Special events at KNCSpecial Events at KNC

There is always something fun to do at KNC! We celebrate the changing seasons with fun and educational programs and invite you to visit one or all of the special events held throughout the year. Admission to KNC members is always free. Non-members pay regular admission.

Guest passes and coupons are not valid at special events.


2018 Events at KNC
March - Maple Sugar Festival

maple sap dripping into bucketMaple Sugar Festival
Saturday, March 9, 9am-5pm
& Sunday, March 10, 9am-5pm

See the schedule of activities here!

Saturday, March 9 & Sunday, March 10

Maple Sugar Festival

Celebrate the sweetness of the season at KNC’s 54th Annual Maple Sugar Festival. Since 1966 our Maple Sugar Festival has been a time for families to experience the maple sugaring process up close. Taste the sugary deliciousness of pure maple syrup on top of your pancakes and enjoy a cup of maple-flavoured coffee to begin your day. Head outside to learn about the wonders of a Michigan Maple Sugar Bush as our tour guides take you through the process step-by-step! Some of our Animal Ambassadors will even make appearances throughout the day - don’t miss an opportunity to get your photo taken with one of our amazing Birds of Prey.

As the first agricultural crop of the season, maple sugaring has always been an important part of Michigan’s history. Be sure to visit the Historic DeLano Homestead to experience historic maple sugaring and life in the 1800s. With a costume photobooth, horse-drawn wagon rides, and live demonstrations by blacksmiths and fiber artists, there is sure to be something for the entire family to enjoy!


April - Earth Day Celebration

Young scientist at Earth DayEarth Day Celebration
Saturday, April 21, 9am-5pm

It’s time to get outside and celebrate springtime at the Kalamazoo Nature Center! The Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 21 offers daylong activities with free admission from 9am-5pm.

Start the day with a 5K Trail Run along some of KNC’s most beautiful trails. The untimed run/walk  begins at 10am and includes steep hills, forest views, and a variety of terrain. The $30 registration fee includes an official run shirt while quantities/sizes last. The kids’ can join in too at 9 am for the Kids’ Raccoon Run for ages 8 and under. This 1K romp around the Habitat Haven Trail is stroller-friendly and includes a run t-shirt with the $15 registration fee. 
Register online by April 1 to guarantee a shirt/size  at NatureCenter.org.

Everyone can join in on the day’s festivities with special programs and hikes for all ages. 

Earth Day Activities with Free admission: 9 am - 4 pm

Trail hiking
Creature Features
Children’s crafts & activities
Ask the Naturalist
Nature’s Playground open
Tamera Hirzel-Printmaking Exhibition
New! Open Roads: Open Shop in the Arboretum
Bring your bike and chat with Open Roads team members about proper bike tuning & maintenance.
Special Programs:
11 am: Live Animal Program featuring Birds of Prey
11:30 am: Guided Walk: Fern Valley Trail
12:30 pm: Kalamazoo Book Arts Center: Paper Making Presentation
    Join Jeff Abshear, Executive Director at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center as he demonstrates how paper is made and how plants and natural fibers can enhance the beauty of a sheet of handmade paper.
1:30 pm: Guided Walk: Arboretum Sculpture Tour
3 pm: Live Animal Program Featuring Birds of Prey
August - Mud Fest

Mud Fest
Sunday, August 26, 12-5pm

Dig into a giant mud pit, have a blast at Nature’s Playground, zoom down the giant slip ‘n’ slide, check out fun family games, and soar through the trees like a bird on the zipline. Getting dirty never felt so good! Admission to MudFest is free with general KNC admission; guest passes are not valid for this special event 

NOON - 5 PM 

Mud pit | Giant Slip ’n’ Slide | Ground-Landing Zipline* | Nature’s Playground
Family crafts and activities | Food truck vendors* | Ice Cream Mud Pies*
1 - 4 PM 
Face painting | Tie Dye: Bring a t-shirt, bandana, etc. and we’ll provide the dye! | Animal Programs

1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, and 4 pm Archery Programs* (space is limited)
1 - 2 pm Sponge Dodgeball (5th grade and under) | 3 - 4 pm Sponge Dodgeball (5th - 8th grade)

*Additional Fees:
Zipline: $10 per person for first ride; $5 per person for additional rides | Archery: $5 per person | 
Food Truck: Prices vary per vendor | Ice Cream Mud Pies: $3 per serving

Zipline requirements: participants must be at least 8 years old, must wear closed-toe shoes, must weigh at least 40 pounds and cannot exceed a weight of 250 pounds. Participants less than 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult.
Archery requirements: participants must be at least 8 years old, and must wear closed-toe shoes. Participants less than 12 years old must be accompanied by an adult. 


Please note: The 2018 Farmtober Fest has been cancelled due to inclement weather.


Farmtober Fest LogoKids feeding the goats at fall fest

Saturday, October 6, 12-7pm

Celebrate the harvest season by enjoying all that DeLano Farms has to offer! Visit KNC’s DeLano Farms on Saturday, October 6 from 12-7pm for, music, horse drawn wagon rides, arts & crafts vendor, food and spirits, and fun activities for all ages.

See the full schedule here!

Regular KNC admission applies; guest passes not valid for special events

December - Buy Local Art & Gift Fair

squirrel with candy caneBuy Local Logo

Buy Local Art & Gift Fair
Saturday, December 8, 9am-4pm

The Buy Local Art & Gift Fair is not your ordinary art fair! More than 50 local artisans transform the Visitor Center with their creative displays and top quality work. Visitors enjoy chatting with the artists and vendors, surrounded by the beauty of the winter woods. KNC supports buying local and gives back to the community by offering FREE ADMISSION to both the Art & Gift Fair and the beautiful winter trails.