Common FAQs

What are the Nature Center’s hours?

Our Visitor Center and Museum are open Tuesday through Sunday (and some Monday holidays). We open at 9:00am and close at 5:00pm (4:00pm November through January). The Nature Preserve and trails are available for use from dawn through dusk everyday.

The Nature Center Building hours are currently subject to change due to COVID-19 and air quality.

Click here to see current hours.

Learn Why dogs are not allowed , even if you are carrying them.

Is there an admission charge to the Nature Center?

We do not charge an admission fee, but there is a recommended donation for visiting the center. As we are a non-profit, this helps us pay for care for our resident animals, maintenance of the trails and grounds, and the cost of our public weekend programs. The recommended donation amounts are:

  • $2 per adult
  • $1 per child

We appreciate your kindness!

Are the trails safe?

Our trails are well-used and maintained. As with any wild area, there are risks. You’ll reduce your risk of injury by staying on the trails at all times (to avoid ticks, poison oak and rattlesnakes) and paying attention to where you are walking and what’s happening around you. This makes for a more enjoyable nature experience!

Can I book a birthday party at the Nature Center?

We do not host traditional birthday parties, because they tend to create a lot of noise and trash, which is disruptive to the natural environment of the preserve. However, we do offer small group programs (up to 15 people) that include a guided hike in the preserve. We can tailor these programs to your needs. And you are welcome to use the picnic tables outside of our buildings. (These are open to the public and available on a first-come, first-served basis however.) We simply ask that your group be respectful of other visitors and the resident animals, and that you clean up after yourself. Check out our Group Programs.

Is the Nature Center handicap accessible?

The Nature Center facility is handicap accessible, but most of the trails in the preserve are not wheelchair-friendly. Our main trail can be navigated in a wheelchair that is manually-pushed, although it is a rough ride. However, our outdoor replica Maidu Village has several picnic tables and a nice view of the preserve and wildlife, which can be navigated by people with disabilities.

Are Dogs allowed?

Dogs on leashes are allowed in the area leading up to the Visitor Center (the Maidu village and picnic area), but are NOT allowed in the buildings or anywhere in the Nature Preserve. The exception is service animals: Service animals are animals that are individually trained to perform tasks for persons who have qualifying disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Education FAQs

How do I schedule a program?

To schedule a program, complete the appropriate Program Request Form and email, fax or mail it to the Nature Center. All reservations are made on a “first-come, first-served” basis. Two weeks advance registration is required.

Can I register over the phone?

We will gladly answer general questions about our programs by phone but please access our website to request a program. (916) 489-4918

I have three classes of students that I want to schedule. Do I need to schedule one tour per class?

Each Nature Area Tours can accommodate up to 40 students. There are two 1 ¾ hour tours available. The first begins at 9:15am and the second begins at 11:15am. You may need to split one of your classes between the two time slots so that the number of students does not exceed 40.

What live animal will my students meet?

We have several wonderful non-releasable animals in captivity to present to your class. While we cannot guarantee a particular animal, you can let us know your preference – snake, turtle, hawk or owl.

How strenuous will the walk be?

Our trails are not paved and have slight unevenness to them due to buried river cobble and natural undulations in the ground. The pace for the walks; however, is leisurely since your guides will spend time stopping and interpreting the many plants, animals and sights of our preserve.

Will my program get cancelled if it rains?

All Effie Yeaw Nature Center programs are provided rain or shine. However, if the weather becomes unsafe, we will work with you to reschedule your program.

I have a child with special needs (i.e., limited mobility), can the tour accommodate them?

Our Nature Center, museum and large front landscaped area is wheelchair accessible. Our trails are not paved and have slight unevenness, undulations and partially exposed river cobbles. Most wheelchairs and strollers are able to access the main trail and some of the side trails. Please let us know if you have a child that requires further assistance.

I have a special needs child with an adult assistant. Is that assistant considered one of my parents/adults?

No. Adult assistants for special needs children are not counted as a parent volunteer and will not be charged.

Are parents with younger children allowed to join the field trip?

Siblings that accompany parents or drivers are not allowed to participate in the program. If a parent driver needs to bring another child, then the parent should remain with that child and not join the tour. Parents can enter the park for free to drop off and pick up the students they will be transporting.

How should my children prepare for the Nature Area Tour?

Children attending the tour should be prepared to be outdoors for a minimum of 45 minutes. Please make sure they are dressed for the weather, wearing sunscreen, and most importantly close-toed shoes.

I have scheduled two tours for my school and we are taking only one bus. What are the children doing who are waiting for a tour to start/end?

There is a large open grassy area called the “game” field easily accessible from the Nature Center parking lot. The field is a great place to play games while waiting for other groups to finish their tours. The teachers and parent volunteers are responsible for providing the activities for the children.

How do I know what dates are available?

We ask that you give us three different date choices. We will do our best to accommodate your first choice. We will contact you if none of these dates/times are available.

Can you hold a date for me until I send my registration form in?

We are unable to hold dates. All registrations are processed on a “first-come, first-served” basis and are only confirmed when we provide you with an confirmation/ invoice number.

How will I know that my date is confirmed?

Most registrations are processed within two business days. You will receive a confirmation/invoice via email. Do not assume you have a reservation until you receive your invoice. If you have not received an invoice within one week please contact the scheduling desk at 916-489-4918 x234.

What is your refund policy?

A $50 cancellation fee will be charged for any program cancelled within 2 weeks of the first program date on your invoice.

Can my class come for a tour without a Naturalist?

For a self-guided tour, please plan your tour for after 1:30pm as all areas are reserved for scheduled tours prior to this time. You will be required to pay the park entrance fee of $5 per car or $20 per bus/van. As per the American River Parkway Plan, groups walking on the trails must have 20 or fewer participants. Please call the Nature Center ahead of time and register as a walk-in group. Donations gratefully accepted!

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