Main Contact Info:
Admission, Hours and Additional Contact Info image description
Additional Contact Info:
  • image description Admission:

    FREE to the public!

  • image description Trails & Grounds Hours:

    Open Weekdays - 8 a.m. to dusk
    Weekends & Holidays - 9 a.m. to dusk

    Visitor's Center Hours:

    April through September: Open Weekdays 8:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.;
    October through March: Open Weekdays 8:00 a.m.-5 p.m.;
    Saturdays: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
    Sundays: 1-5 p.m.

  • image description Who To Contact:

    John Gallagher, Superintendent:
    Stephanie Carlson, Education Coordinator/Chief Naturalist:
    Steve Kinser, Natural Resource Officer:
    Lacey Browning, Customer Service Manager:

Connect With Us:

Dillon Nature Center


Surround yourself with the beauty of the great outdoors on this 100-acre “wild arboretum” designated as a National Urban Wildlife Sanctuary. Discover more than 300 species of woody plants, hundreds of varieties of wildflowers and native grasses, 200 species of birds, and a large variety of other wildlife along three miles of National Recreation trails.

Call 620-663-7411 for more information

Upcoming Programs and Events

Dillon Nature Center

Facility Details & Features

  • All Facility Details
    Facility Features
    image description
    All Facility Details
    Facility Description

    Take in the beauty of the great outdoors on this 100-acre “wild arboretum” designated as a National Urban Wildlife Sanctuary. Discover hundreds of varieties of woody plants, wildflowers, native grasses, as well as several species of birds and a large variety of wildlife along three miles of National Recreation trails. The nature center also features a spring-fed pond stocked for fishing, picnic areas, a family playscape area, and a Visitor’s Center filled with interactive displays and exhibits.

    • Visitor’s Center: Take a Closer Look at Nature with our recently renovated interactive exhibits and displays (completed in Fall 2014). The Visitor’s Center also includes a meeting room that can be rented out for private parties and groups; a nature library; natural science classroom; observation deck; and a gift shop.
    • Taylor Shady Lane Cabin and Courtyard: Features a main room for meetings, family reunions, receptions etc., a catering kitchen with a serving window into the meeting room, men’s and women’s bathrooms, storage for tables and chairs. Outside the building there is a covered patio and grassy courtyard.
    • Jim Smith Family Playscape: Young families and their children are invited to create, explore, and get a little dirty while having fun in this one-of-a-kind outdoor exploration center, completed in Spring 2012 thanks to a grant from the United Health Ministries Fund and several donors and volunteers.
  • Admission & Hours
    Prices & Details
    image description
    Admission & Hours

    FREE to the public


    Trails & Grounds Hours:

    • Open Weekdays 8:00am to Dusk
    • Weekends & Holidays – 9:00am to Dusk

    Visitor’s Center Hours:

    • April through September: Open Weekdays 8:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.
    • October through March: Open Weekdays 8:00 a.m.-5 p.m.
    • Saturdays: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
    • Sundays: 1-5 p.m.
  • Who to Contact
    Meet the Team
    image description
    Who to Contact
    John Gallagher


    Stephanie Carlson

    Education Coordinator:

    Steve Kinser

    Natural Resource Officer:

    Lacey Browning

    Customer Service Manager:


  • Facility Rental
    Rental Info
    image description
    Facility Rentals
    Community Room Inside Visitor’s Center:

    Attached kitchen with refrigerator, oven/stove top, sink, and serving area.

    Taylors’ Shady Lane Cabin:

    Attached kitchen with refrigerator, oven/stove, sink, and serving area.

    Wedding Areas:
    For rentals, please call (620) 663-7411 for rental rates, reservation dates, and additional details.

Dillon Nature Center

Outdoor Information

  • Fishing Info & Rules
    View More Info
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    Fishing Info & Rules
    • Fishing is only allowed in the upper pond, which is adjacent to the visitor center building. The lower pond is strictly for wildlife study. Please note that certain areas of the upper pond are off limits to fishing. This includes on or under the visitor center’s observation deck and just north of the visitor center in the garden areas. Signs mark the areas that are off-limits to fishing.
    • This pond is stocked with catfish in the warmer months and trout in the colder months. An approximate schedule of these stockings is posted at the nature center.
    • Everyone from 16 to 65 years of age must have a valid Kansas Fishing License to fish at the nature center. Everyone regardless of age must have a valid trout permit to fish for trout at the nature center. The nature center does not sell licenses or permits.
    • No other animals including turtles, snakes, frogs, etc. may be caught or harmed in any way at the nature center. If a turtle is accidentally caught, it should be released in the lower pond near the front gate where fishing is not allowed.
    • Fishing is never allowed after dark or when the gates are closed.
    • No setlines, bank lines, trot lines, of any kind are allowed.
    • Live minnows are not allowed as bait.
    • Please put litter in the trashcans provided at the nature center, including discarded fishing line, which is very dangerous to other wildlife.
    • Only bait and lure and fishing are allowed. Snagging, archery, hand fishing, netting, gigging, etc. are not allowed.
    • Boats, floatation devices, canoes, etc. are not allowed on our pond except for programs conducted by Dillon Nature Center staff.
    • Canoes being used by students or for nature center programs have the right-of-way on the pond. Please be careful casting near them.
    • Special Creel Limits: Bass – 1 per day; Catfish – 5 per day
    • Special Length Limits: Bass – 15 inches; Catfish – 12 inches
    • Note on creel limits: There are not creel or length limits on other fish such as blue gill and crappie. You may not share your catch with other people to increase your creel limit. Once you catch that limit (e.g. five trout) you cannot catch any more trout for the day. Catching more than your limit and taking it home and returning in the same day to catch more is a state crime that is punishable by severe penalties.
  • Trails & Grounds
    Trail Maps & Info
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    Trails & Grounds
    Woodard Interpretive Trail Loop

    (.75 mile) (blue arrows)
    Surface varies from crushed rock to grass to dirt. Includes some steps and slopes. An interpretive booklet is available for this trail. Features found along trail: ponds, marsh, small stream, small prairie, thickets, woods, and gardens.

