monona, WI 53716

    1. Take the South Beltline (Hwy 12-18) to Monona Drive. Exit North and continue past the Monona Drive/Broadway Street intersection.
    2. Turn East on Femrite Drive and pull into the driveway after the Monona Meadows sign on the North side of the street. There is a sign for the Aldo Leopold Nature Center and Monona’s Woodland Park.
    3. Follow the driveway up the hill; the Nature Center is located just south of the main parking lot. All buses must park in the first parking lot. For schools, this is also where students will greet the Naturalists.

 
All staff, volunteers, visitors, and members of the public shall maintain reasonable personal conduct and decorum while on the premises. Please see our Personal Conduct Policy for more information. If you have specific questions or needs, please call 608.221.0404, ext. 0.

 

Accessibility

The Aldo Leopold Nature Center (ALNC) is dedicated to remaining accessible to the community and general public, while making every effort to provide safe and enjoyable experiences for our students, visitors, and staff. For more information on how we are expanding access, please see our Community Ethics & Nature page.

 

Organized Hikes

If you are interested in hosting an organized hike at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center, we’d love to have you! While planning your hike, please contact our Community Program Manager, Sarah Voss, at sarah@aldoleopoldnaturecenter.org so we can help schedule and accommodate your hike. There is a lot of educational programming happening here, so coordinating with us will help you have the best outing possible and help you know what to expect during your visit. Access to our public areas is free to our community, but please let us know if you’re bringing a group and what your plans are so we can discuss any accommodations or other offerings that might be of interest. ALNC is a private 503(c) nonprofit organization that stewards the land and engages all with nature through donations, memberships, program fees, and grants.

 

Pet Policy

To protect our wildlife, conservation areas and other visitors, we do not allow dogs or other pets on our grounds. Leashed service animals, marked as such, are allowed on trails and public areas of the facility.
 

Photography

Interested in taking your family, engagement, graduation, prom, or senior photos at ALNC? Please do! This public land is for all to use. We simply ask that you avoid any educational programs, events, or facility rentals that may be taking place and that you follow Leave No Trace principles. We gladly accept donations to help maintain our facility and grounds.

Wedding Photos
For wedding photos, large-scale photo shoots or access to specific locations, please coordinate ahead of time by calling (608) 221-0404 x 0 or emailing rentals@aldoleopoldnaturecenter.org.

Drone Policy
To protect our students and visitors, the use of drones is not allowed on/over nature center property. In some cases, ALNC may engage in drone usage for promotional or educational purposes. For more information, or to inquire about approval for this, please contact our Marketing & Communications Manager at cara@aldoleopoldnaturecenter.org.
 

Prescribed Burns

We work to conserve and restore our grounds in the spirit of Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic for healthy ecosystems, habitat for native flora and fauna, educational programs, and the enjoyment of our community. Our staff and land stewards employ the teachings of Aldo Leopold and other best practices for land management, including seasonal prescribed burns. For more information on why, when and how we burn, please review our information on prescribed burns.
 

Smoke-free Campus

In keeping with the ALNC’s interest in the environment and human health, we have a smoke-free campus policy, in order to protect this environmental habitat and prevent exposure of this educational facility, its occupants, and visitors to environmental tobacco smoke. There shall be no smoking or use of other tobacco products while on premises either owned, rented by, or under the control of ALNC. This includes, but is not limited to: ALNC’s campus, facilities, and grounds. Members of the public, including visitors, rental groups, student groups and teachers, and any ALNC staff who accompany them, shall not use tobacco products while on ALNC property or engaged in any ALNC-sponsored activity.
 

Sustainability

The Aldo Leopold Nature Center is committed to sustainable practices and technologies. Our facility showcases innovative renewable energy systems, building techniques, and sustainable practices and initiatives including use of solar energy, water efficiency systems, sustainable siting, and more. Click here for more information!
 

Winter Weather Policies

As a general rule, the Aldo Leopold Nature Center will be closed and programs canceled if the City of Madison public transit services are discontinued (full service cancellation) due to inclement weather, however, we reserve the right to close at our own discretion. If a closing occurs, a notice will be put on our homepage as well as on our Facebook page.

Aldo Leopold Nature Center