First of all, the facility itself is amazing. It’s located south of downtown on the Whittier Peninsula, a key location for the center because many birds stop here along the Scioto River during their migration South. This location is also notable because the center is the first in the country to be built so close to the heart of a major city.
One side of the building is a tree-lined overlook of the Scioto and on the opposite side is an awesome view of the downtown skyline. So, the building acts as a physical connection between urban life and nature. It maintains that urban-nature balance through its green initiatives . For example, the parking lot and sidewalks are composed of an aerated material that allows rainwater to trickle through to an irrigation system that leads into the river to increase water quality. Very cool, right?
Inside the building is a multipurpose room that can hold 200 and acts as a very unique event space. The building also offers a native plant demonstration garden, bird observation deck, library, nature store and 3 classrooms for nature education programs. In addition, the facility has a natural playground area and a rock-climbing wall (note: I believe you have to have a belay certificate and your own gear in order to use the wall).
As you can see, the center is more than a place to bird watch, it’s also neat place to just hang out. They offer a wide range of events , such as date nights where you can look at the night sky through telescopes, workshops for how to winterize your landscape, and lessons on how to learn the calls of your favorite birds. They also provide fun volunteer opportunities if you’re a local looking to get involved.
All in all, the Grange Insurance Audubon Center is a great addition to the city of Columbus!