Nature Center in Alexandria

Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center

The Ford Nature Center is located in West End Alexandria not far from the intersection of Beauregard St. and Sanger Ave. The Nature Center backs to Holmes Run behind William Ramsay Elementary School. The Nature Center is sited on Dora Kelley Nature Park, a 50-acre wildlife sanctuary with a one-mile long nature trail that meanders along streams, wooded hills, and freshwater marshland.

Staff naturalists at the Nature Center welcome visitors and “explorers” interested in Alexandria natural history. For groups of 8 or more, make reservations and a staff naturalist will take you on a guided tour of the Nature Park.   you can see live animals up close and learn about the cultural and natural history of Dora Kelley Nature Park.  For more information, or to make program reservations, please call the Nature Center at 703.746.5559.

The Nature Center houses the following attractions and exhibits:

  • Live turtles, snakes, toads and salamanders
  • Aquarium with native fish species from Holmes Run
  • Exhibit on Alexandria’s birds of prey
  • Mary Anne Warner’s beautiful 16’ x 7’ oil mural, “Wildlife of the Dora Kelley Nature Park”
  • Mounted black bear, red fox, turkey and bobcat
  • Interpretive exhibits on local geology, prehistory, and history
  • Small reference library with children’s section
  • Games and activity stations for children
  • Greenhouse with tropical rainforest plants

The activity room of Ford Nature Center is available for use and rental by community groups and organizations.

Volunteering at the Nature Center

A variety of volunteer opportunities are available through the Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center for ages 16 and above. Positions include front desk attendant, park conservation aide, and park watch assistant. Volunteer opportunities for individuals or groups in outdoor conservation and trail maintenance are also available from 9am-12pm on the following Saturdays: April 12, May 17, June 14, July 26, and August 23. For more information, please call the Nature Center at 703.746.5559.

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