Ankeny Hill Nature Center

The USFWS Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex, in partnership with the Salem Audubon Society and the Friends of the Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex, have created an environmental education hub for the Mid Valley called the Ankeny Hill Nature Center! 

The Ankeny Hill Nature Center is dedicated to being as inclusive and accessible as possible.  Visit anytime from dawn to dusk!  It's always free. 

The Ankeny Hill Nature Center is actually a center for nature.... it spans 25 acres and includes a number of nature exploration options:

  • An indoor and outdoor classroom, Gehlar Hall, reservable at no cost for conservation and education purposes
  • Picnic spaces, bike parking, discovery backpacks for use, flocks of bluebirds, visiting coyotes, brilliant sweat bees and nesting Red-tailed hawks
  • Two accessible trails, Little Loop and Big Loop
  • An innovative nature playground called the Nature Explore Area (tip: look for 2 tunnels and 2 bridges)
  • Numerous education nodes that are more than just an interpretive stop; they are interactive and educational with or without a park ranger or volunteer to guide you
  • Pollinator Patch 
  • Storywalk 
  • David B. Marshall Outdoor Classroom perched over Peregrine Marsh and alongside Northern shovelers and dusky Canada geese

Visit our website:

Visit Us

The Center takes advantage of its location at the Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge to provide multiple educational environments including classrooms, the Nature Explore area for kids, outlooks and learning stations along accessible pathways and discovery elements throughout the Refuge.

Ankeny Hill Nature Center is creating ways to make it easy for people of all ages and interests to make visits to The Center personally rewarding. From school children to conservancy organizations, special interest groups to scouts, our mission is to make The Center a focal point of community life.

Access is always free from dawn to dusk. The Mark Gehlar Building has indoor and outdoor classrooms, easily reserved for use.


The Ankeny Hill Nature Center also has an active volunteer program, and we would love your help!  Habitat Stewards, Weed Warriors and Education Volunteers are just a few of the opportunities.  Reach out to our Volunteer Coordinators for more information, orientation dates/times and community volunteer days:

Interested in learning more? Check out our website Ankeny Hill Nature Center and plan your next visit!