Along the sandy beaches of the Arkansas River, Chaplin Nature Center combines 200 acres of magnificent woodlands, prairies, and streams dedicated to providing visitors an opportunity to gain knowledge and appreciation of nature. Chaplin Nature Center exists to help people understand themselves in relationship to the natural environment upon which we all depend for life. Visitors may see, smell, hear, taste and feel nature in order to gain a better appreciation and understanding of the inter-relationships between all living things.
The area that is now known as the Chaplin Nature Center was originally homesteaded in 1874 by a close relative of the late Mrs. C. Stedman (Hazel) Chaplin. It was purchased by the late C. Stedman Chaplin’s grandfather in 1901. The Chaplins managed the farm in a way to protect and enhance the wildlife potential of the area. They dreamed of preserving the area and converting it into a nature center someday. In 1973, they offered the property for sale to the Wichita Audubon Society. Early impetus for the project was supplied by generous gifts from the estates of Mr. Oscar Ryan and Mrs. Geneva Kingkade.
TRAILS – There are 4 to 5 miles of walking trails for visitors to use as they explore woodlands, prairies, and wetlands.
VISITOR CENTER – A 3,300 square foot facility was completed in the summer of 1989.
NATURE LIBRARY – Located in the Visitors Center, the natural history books and magazines may be used on site.
BOOKSTORE and GIFT SHOP – Located in the Visitors Center, the gift shop carries a wide selection of gifts for the nature lover including: bird feeders, wild bird food, field guides, bird houses, T-shirts, and much more.
MULTI-PURPOSE ROOM – Located in the lower level of the Visitors Center, this room is available for use by various types of groups.
RESERVATIONS – Groups and the general public are welcome to come and go on their own; but if a group would like to utilize the Visitor’s Center or the services of the naturalist, reservations are needed.