    Outer Loop Recreation Trail Loop

    (.86 mile) (red arrows)
    Surface is mostly dirt and grass. Not always outside of the Woodard Trail but mostly follows the perimeter of the nature center. Good jogging trail. Features found along trail: ponds, small prairie, thickets, woods, and gardens.

    Upper Pond Hard-surface Trail

    (.29 mile) (just follow the concrete walkways)
    Surface is all concrete and at least five feet in width. Circles pond, goes through beautiful garden areas, and connects to visitor center. Even though it may be officially rated as accessible, some slopes may be challenging for some users.
    (Note: There are several cutoffs and small loops that connect the Woodard, Outer Loop, and Upper Pond trails. These other short trail pieces can serve to shorten your walking route or add length to it, as you want.)

    Prairie Hills/Westar Energy Trails

    (.66 mile one way between the west trailhead and east trailhead near Prairie Hills Middle School) (Not really marked just follow the mowed paths)
    The surface is mostly sand and grass. This trail system is still under development and there is an alternate loop that can add some distance to it. Interpretive signage can be found along the trail. Features found along trail: marsh, prairie dog town, thickets, and expanses of native grasses and wildflowers.

    Download DNC Trail Map

  • Birds & Wildlife
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    The following types of birds and wildlife are commonly spotted at DNC:


    • Great Blue Heron
    • Canada Goose
    • Mallard
    • Wood Duck
    • Gadwall
    • Screech Owl
    • Great Horned Owl
    • Wild Turkey
    • Turkey Vulture
    • Mississippi Kite
    • Red-tailed Hawk
    • Northern Harrier
    • American Kestrel
    • Killdeer
    • Rock Dove
    • Mourning Dove
    • Yellow-billed Cuckoo
    • Ruby-throated Humingbird
    • Barn Swallow
    • Northern Rough-winged Swallow
    • Purple Martin
    • Belted Kingfisher
    • Red-Bellied Woodpecker
    • Red-headed Woodpecker
    • Downy Woodpecker
    • Eastern Kingbird
    • Western Kingbird
    • Eastern Phoebe
    • Blue Jay
    • American Crow
    • Black-capped Chickadee
    • White-breasted Nuthatch
    • Red-breasted Nuthatch
    • Gray Catbird
    • Brown Thrasher
    • House Wren
    • Carolina Wren
    • American Robin
    • Eastern Bluebird
    • European Starling
    • Bell’s Vireo
    • Warbling Vireo
    • Red-eyed Vireo
    • Yellow Warbler
    • Yellow-rumped Warbler
    • Common Yellowthroat
    • Eastern Meadowlark
    • Western Meadowlark
    • Red-winged Blackbird
    • Baltimore Oriole
    • Brown-headed Cowbird
    • Northern Cardinal
    • House Finch
    • American Goldfinch
    • Harris’s Sparrow
    • White-crowned Sparrow
    • Dark-eyed Junco
    • House Sparrow


    • Eastern Cottontail
    • White-tailed Deer
    • Racoon
    • Eastern Fox Squirrel
    • Eastern Wood Rat


    • Tiger Salamander
    • Great Plains Toad
    • Plains Leopard Frog
    • Bullfrog
    • Snapping Turtle
    • Northern Painted Turtle
    • Red-eared Slider
    • Spiny Softshell
    • Ornate Box Turtle
    • Great Plains Skink
    • Six-lined Racerunner
    • Prairie Kingsnake
    • Bull Snake
    • Northern Water Snake
    • Plains Garter Snake
    • Common Garter Snake
  • Plants & Habitat
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    Plants & Habitat
    Info & List for Plants

    *Common Name, Botanical Name: DNC Rating & Notes

    Trident Maple, Acer buergeranum: Good but slow, fall color good

    Hedge Maple, Acer campestre: Good, drought tolerant, squirrels

    Amur Maple, Acer ginnala: Very good, fall color great, squirrels

    Canyon Maple, Acer grandidentatum: Fairly good, slow, drought tolerant, fall color good

    Box Elder, Acer negundo: Poor, fast, weak limbs

    Red Maple, Acer rubrum: Good, medium, fall color variable

    October Glory Maple, Acer rubrum ‘October Glory’: Good, medium, fall color good

    Red Sunset Maple, Acer rubrum ‘ Red Sunset’: Poor, medium, winter damage to trunk

    Silver Maple, Acer saccharinum: Poor, fast, weak limbed, squirrels

    Caddo Sugar Maple, Acer saccharum ‘Caddo’: Very good, fairly fast, drought tolerant, fall color great

    Legacy Sugar Maple, Acer saccharum ‘Legacy’: Fair, medium, some heat stress, fall color fair

    Shantung Maple, Acer truncatum: Good, medium, some winter damage, fall color great

    Autumn Blaze Maple, Acer x freemanii ‘Autumn Blaze’: Good, medium fast, fall color good

