E.L. Johnson Nature Center

8-10 ft tall plants from the Nature Center Prairies. Walk the restored habitats now through September.
8-10 ft tall plants from the Nature Center Prairies. Walk the restored habitats now through September.

The E. L. Johnson Nature Center is a beautifully natural, forty-acre site that offers visitors myriad visual pleasures and a plethora of learning opportunities. It features a scenic, four-acre, inland pond that is home to an assortment of fish; a large variety of trees including stands of pine, hardwoods, and a sugar bush; and many native plants and wildflowers that decorate the rolling terrain left by prehistoric melting glaciers. A tributary of the Rouge River flows through the park-like area.

The grounds are crisscrossed with more than two miles of pleasant, wood-chipped, walking trails, and foster a safe habitat for a host of wildlife. Red fox, coyote, deer, mink, as well as a multiplicity of birds, amphibians, and reptiles have been observed. There are also special wildlife pens that contain orphaned deer and injured hawks and owls that can be observed up close.

The Visitor Center and classrooms, erected in 2006 with the funding assistance of generous grants from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, feature interactive educational exhibits and seasonal displays that provide a wealth of information. The facility, parking lot, and pathways are barrier free. The Visitor Center, log cabins, and an outdoor amphitheater provide areas for meetings, classes, and programs.

Visiting the authentic 1800’s homestead is an interesting trip back in time, and a favorite for youngsters! Docks, boardwalks, bridges, trail signs, picnic tables, and benches enhance a visitor's experience. The Center provides a lovely setting for people of all ages and from many communities to observe wildlife, improve their physical fitness, learn, or simply enjoy the beautiful and peaceful surroundings.

Photography Guidelines 

Feel free to walk our approximately 2.0 miles of nature trails and enjoy all that nature has to offer.  Stop by to visit our two resident deer, our red-tailed hawk and two great-horned owls.  Be sure to relax by our pond where you may see some frogs or turtles!

  Open hours for the trails are:

  • Monday through Friday from 8:00am until 7:00pm (Gates locked at dusk during late fall and winter due to darkness.)
  • Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

    Trails are open throughout the year, including during school vacations.
    Closed on major holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and Fourth of July.
    Call 248.341.6485 for updates.

    Restrooms are available during open trail hours.

contact us

E.L. Johnson Nature Center
3325 Franklin Road
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302

Dan Badgley

Jackie Doran
Program Assistant
scheduler, scouts, and all out-of-district schools

Eric Lazarus
Resident Caretaker 

Guides / Naturalist

  • Sandy Cohen
  • Karen Fenwick
  • Kathy McDonald Fotouhi
  • Kate Grier
  • Jody Harrington
  • Nancy Kufchock
  • Anne Ross
  • Edie Schmitz
  • Grace Seroka
  • Blanche Wicke

To Schedule Birthday Parties at the Nature Center contact the Recreation Department at 248.341.6403