The Nature Explore Classroom at
Hidden Valley Nature Center
Located atop a hill overlooking the beautiful Hidden Valley Wildlife Area, Nature’s Pathway has been a labor of love for staff and volunteers alike. We are excited to bring to life our shared vision of making the natural world more accessible for today’s increasingly disconnected youth, while providing educators with the tools necessary to cultivate our next generation of environmental stewards.
Hidden Valley Wildlife Area consists of 1500 scenic acres and has access to 25 miles of hiking and equestrian trails. Visitors can get away from the noise and lights of the city and enjoy the beautiful views of the river or the bluff overlooking the wetland pond. In the winter, Canada geese, northern shovelers, white-crowned sparrows and yellow-rumped warblers make their home here.
While the wildlife area is literally just minutes from the doorsteps of thousands of Riverside County youth, many residents are unaware of its existence and the plethora of experiences it has to offer. Our hope is that Nature’s Pathway will be the first step towards reconnecting kids with the great outdoors.
Visitors to our outdoor classroom are greeted by an exquisitely carved red-tail hawk and coyote, both animals native to the area. Once through the entry arbor, a variety of learning stations have been designed to pique the interest of children ages 4-12. These include Tunes and Groove, a musical mishmash of xylophones, lap drums, and other instruments sure to inspire children to get up and move on our stage or open grass area.
Riverview Art Village, with its unparalleled views of the Santa Ana River and horizon beyond, is an art station complete with easels. The Construction Zone contains a variety of handheld natural materials that can be used to create whatever young minds can dream up. Climbing High is home to a series of climbing platforms, each a little higher than the next, as well as a natural log balance beam and stepping stumps.
Neighboring Climbing High is the Sand Pit, replete with recycled plastic sand toys and sunken animal tracks to be discovered by little hands. Those interested in botany can take a rest on the bench in Maureen’s Garden. Dedicated to the memory of longtime employee Maureen Gayk, this space is teeming with native plants. Rounding out the classroom’s offerings are Pump Creek, where children can pump water into a simulated river bed, and Teacher’s Corner, our gathering space.
Certification is just the beginning for Nature’s Pathway. We plan to expand our outdoor classroom over time, and offer educator led programming such as story time and art projects. Stop in and visit us today!
11401 Arlington Avenue
Riverside, CA 92505