    Red Buckeye, Aesculus pavia: Not rated yet

    Ohio Buckeye, Aesculus glabra: Good, slow, better if protected from south winds

    Mimosa, Albizia julibrissin: Fair, fast, winter kills often, hummingbirds

    Seaside Alder, Alnus maritime: Good, slow, interesting, for very wet areas

    Black Alder, Alnus glutinosa: Very good for heavy soil or wet area, very upright form

    Regent Serviceberry, Amelanchier alnifolia ‘Regent’: Good, slow, small shrub, song birds, fall color good

    Shadblow Serviceberry, Amelanchier canadensis: Good, slow, needs good soil, song birds, fall color good

    Apple Serviceberry, Amelanchier x grandiflora: Good, slow, flowers, fall color good, birds

    Porcelain Vine, Ampelopsis brevipedunculata: Good, fast, can spread, song birds, beautiful fruit

    Devil’s Walking Stic, Aralia spinosa: Good, interesting, very thorny, birds, will spread

    Brilliant Chokeberry, Aronia arbutifolia ‘Brilliantissima’: Some winter kill, fiery color, medium shrub, birds

    Black Chokeberry, Aronia melanocarpa : Good, drought tolerant, shrub, fall color great, birds

    Redleaf Barberry, Berberia thunbergii ‘Atropurpurea’: Good, some winter kill, birds, very thorny, red leaves

    Crimson Pygmy Barberry, Berberis thunbergii ‘ Crimson Pygmy’: Fair, some winter and summer kill, small, red leaves

    Kobold Barberry, Berberis thunbergii ‘Kobold’: Good, some winter kill, birds

    Rose Glow Barberry, Berberis thunbergii ‘Rose Glow’: Very good, beautiful coloration

    Cherrybomb Barberry, Berberis thunbergii ‘Monomb’: Not rated yet

    William Penn Barberry, Berberis x gladwynensis ‘William Penn’: Very good, birds, good heat and cold resistance

    Mentor Barberry, Berberis x mentorensis: Good, heat and cold resistant, birds

    River Birch, Betula nigra: Very good, likes heavy wet soil, beautiful bark

    Paper Mulberry, Broussonetia papyrifera: Fair, fast but winter kills, interesting bark and leaves

    Butterfly Bush (several types), Buddleia davidii: Good, flowers attract butterflies, prune way back

    Gum Bumelia, Chittamwood, Bumelia lanuginosa: Good, very slow, glossy leaves, very thorny

    Incense Cedar, Calocedrus decurrens: Good, medium, very upright form

    Carolina Allspice, Calycanthus floridus: Fair, slow, unusual fruit, birds

    Trumpet Vine, Campsis radicans: Very good, hummingbirds, can spread rapidly

    Siberian Pea Shrub, Caragana arborescens: Good, drought tolerant, bees, butterflies, pretty foliage

    Columnar Hophornbeam, Carpinus betulus ‘Columnaris’: Good, medium, very upright form, smooth shiny bark

    American Hornbeam, Carpinus caroliniana: Fair, slow growing

    Blue Mist Shrub, Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Blue Mist’: Good, cut back annually, bees, butterflies

    Dark Knight Bluebeard, Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Dark Knight’: Very good, cut back annually, bees, butterflies

    Chinese Chestnut, Castanea mollis: Good, some blight damage, glossy leaves, squirrels

    Northern Catalpa, Catalpa speciosa: Good, fast, hardy, very big leaves, long pods

    New Jersey Tea, Ceanothus americanus: Good, small shrub, flowers, butterflies

    American Bittersweet, Celastrus scandens: Very good, fast, spreads, birds, colorful fruit

    Sugarberry, Celtis laevigata: Poor, slow

    Hackberry, Celtis occidentalis: Good, medium, birds, interesting bark

    Chinese Hackberry, Celtis sinensis: Fair, slow, glossy leaves

    Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis: Very good, heavy wet soil, butterflies, bees

    Eastern Redbud, Cercis canadensis: Very good, medium, bright flowers, hummingbirds

    Whitebud, Cercis Canadensis ‘Alba’: Fair, slow, bright white flowers

    Common Flowering Quince, Chaenomeles speciosa: Good, medium, large very hard fruit, bright red flowers

    Chinese Fringetree, Chioanthus retusus: Too early to evaluate yet

    Yellow-wood, Cladrastis lutea: Very good, slow, pretty white flowers, smooth bark

    Sweet Autumn Clematis, Clematis paniculata: Good, showy cream flowers, climbing vine, butterflies

    Rough-leaved Dogwood, Cornus drummondii : Good, large spreading shrub, flowers, fruit, bees, birds

    Chinese Dogwood, Cornus kousa: Poor at first, now in sheltered site with good soil

    Cornelian Cherry Dogwood, Cornus mas: Very good, fast, weird yellow flowers, red fruit, birds

    Redtwig Dogwood, Cornus sericea: Very good, fast, birds, nice branch color

    American Filbert, Corylus americana: Very good, spreads quickly, squirrels

    Contorted Filbert, Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’: Good, very unusual shape, must cut back suckers common Smoketree

    Upright Cotoneaster, Cotoneaster divaricatus: Fair, slow, birds, drought tolerant

    Round Rock Cotoneaster, Cotoneaster horizontalis ‘Robusta’: Good, slow, great for rock garden, pretty fruit, birds

    Cockspur Hawthorn, Crataegus crus-galli: Very good, fall color good, birds, very thorny

