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photo courtesy of @katie.jonesy.and.co

Get Back to Nature at Howell Nature Center

Just minutes away from charming downtown Howell is a 230-acre nature center that combines the need for wildlife rehabilitation in the area with the experience of outdoor education. The Howell Nature Center has been operating in Livingston County for more than 55 years, and today, it has become one of the top attractions in the local area. 

About Howell Nature Center

At the core of the Howell Nature Center’s mission is wildlife rehabilitation. This is the place where people in Michigan can bring injured animals in the hope that they can be cared for and treated in a supportive environment while subsequently being rehabilitated to enter the wild again. The organization works with more than 4,000 animals in the state each year and has become a leader in wildlife rehabilitation in the state. 

So, when you visit the Howell Nature Center, you have the opportunity to see the animals that the non-profit organization has helped recently. The Wild Wonders Wildlife Park is located within the Howell Nature Center, and this attraction consists of a half-mile trail where visitors can check out animal exhibits. The animals who live in this park are permanently injured and are not able to be rehabilitated. The staff and volunteers at the nature center care for them on a daily basis, all while giving patrons and visitors the opportunity to learn more about the species, the role they play in the local ecosystem, and the importance of wildlife protection. Some of the animals that you can visit in the wildlife park include a gray fox, a porcupine, a coyote, a box turtle, a snowy owl, and more. 

HowellNatureCenter kstlz Get Back to Nature at Howell Nature Center
photo courtesy of @kstlz

Visiting Howell Nature Center with Kids

If you are visiting the Howell Nature Center with young children, you will want to head over to Alexandria’s NatureScape and The Tree House after you have visited with all of the animals on the woodland trail. This natural, outdoor playground is the most recent addition to the nature center. It is open seasonally from May through October, and it features a variety of playscape areas that are rooted in nature and designed to connect children with the outdoor world. On a hot summer day, your child will love splashing in the waterfall stream. The Stump Jump and Spider Web are perfect for active children who need to burn some energy while breathing in the fresh air. Of course, the highlight of this attraction is The Tree House, which is an accessible, 7,000-square-foot play area that includes ramps, bridges, and more. 

Grab a Bite to Eat in Howell

After learning more about the wildlife creatures that call Livingston County home and spending several hours playing in an immersive, natural playground, you will want to reward yourself with a towering treat from M Street Baking Co. This bakery, which is located just a short drive away from the nature center in downtown Howell, has earned quite the reputation in the community and throughout the state. It is most famous for its handcrafted milkshakes — which are creative, colorful concoctions that contain so much more than just ice cream and milk. For example, the Birthday Party shake is a cake-flavored shake that is dipped in sprinkles and topped with an ice cream cone, a mini cupcake, a piece of rock candy, a lollipop, a couple of animal crackers, and a swirl of blue cotton candy. These milkshakes are perfect for sharing but don’t forget to take a photo before you dive in. You are going to want to share this edible work of art on Instagram!

While it’s easy to fill up on sugar in downtown Howell, you also will want to take time to stop at one of the world-class restaurants that are located in this historic section of town. For a casual meal packed full of flavor, grab lunch at Firewood Grill. This restaurant has something for everyone, as its menu includes hearty burgers as well as filling entrees, such as pasta, steak, or seafood. If you are in search of a fine dining experience, you won’t want to miss Cello Italian Restaurant. Whether you opt to eat inside in the cozy and intimate dining room or you choose the sidewalk patio, you won’t be disappointed by the meal that arrives at your table.

HowellNatureCenter kelsomatic08 Get Back to Nature at Howell Nature Center
photo courtesy of @kelsomatic08

Lodging Near Howell Nature Center

Looking to extend your visit to Howell and Livingston County? Or perhaps you’re looking for a launch point for your Michigan summer bucket list adventures in the central, east, or southern regions of the state? Here are some nearby Howell lodging options:

No RV? No Problem!

We've included local campgrounds in most of the #MIAwesomeList posts to help you get the most out of your Michigan summer bucket list adventures!


No RV? No worries. You can save up to 25% on your travel costs this summer by renting an RV through RVshare!


Whether you want to pull it behind you or have it all set up at your destination, renting an RV is the best way to enjoy all your summer adventures in Michigan!


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Photos of Howell Nature Center

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