Rocky River Nature Center Ohio History

Rocky River Nature Center in Ohio is a shaded, highly educational beauty. Winding trails through the woods surround it along with the river, lots of education inside the center and a huge set of stairs. Some often see Bald Eagles nesting nearby! You can use the trails, stairs and surrounding beautiful nature of great photo ops. This location was prior known as Trailside Interpretation Center. It was built in 1971. Now we call it as the Rocky River Nature Center. This center is located in the Rocky River South Reservation. It is the perfect example of natural history and education that the Cleveland Metroparks offers. Tours are offered and classes can be book in this location. You can rent out their small auditorium for events also.

an extended family session taken at the rocky river nature center in ohio

Arthur B. Williams

Arthur B. Williams passion and career was ecology (the branch of biology that deals with the relations to organisms to one another and their physical surroundings). He worked for the Cleveland Metroparks and utilized his extensive knowledge of ecology in the Metroparks. His doctoral thesis was about the ecosystem found within North Chagrin Reservation. In 1930 he became the naturalist for the Cleveland Metropolitan Park Board so he could explain to the public the natural history of the Metroparks. Williams investigate every reservation of the Metropolitan Parks System. The plethora of data he collected would eventually be used for the educational programs we now have at our nature centers. 

While working, he would take the public out on walks and educate them at the same time. These walks that Williams did became so popular that he ended up working alongside the Cleveland Museum of Natural History due to them realizing the need for public facilities, which he would use to carry out his continual educating of natural history. In the 1930s, Arthur Williams was responsible for founding three trailside museums: North Chagrin Reservation, Brecksville Reservation, and Rocky River Reservation (not the Rocky River North Reservation that I initially talk about in this blog).

mom smiling while smiling son sits on her lap

The North Chagrin Reservation

The trailside museum in the North Chagrin Reservation is the first museum of its kind established in the entire nation and Ohio. During its first year, more than 150,000 visitors came to the museum. The museums goal was to show visitors “natural wonders” and introduce the public to nature with the goal of creating a sense of care for nature in people and for them to be aware of/respect nature and wildlife in general. The museums purposely granted accessibility only by foot to preserve its wooded locations. These locations did, and still do, offer talks and lectures by local naturalists. Some locations, like Lake Eerie Reservation Center, have living exhibits containing local wildlife, which are filled with animals who have been rescued.

The Rocky River Nature Center in Ohio was built after Williams had passed, but because of him, visitors of all ages can now visit, play, adventure and become educated with just a step inside the Rocky River Nature Center.

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