    Washington Hawthorn, Crataegus phaenopyrum: Good, fall color good, birds, gets cedar-apple rust

    Reverchon Hawthorn, Crataegus reverchonii: Poor, heat stress, cedar-apple rust

    Melontree, Cudrania tricuspidata: Fair, unusual edible fruit

    Slender Deutizia, Deutizia gracillis: Poor, pretty white flowers, too early to evaluate yet

    Common Persimmon, Disopyros virginiana: Good, opossums, raccoons, edible fruit, nice bark

    Russian Olive, Elaeagnus angustifolia: Good, fast, birds, interesting bark and leaves

    Autumn Olive, Elaeagnus umbellata: Good, spreads, birds, butterflies, bees, small red fruit

    Hardy Rubbertree, Eucommia ulmoides: Very good, glossy leaves, latex in sap, insect free

    American Euonymus, Euonymus americana: Good, drought tolerant, interesting fruit, birds

    Winterberry Euonymus, Euonymus bungeanus: Good, medium, fall color good, birds

    Red Cap Euonymus, Euonymus europaea ‘Red Cap’: Good, slow, pretty fall color

    Emerald ‘N Gold Euonymus, Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald ‘N Gold’: Fair, too early to rate yet, pretty foliage

    Emerald Gaiety Euonymus, Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald Gaiety’: Fair, too early to rate yet, pretty foliage

    Bee Bee Tree, Evodia daniellii: Fair, some winter kill, too early to rate yet

    New Mexico Privet, Foresteria neomexicana: Good, fine foliage, drought tolerant, butterflies

    Dwarf Fothergilla, Fothergilla gardenii: Too early to evaluate yet

    White Ash, Fraxinus americana: Fair, spreads by seed, great fall color, insect problems

    Green Ash, Fraxinus pennsylvanica: Good, yellow fall color, some insect problems

    Blue Ash, Fraxinus quadrangulata: Slow, too soon to rate yet, seems drought tolerant

    Gingko, Gingko biloba: Fair, very slow, interesting leaves, good fall color

    Honey Locust, Gleditsia triacanthos: Good, some are thorny, rabbits like the pods

    Kentcky Coffeetree, Gymnocladus dioicus: Good, unusual compound foliage, interesting pods

    English Ivy, Hedera helix: Very good, pretty aggressive, very hardy, nice foliage

    Seabuckthorn, Hippophae rhamnoides: Fair, silvery foliage, birds

    Climbing Hydrangea, Hydrangea anomala petiolaris: Very slow to establish, too early to evaluate yet

    Kalm St. Johnswort, Hypericum kalmianum: Poor, stressed by cold and heat, pretty yellow flowers

    Possumhaw Holly, Ilex decidua (several varieties): Good, medium, fiery red fruit makes good winter show

    Meserve Holly, Ilex x merservae (several varieties): Good, glossy leaves, females have shiny red fruit

    Little Henry Sweetspire, Itea virginica ‘Sweetspire’: Too early to evaluate yet

    Black Walnut, Juglans nigra: Very good, medium, squirrels

    Kallys Juniper, Juniperus chinensis ‘Kallays’: Very good, hardy, dark green color, medium sized

    Gold Coast Juniper, Juniperus chinensis ‘Gold Coast’: Good, some heat stress, nice yellow accent plant

    Mint Julep Juniper, Juniperus chinensis ‘Mint Julep’: Very good, hardy, can get large, dark green foliage

    Blue Pfitzer Juniper, Juniperus chinensis ‘Pfitzerana Glauca’: Very good, nice blue color

    Sea Green Juniper, Juniperus chinensis ‘Sea Green’: Too early to evaluate

    Hollywood Juniper, Juniperus chinensis ‘Torulosa’: Poor, not very heat resistant, spiral upright growth

    Blue Chip Juniper, Juniperus horizontalis ‘Blue Chip’: Very good, low with some texture, nice bluish color

    Andorra Juniper, Juniperus horizontalis ‘Plumosa’: Too early to rate yet

    Blue Rug Juniper, Juniperus horizontalis ‘Wiltoni’: Very good, very low creeper, nice bluish color

    Youngstown Juniper, Juniperus horizontalis ‘Youngstown’: Too early to evaluate yet

    Greenmound Juniper, Juniperus procumbens ‘Greenmound’: Too early to evaluate yet

    Dwarf Procumbens Juniper, Juniperus procumbens ‘Nana’ : Too early to evaluate yet

    Broadmoor Juniper, Juniperus sabina ‘Broadmoor’: Good, medium sized spreader

    Tamarix Juniper, Juniperus procumbens ‘Tamariscifolia’: Too early to rate yet

    Table Top Juniper, Juniperus scopolorum ‘Table Top Blue’: Very good, medium size, nice bluish color

    Blue Star Juniper, Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’: Very good, light blue color, nice texture, medium size

    Eastern Redcedar, Juniperus virginiana : Very good, spreads by seed, great for birds

    Canaerti Redcedar (Juniper), Juniperus virginiana ‘Canaerti’: Very good, beautiful shape and texture, birds

    Japanese Kerria, Kerria japonica ‘Plentiflora’: Too early to evaluate yet

    Goldenraintree, Koelreuteria paniculata: Good, bright yellow flowers, interesting pods

    Willow-leaf Allspice, Lindera saliafolia: Good, fragrant, dark blue fruit eaten by waxwings and robins

    Amur Privet, Lingustrum amurense: Good, dark blue fruit, birds

    American Sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua: Good, interesting leaves and pods, variable fall color

