All of us at Trout Lake Nature Center are on a mission to educate and inform people of all ages about not only our environment, but on how to protect and preserve the lands, waters and their inhabitants. As a regional educational resource, we hold numerous demonstrations, talks, events and educational opportunities that will interest all ages. Our commitment to work hand and hand with the Lake County school system allows children to gain a unique perspective of our area’s wildlife and lands. Learn More.
We love to share the great experiences at Trout Lake Nature Center. We offer many events every year to bring our visitors on the journey with us. From nature walks, musical events, the Nature Sprouts program, scouting events, holiday events and more, we bring excitement to the study and enjoyment of nature and wildlife. Tell your friends, neighbors and classmates about us and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay up-to-date. Learn More.
To see the joy on children’s face as they encounter one of our turtles, snakes or other critters reminds us why we do what we do. A walk on a trail and boardwalk to the dock on Trout Lake is a peaceful and scenic experience. The 230-acre property features a museum, educational displays, several trails, a swinging bridge and a picnic area. Don’t miss our stunning grandfather oaks.
Welcome to Trout Lake Nature Center
Central Florida’s Regional Resource For Habitat and Wildlife Education
Last year Trout Lake Nature Center had over 11,000 visitors, not including students and program participants. TLNC is a wonderful place to experience natural Florida and learn about this very special region of the state. Visitors enjoy walking the many trails, visiting the museum and strolling the peaceful lake boardwalk.
Our boardwalk is currently closed for renovations but will be back open soon! Our trails remain open.
Trout Lake Nature Center Amenities
The Charles Newell Museum houses a collection of Central Florida wildlife specimens, a reading center and areas for experimentation.
The Environmental Education Building includes an audio/visual center that seats 125, a diorama of Central Florida wildlife in a natural setting, a lending library and a collection of butterflies, moths, shells and fossils. Come and visit our turtle tank and browse through our wonderful collection of literature on nature and Florida.
Interpretive Pine Flatwoods Trails
Throughout our 230 acre property, there are many trails for hiking and enjoying the outdoors. Don’t miss our swinging bridge on the Adventure Trail. You will also find interpretive signs throughout the property that highlight different plants and animals. Keep an eye out for our resident box turtles! Click here for a printable PDF of the TLNC Trail Map.
Boardwalk and Lake Pavilion
Take time during your visit to enjoy a picnic lunch in the screened picnic pavilion or under the majestic Grandfather Oak.
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Events and Programs
TLNC is dedicated to educating about our unique Central Florida environment. We hope that our visitors feel closer to nature and learn something new with each visit.
During the past year we offered a variety of events and programs.
Halloween Nights – We shared how bats, snakes and spiders are an important part of our ecosystem and may not be as scary as Hollywood leads us to believe. The children dressed in costumes and enjoyed this alternative Halloween activity.
Sunset at the Rookery– Participants enjoyed a beverage on our lake dock as the sun set and flocks of birds returned to their lakeside rookery. This was followed by a wonderful meal and live music around a campfire.
Full Moon Hike– Guests took a magical walk through the TLNC trails as the full moon floated overhead.
Other programs included:
Turkey Talk with Danny Caudill of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Art With and About Nature by Ray Grayford and Wendy Poag
Amazing Arachnids by John Serrao
Yes, Virginia, Florida Does Have A Winter Season by Teresa Watkins
Wildlife at TLNC by Stan Napier and Bill Bygrave
What Lives In Florida Lakes? By Dr. Cichra and Sharon Fitz-Coy
Ribbets, Croaks, Tadpoles and Frogs by Dr. Stephen Johnson
What’s In a Name? by Rick Reed
Nature Photography by Jesse Yarnel
We Partner With Lake County Schools
We work with Lake County teachers to provide the TLNC Field Experience. It is a progressive program that advances as the children reach higher grade levels and is correlated to Florida’s education standards.
Beginning with Pre-K we help students develop an understanding of what makes animals “real live animals” and how they use their senses to find food and survive in the forest.
Kindergartners study different plants and animals and learn in what ways they are alike and how they differ. They will also participate in a discussion of how the media will portray animals and plants with characteristics and behaviors that they do not have in real life.
First graders learn about the life cycles of plants and the role that water and sunshine play in their survival. They will learn how a tree not only makes its own food, but provides food , shelter and other materials for animals and people.
Second graders learn how all living things are interdependent on one another. And how living things can be found everywhere on land, in water and in the sky, but to survive their basic needs must be met.
Third graders visit the four main ecosystems within TLNC. They record and observe the differences in light, water, soil and temperature and how conditions are created to make different animals comfortable. They also adopt an animal for the day and try to find out what it needs to survive.
Fourth graders learn about plants and the food chain. They learn how plants provide shelter, food and oxygen, and that without plants, people and animals would cease to exist.
Fifth graders are challenged to understand the role of animal adaptations, both structural and behavioral that allow them to survive and meet their needs within their habitat.