In 1999, the Wildlife Unlimited of Allegan & Ottawa Counties, Inc. and the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (OAISD) partnered to create the Outdoor Discovery Center to create an outdoor education facility for the community serving both students and the public.
The 100-acre parcel of land purchased by Wildlife Unlimited was an ideal site because of its diverse ecosystems. It had been decades since it was farmed and one of the first projects the ODC undertook was to restore the land to its pre-settlement condition. Subsequent land acquisitions have added to the natural diversity including ponds, remnant dunes, wetlands, meadows, remnant prairie, and lowland hardwood forest. Visitors are able to experience these unique surroundings while walking on three miles of trails, many that are wheelchair, stroller, and wagon-friendly on the 160 acre site.
Our staff offer a variety of programs to schools and the community that help foster the concepts of wildlife management, conservation, outdoor education and preservation. A diverse taxidermy collection of North American wildlife with other exhibits, including a number of live reptiles and amphibians, makes the 5,000 square foot Visitors Center ideal for visiting during any season. Highlights for many visitors include viewing live birds at the De Witt Birds of Prey Center, playing at the Eldean Family Nature Play Park, or exploring the many ponds and wetlands. During the winter season business hours, snowshoes are available for rent at the Visitors Center during business hours when there is at least four inches of snow on the ground.