    Tulip Tree, Liriodendron tulipifera: Slow, too early to evaluate yet

    Japanese Honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica: Too good, rampant spreading vine, hard to control

    Amur Honeysuckle, Lonicera maackii: Very good, spreads by seed, song birds, hummingbirds

    Arnold’s Red Honeysuckle, Lonicera tatarica ‘Arnold’s Red’: Good, bright red fruit, song birds, hummingbirds

    Amur Maackia, Maackii amurensis: Slow, too early to evaluate

    Osage Orange, Hedge Tree, Maclura pomifera: Very good, huge hard fruit, very thorny, squirrels

    White Shield Osage Orange, Maclura pomifera ‘White Shield’: Good, drought tolerant, fruitless & thornless variety

    Wichita Osage Orange, Maclura pomifera ‘Wichita’: Good, drought tolerant, fruitless & thornless variety

    Yulan Magnolia, Magnolia denudata: Good, fast, likes protection, no flowers yet

    Saucer Magnolia, Magnolia soulangiana: Good, beautiful flowers are often frost damaged

    Star Magnolia, Magnolia stellata: Good, shrub form, white flowers very early

    Donald Adams Crabapple, Malus ‘Donald Adams’: Very good, white flowers, red fruit, birds, squirrels

    Donald Wyman Crabapple, Malus ‘Donald Wyman’: Very good, white flowers, red fruit, birds, squirrels

    Elyi Crabapple, Malus ‘Elyii’: Poor, gets cedar-apple rust very badly

    Ingliss Crabapple, Malus ‘Ingliss’: Very good, white flowers, red fruit, birds, squirrels

    Prairie Fire Crabapple, Malus ‘Prairie Fire’: Very good, bright dark red flowers

    Profusion Crabapple, Malus ‘Profusion’: Very good, masses of pinkish flowers

    Radiant Crabapple, Malus ‘Radiant’: Very good, very showy dark pink flowers

    Spring Snow Crabapple, Malus ‘Spring Snow’: Very good, compact form, bright white flowers

    Sargent Crabapple, Malus sargentii: Very good, wide spreading form, bright white flowers

    Zumi Crabapple, Malus zumi calocarpa: Fair, some cedar-apple rust damage

    Moonseed Vine, Menispermum canadense: Good, interesting foliage, strange seeds

    Royal Medlar, Mespilus germanica ‘Royal’: Fair, slow, unusual (supposedly edible) fruit

    White Mulberry, Morus alba: Fair, light purple fruit, birds, mammals, box turtles

    Red Mulberry, Morus rubra: Fair, dark purple fruit, birds, mammals, box turtles

    Bayberry, Myrica pensylvanica: Very good, fragrant leaves, very heat tolerant

    Black Gum, Nyssa sylvatica: Good, slow, fiery red fall color, likes wet areas

    Persian Parrotia, Parrotia persica: Too early to evaluate, doing best in good soil location

    Virginia Creeper, Parthenocissus quiquefolia: Very good, tree climbing vine, red fall color, birds

    Boston Ivy, Parthenocissus tricuspidata: Very good, fast, climbs bricks, red fall color, birds

    Purple Boston Ivy, Parthenocissus tricuspidata ‘Purpurea’: Very good, large purple leaves, red fall color, birds

    Empress Tree, Paulownia tomentosa: Good, catalpa-like flowers, some winter damage

    Ninebark, Physocarpos opulofolius ‘Monlo’: Too early to evaluate yet

    Colorado Spruce, Picea pungens: Fair, slow, some summer heat damage, blue color

    Bird’s Nest Spruce, Picea abies ‘Nidiformis’: Fair, slow, low growing, some heat damage

    Japanese Red Pine, Pinus densiflora: Good, fast, open habit, some ice storm damage

    Tanyosho Pine, Pinus densifora umbaculifera: Very good, very ornamental, compact

    Pinyon Pine, Pinus edulis: Good, very slow, very heat resistant

    Austrian Pine, Pinus nigra: Very good (so far), fear of coming pine wilt disease

    Longleaf Pine, Pinus palustris: Good, very slow, seems drought tolerant

    Ponderosa Pine, Pinus ponderosa: Good, slow, not as attractive as some species

    Red Pine, Pinus resinosa: Good, slow, drought tolerant

    Southwestern White Pine, Pinus strobiformis: Very good, slow, soft needles, hardy, wilt resistant(?)

    Scotch Pine, Pinus sylvestris: Very good, beautiful bark and shape, most will die from pine wilt

    Loblolly Pine, Pinus taeda : Good, drought resistant, coming wilt problems(?)

    Eastern White Pine, Pinus strobus: Good in protected sites, soft needles, wilt(?)

