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New season set to bloom at Vernon nature centre

The Allan Brooks Nature Centre on Commonage Road celebrates its 21st season in 2021
The marmots, along with staff, are ready to say hello to the public at Vernon’s Allan Brooks Nature Centre, which opens for the new season Saturday, April 17. (ABNC photo)

There is no better place to explore right now, than nature. Vernon’s Allan Brooks Nature Centre is officially re-opening to the public as of Saturday, April 17.

In previous years, the centre welcomed guests with an opening day event, and although that is not possible under the current COVID restrictions, guests are invited to visit the site as a safe place to unwind from stress caused by the pandemic.

“The Allan Brooks Nature Centre is a place where people from the North Okanagan can come with family, unplug from your phone, leave the city behind and experience the beauty and awe of the natural world from one of the best views in Vernon,” said centre manager Cheryl Hood.

On Saturday, guests can take part in a guided walking tour at 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. for $5 per person (ABNC members and kids under 16 can take part for free). Participants are asked to reserve the tour when they check in at the Interpretive Centre.

There will be free tree sprouts available to the first 50 guests that visit the centre, courtesy of PRT-Coldstream. There will also be a complimentary take-away craft project for kids, and the chance to win a nature-themed gift basket to all guests who visit during the month of April.

There is also a new gift shop display featuring locally sourced items for sale including lavender products, books, art cards, honey and bird and bat boxes, as well as kids toys and explorer kits. Nature lovers are encouraged to take advantage of a two-year Allan Brooks membership at a reduced price, only available until April 17.

Allan Brooks Nature Centre features an easy, rolling walking trail that leads visitors to a variety of features including the Norah Foord Pond Learning Centre, Marmot City, and the analemmatic sundial. New this year, the Grasslands Trail now features six brand new trailhead signs and nine interpretive signs, all of which have updated content and a fresh design.

The Nature Playground was newly constructed in 2020 and this year volunteers have created a sensory bin and water table for kids to enjoy. The centre also received a generous donation of a taxidermy Golden Eagle, aptly named “Cheep Cheep,” which is now displayed in the Discovery Room.

“We encourage everyone to come to the centre this season within their bubble, bring a picnic lunch, walk the Grasslands Trail, explore the Interpretive Centre, and take pictures of the incredible views, budding arrowleaf balsamroot and our resident marmots,” said Hood. “If you are lucky, you will see a raptor swooping through the air, but there are always plenty of songbirds to see. What we can guarantee, is that every visitor will have their own unique connection with nature.”

The Allan Brooks Nature Centre will be open from Tuesday – Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., (the Interpretive Centre will be closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays). COVID protocols will be in effect. Admission to the centre is by donation.

For more details on what you can expect from the Allan Brooks Nature Centre this season, visit

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About the Author: Vernon Morning Star Staff

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