Southeast Kansas Nature Center
Located about one mile south of Galena on the east side of K-26. The entrance is just north of the bridge over Shoal Creek. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. Galena is an anchor point for the Kansas Historic Route 66 Byway.
The Southeast Kansas Nature Center sits on a hilltop in Schermerhorn Park overlooking Shoal Creek and offers something for everyone. There are exploration drawers with hands-on materials, bird viewing, nature and history films, native animal and plant exhibits, a large collection of Native American artifacts and live insects and reptiles.
Many species of wildlife on the state endangered and threatened species list are found in this area. Sharp-eyed visitors can spot many species of birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians, and fish not found west of the Ozark Plateau. Explore the extensive network of nature trails, and be sure to visit Schermerhorn Cave.
Schermerhorn Park exemplifies the 55-square mile Ozark Plateau geologic region of far southeast Kansas. The region features the oldest surface rocks in the state, and many of the hillsides are covered with hardwood forest dominated by oaks and hickories.
The 32-acre Shoal Creek Wildlife Area straddles Shoal Creek and typifies the wooded hills, streams, wet limestone crevices and caves found in the Ozarks. Hunting is limited to archery and shotgun only. A 1/4-mile stretch of Shoal Creek is available to anglers.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) operates the Southeast Kansas Nature Center (SEKNC) under a lease agreement with the city of Galena. KDWPT manages the center, cares for the exhibits, maintains the nature trails currently on the property and provides education programming. The city of Galena owns and manages Schermerhorn Park where the nature center is located (including Schermerhorn Cave and the park area along Shoal Creek) and maintains the center. KDWPT owns property on either side of Shoal Creek south and east of the park as part of the Shoal Creek Wildlife Area.