    Chinese Pistache, Pistacia chinensis: Fair, beautiful fall colors, some severe winter damage

    Sycamore, Platanus occidentalis: Good, anthracnose problems in wet cold springs, birds

    London Planetree, Platanus x acerifolia: Good, medium fast

    Oriental Arborvitae, Platycladus orientalis: Poor, winter and summer damage, birds

    Silver Lace Vine, Polygonym aubertii: Too early to evaluate yet

    Hardy Orange, Poncirus trifoliata: Fair, very thorny, unusual green branches, weird fruit

    Eastern Cottonwood, Populus deltoides: Very good, very fast, bird and mammal dens

    Golfinger Potentilla, Potentilla fruticosa ‘Golfinger’: Too early to evaluate yet

    Cherry Prinsepia, Prinsepia sinensis: Too early to evaluate yet

    Wild Plum, Prunus americana: Good, pretty white flowers, birds, mammals

    Desert Peach, Prunus andersonii : Poor so far but a little early to properly evaluate

    Chickasaw Plum, Prunus angustifolia: Very good, our native plum, birds, mammals

    Western Sand Cherry, Prunus besseyi: Very good, small bush, pretty leaves, birds, mammals

    Ground Cherry, Prunus fruticosa: Fair, more of a ground cover

    European Bird Cherry, Prunus padus: Good, slow, pretty white flowers, birds

    Wild Black Cherry, Prunus serotina: Good, medium, big tree, birds, pretty bark

    Sloe, Prunus spinosa: Too early to evaluate yet, very good for wildlife

    Nanking Cherry, Prunus tomentosa: Very good, profuse flowers & fruit, bees, birds

    Choke Cherry, Prunus virginiana: Very good, spreads by suckers, birds

    Canada Red Cherry, Prunus virginiana ‘Schubert’: Very good, pretty red leaves, white flowers

    Beach Plum, Prunus maritima: Good, very slow, drought tolerant, no fruit yet

    Purple-leaved Sand Cherry, Prunus x cistena: Very good, dark red leaves, light pink flowers

    Douglas-Fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii: Fair, very slow, drought tolerant

    Stinking Ash, Ptelea trifoliata: Fair, very slow

    Chinese Wingnut, Pterocarya stenoptera: Very good, very fast, nice foliage, weird seed capsules

    Lowboy Pyracantha, Pyracantha coccinea ‘Lowboy’: Good, bright orange fruit, very thorny, birds

    Teton Pyracantha, Pyracantha coccinea ‘Teton’: Very good, large bush, orange fruit, birds

    Bradford Pear, Pyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’: Good, beautiful flowers and fall color, weak limbed

    Sawtooth Oak, Quercus acutissima: Very good, fast, interesting leaves, birds, mammals

    White Oak, Quercus alba: Very good, fast, dark red fall color, birds, mammals

    European Turkey Oak, Quercus cerris: Fair, slow, some heat stress, interesting leaves

    Scarlet Oak, Quercus coccinea: Good, medium, good fall color, birds, mammals

    Mountain Live Oak, Quercus fusiformis: Fair, unusual evergreen leaves, still very young

    Gambell Oak, Quercus gambellii: Too early to evaluate yet

    Shingle Oak, Quercus imbicaria: Very good, fast, interesting leaves, birds, mammals

    Bur Oak, Quercus macrocarpa: Very good, slow, drought tolerant, birds, mammals

    Blackjack Oak, Quercus marilandica: Good, very slow, nice fall color, birds, mammals

    Swamp Chestnut Oak, Quercus michauxii: Very good, medium, likes wet areas, birds, mammals

    Chinkapin Oak, Quercus muehlenbergii: Good, medium, nice fall color, birds, mammals

    Pin Oak, Quercus palustris: Good, good fall color, birds, mammals

    Chestnut Oak, Quercus prinus: Good, birds, mammals, nice foliage

    Post Oak, Quercus stellata: Good, slow, nice fall color, birds, mammals

    Swamp White Oak, Quercus bicolor: Very good, slow at first, two-toned leaves, wildlife

    Willow Oak, Quercus phellos: Very good, fast, birds, mammals, fall color

    English Oak, Quercus robur: Good, medium, birds, mammals

    Shumard Oak, Quercus shumardii: Very good, fast, great fall color, birds, mammals

    Common Buckthorn, Rhamnus cathartica: Good, fast, drought tolerant, birds

    Dahurian Buckthorn, Rhamnus davurica: Fair, slow

    Black Jet Bead, Rhodotypus scandens: Good, low growing, white flowers, black fruit, birds

    Fragrant Sumac, Rhus aromatica: Very good, strong aroma, butterflies, birds, fall color

    Shining Sumac, Rhus copallina: Fair, slow, fiery fall color

    Smooth Sumac, Rhus glabra: Very good, native, medium, spreads, fall color, birds

    Staghorn Sumac, Rhus typhina: Too good, spreads, short-lived, fall color, birds

    Grow-Low Sumac, Rhus aromatica ‘Grow Low’: Good, shorter and tamer than native fragrant sumac

    Skunkbush, Rhus trilobata: Poor, barely alive, can’t take heat or drought very well

    Gooseberry, Ribes missouriense: Good, medium, thorny, birds

    Golden Currant, Ribes odoratum: Very good, very fragrant, bees, butterflies, birds

    Bristly Locust, Robinia fertilis: Very good, spreads, fragrant flowers, bees

    Black Locust, Robinia pseudoacacia: Very good, fragrant flowers, weak limbs, bees

    Multiflora Rose, Rosa multiflora: Very good, fragrant flowers, spreads, bees, birds

    Peach-leaved Willow, Salix amygdaloides: Very good, large native, weak-limbed, for wet areas

    Coyote Willow, Salix exigua: Very good, small suckering habit, for erosion control

    Sandbar Willow, Salix interior: Very good, small suckering native, wet areas

    Black Willow, Salix nigra: Very good, large native, weak-limbed, wet areas

    American Elder, Sambucus canadensis: Good, large flower clusters, black fruit, birds

    Common Sassafrass, Sassafrass albidum: Good (surprisingly), slow, fragrant twigs, fall color

    Buffaloberry, Shepherdia argentea: Good, silvery leaves, red fruit, birds, mammals

    Eve’s Necklace, Sophora affinis: Too early to evaluate yet

    Japanese Pagodatree, Sophora japonica: Fair, very slow, pretty late summer flowers

    Ural False Spiraea, Sorbaria sorbifolia: Very good, fast, huge flower clusters, wet areas, bees

    Bridal Wreath Spiraea, Spiraea prunifolia: Very good, old fashioned, small profuse flowers, bees

    Vanhoutte Spiraea, Spiraea vanhouttei: Very good, braches covered with flowers, bees

    American Bladernut, Staphylla trifoliata: Very good, slow, small pretty flowers, unusual fruit

    Common Snowberry, Symphoricarpos albus: Very good, low growing, white fruit, birds

    Wolfberry, Symphoricarpos occidentalis: Very good, low growing, suckers, red fruit

    Inidancurrant Coralberry, Symphoricarpos orbiculatus: Very good, suckering, scrubby, red fruit

    Japanese Tree Lilac, Syringa reticulata: Fair, beautiful flower clusters, bees, butterflies

    Miss Kim Korean Lilac, Syringa patula ‘Miss Kim’: Good, small variety, unusual flowers, butterflies

    Common Lilac, Syringa vulgaris: Very good, old standby, butterflies

    Tamarix, Tamarix ramossisima: Fair, now declining, pretty pink flowers

    Baldcypress, Taxodium distichum: Very good, slow at first, “knees”, loves wet areas

    American Basswood, Tilia americana: Fair, slow, large leaves

    Littleleaf Linden, Tilia cordata: Good, slow, bees

    Greenspire Linden, Tilia cordata ‘Green Spire’: Too early to evaluate yet

    Poison Ivy, Toxicodendron radicans: Beautiful plant, valuable to wildlife, bad for humans

    American Elm, Ulmus americana: Dying out, only one large one left and a few seedlings

    Lacebark Elm, Ulmus parvifolia: Very good, beautiful leaves and bark, great shape

    Siberian Elm, Ulmus pumila: Poor, weak limbed, insect problems, etc., etc.

    Korean Spice Viburnum, Viburnum carlesii: Good, very fragrant flowers, butterflies

    Arrow-wood Viburnum, Viburnum dentatum: Good, scrubby appearance, birds

    Wayfaring Tree Viburnum, Viburnum lantana: Good, drought and rabbit resistant, birds

    Nannyberry, Viburnum lentago: Good, fragrant flowers, butterflies, birds

    Compact Cranberrybush, Viburnum opulus ‘Compactum’: Fair, small, fruitless, usually flowerless

    Snowflake Viburnum, Viburnum plicatum ‘Snowflake’: Too early to evaluate yet

    Blackhaw, Viburnum prunifolium: Good, very slow, pretty flowers, fruit, birds

    Alleghany Viburnum, Viburnum rhytidophylloides ‘Alleghany’: Good, medium, flowers, fruit, butterflies, birds, bees

    Willow-wood Viburnum, Viburnum rhytidophylloides ‘Willow-wood’: Good, medium, flowers, fruit, butterflies, birds, bees

    Leatherleaf Viburnum, Viburnum rhytidophyllum: Good, medium, flowers, fruit, butterflies, birds, bees

    Rusty Blackhaw, Viburnum rufidulum: Too early to evaluate yet

    Sawtooth Viburnum, Viburnum tomentosum: Too early to evaluate yet

    Highbush Cranberry, Viburnum trilobum: Very good, flower clusters, bright red fruit, birds

    Burkwood Viburnum, Viburnum x burkwoodii: Good, medium, flowers, fruit, butterflies, birds, bees

    Riverbank Grape, Vitis riparia: Very good, climbing vine, birds, mammals

    Goldenhorn Tree, Xanthoceras sorbifolia: Too early to evaluate yet

    Zelkova, Zelkova serrata: Very good, beautiful trunk and shape

Dillon Nature Center

School and Group Programs

Download our brochures to learn more about the various programs Dillon Nature Center offers. If you have questions or would like more information about our programs, please contact us by calling (620) 663-7411. We look forward to hearing from you!

Photography Policy

Dillon Nature Center provides a great location for a photo shoot. We have many scenic locations that make a perfect background for a session. We welcome the opportunity to host photographers and their clients and enjoy watching happy families, teens and wedding parties as they prepare for their sessions.

To maximize enjoyment and use by all of our guests, we have developed a formal photography policy. The DNC photography policy includes a list of common sense guidelines that we will ask you to follow while taking photographs here.  Professional photographers who visit DNC for commercial use are required to purchase a $50 annual Photography Membership or a $20 photography day pass. Please click the link below for the details and benefits of a DNC photography membership. We invest substantial funding and effort each year to ensure that this beautiful natural space is well maintained. Photography memberships and day passes directly supports this effort.

Photography Policy

Ways to Give

Become A Member

While Dillon Nature Center does receive tax support and administrative services through Hutchinson Recreation Commission, a large percentage of its operations and almost all of its capital improvements are funded through other sources.

Call (620) 663-7411 about membership information.

Download our membership form here: Membership Form 


Dillon Nature Center


Kansas has a great diversity of habitats, wildflowers, wildlife, and interesting and historic places to visit. The links listed below should help you discover more about the natural wonders of Kansas.

Dillon Nature Center

Volunteer Opportunities

Our volunteers help with almost every aspect of the Nature Center’s operations.

  • Horticulture Green Team
    Description & Apply:

    There are several different teams of this horticultural help. One team is made up of those that help with the transplanting and care of seedlings. Most of this work can be done sitting down, but does require some manual dexterity to handle the seedlings. The next team is made up of those that help with the planting of the gardens. These people must be able to work outside and be able to get down to ground level to do the planting. The next team is involved with watering and weeding the flowerbeds once they are planted. The last team is made up of those people that want to receive more in-depth training in the care of perennial flowerbeds. These volunteers will be required to provide a minimum number of volunteer work hours to receive this special training.

    Apply Online:

    Please fill out the volunteer application to inquire about opportunity.

    Apply Now
  • School Program Leaders
    Description & Apply:

    About 25,000 school children receive the Nature Center’s programs every year due to the dedication of our volunteers working under the supervision of our Chief Naturalist. These volunteers receive extensive training and do an apprenticeship before actually leading any school programs. Most of the programming is done for elementary grade students. Some volunteers work with only certain grade levels, while others work with all ages of students.

    Apply Online:

    Please fill out the volunteer application to inquire about opportunity.

    Apply Now
  • Office Helpers
    Description & Apply:

    Some volunteers mainly help with various clerical duties, such as assembling mailings, putting together packets, etc. Some help watch over the gift shop, greet visitors, etc. All of them help perform important tasks and save the Nature Center staff a great deal of time.

    Apply Online:

    Please fill out the volunteer application to inquire about opportunity.

    Apply Now
  • Construction, Carpentry and Other Work
    Description & Apply:

    Volunteers have built cabinets, observation beehives, done repairs, and lot of other things for the Nature Center. If you think you have a skill that would benefit the Nature Center, please give us a call at 663-7411 or apply online.

    Apply Online:

    Please fill out the volunteer application to inquire about opportunity.

    Apply Now

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Dillon Nature Center

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is there an admission fee to DNC?

    No, but donations are always appreciated. There is a charge for most programs and events.

  • Can you rent DNC for events?

    Yes. The Visitor Center meeting room and the Taylors’ Shady Lane Cabin can be rented for certain activities. You can also reserve some of our outdoor areas for weddings. Contact DNC at 663-7411 for more information or to make a reservation.

  • Can we have a picnic at DNC?

    Yes, family or other groups of 15 or less are fine on a first come first served basis. At the present time, larger group picnics are not allowed unless the group is having a scheduled program at the nature center (e.g. school classes).

  • Can we have a cookout at DNC?

    No. Fires of all kinds, including all grills, are not allowed.

  • Is a fishing license required at DNC?

    Yes, the same rules apply as any other place in the state. Those under 16 and over 65 can fish without a license. Other rules are posted around the pond and must be obeyed.

  • What types of fish are in the ponds?

    Fishing is only permitted in the upper pond. It is stocked monthly with catfish in the spring and summer and trout in the fall and winter. Bass, crappie, bluegill, and a few other species are also in the pond.

  • Do you need a special permit to fish for trout at the nature center?

    Yes. Everyone regardless of age must have a special state trout permit or stamp to fish for trout here. They can usually be purchased at any place that sells fishing licenses.

  • Can I collect mushrooms or butterflies at the nature center?

    No. All natural items and animals such as flowers, leaves, fruit, mushrooms, nuts, snakes, butterflies, frogs, lizards, etc. are protected at the nature center and must not be collected.

  • How many miles of trails are at DNC?

    There are about three miles of trails total at the nature center. Of that total amount, about ¼ mile is paved with concrete for wheelchair use. Most of the trails are fairly level and easy to walk.

  • Can I ride my bike on the trails?

    No. At the present time the trails are strictly for foot traffic or wheelchairs. Skate boards, other skates, bikes, vehicles of any kind, and horses are not allowed on the trails.

  • How big is the Nature Center?

    There are about 33 acres that are actually owned by the City for the nature center. The nature center also manages about 70 other acres of prairie and woodland habitat that are owned by Westar Energy and Southern Pacific Railroad.

  • Where did the “Dillon” name come from?

    28 acres of this site belonged to Dillon Stores, Inc. (a locally owned food store chain) for their employees to use for recreation such as swimming and picnics. It was commonly called Dillon’s Lake in those days. In 1970 the land was given to the City of Hutchinson for public recreation and outdoor education use.

  • How do I become a Dillon Nature Center Member?

    Dillon Nature Center Memberships may be purchased at the Nature Center. For additional information contact Dillon Nature Center at (620) 663-7411.

  • What are the benefits for Dillon Nature Center Members?

    Members provide annual financial support to the Nature Center through donations of various sizes. These donors then receive discounts on programs, rentals and in the gift shop. You don’t have to be a member to visit the Nature Center.

  • Can I volunteer at DNC?

    Yes. Volunteers are vital to the Nature Center’s operations. They help with school and other programs, gardening, outdoor maintenance, clerical work, carpentry projects, and many other things.  Call us if you would like to volunteer at 663-7411. You can also check out the Volunteer link on the home page.

  • Can I bring my group out for a program?

    Yes, but you must have a reservation as space is limited. Some program times are booked several months in advance. For a complete list of available programs contact Stephanie Carlson, Education Coordinator at (620) 663-7411.

  • Are the ponds natural?

    No. Dillon Stores built them over 50 years ago for its recreation area. They are fed by spring water that is collected along the neighboring railroad tracks and then flows through a system of pipes into these ponds. The flow has never yet stopped completely even in the driest years.

  • Can I walk my dog at DNC?

    Yes, if it is kept on leash and under control at all times. Please clean up any messes left on the trails by your pet.