​​​Idyllwild Nature Center

This is the first part of a series of five reports on Nature Centers within driving distance of the City of Menifee to compare their features and attributes.

The Idyllwild Nature Center building itself is about 3,000 square feet, quite roomy, and has impressive displays - both of the native wildlife and also ancient Indian cultural artifacts.  The original center is about 2209 square feet, but an auditorium was added a few years later which added about 1,000 square feet.   

The trails are lacking in definition.  You almost couldn't tell where they were.  Also the parking lot was too small.  

This center gets about 20,000 visitors per year.

Educational Programs

This center strives to accommodate all kinds of educational programs for the local children (public schools, boy scouts, girl scouts, church groups, little league baseball teams, home-schooled kids, etc.  Some of these are listed below:

1.  Junior Naturalist Programs  - fun, educational programs on a variety of topics - are available for kids ages 6-12 in June, July and August.  For local school field trips, there is a charge of $5 per kid and $4 for a chaperon. Participants (students) who help put this on (set up the food, lead the hikes, teach nature-related crafts, etc.) receive $200 from Friends of the San Jacinto Mountain County Parks.

Schedule of this year's Junior Naturalist Program includes:

     Geology, History of Idyllwild, Plants and Pollinators,

     Birds and Birdwatching, Fire:  the Good, Bad and the Ugly.

2.  During the last Lemon Lily Festival, the center raised $4,000 with about 1200 people attending.  See description below.

3.  The gift store is run by a non-profit, so the monies go back to the center.

4.  To visit the center, there is a $4 charge for adults, $3 for kids and $1 for dogs for a daily pass.

4.  There is a large room in the back which the center rents out for $50/hour and can hold about 150 people.  Chairs and tables are available.  They handle all kinds of parties - everything except weddings - the County does not allow them to, as they wish to have people hold weddings elsewhere.

5.  Some of their special events are as follows:

      a. Star-Gazing Programs - in July and August (telescopes, constellation tours and Star Stories old and new, all ages.  These are held at the Idyllwild County Park Campground)

       b. Wildflower and Art Festival - in May (volunteers pick native plants nearby, and have talks and photography on plants)

       c. Butterfly Daze- in August (monarch butterflies are released into an enclosure, and people can feed them inside with pieces of watermellon)

       d. Trail of the Acorn - in October (Indian day)

       e. Wolves of Project Wildsong - in July (non-profit rescues for wolves, talk about wolves and wolves are brought in)

       f. Labor Day Weekend Family Fun Day ( - this year 2016 - snake talk, wasp talk, crafts for kids)

       g. Lemon Lily Festival - in July (Live Music - Nature Hikes - Food - Pioneer Town - free Shuttle from Town - Guest Speakers - Pony Rides - Local Artisans - Children's Crafts and Activities - Stargazing Kick-Off on Friday Evening)

Location:   25225 Highway 243 

                Idyllwild CA 92549


For reservations, go to:  www.rivcoparks.org

or call: 1800-234-PARK (7275) Monday - Thursday, 8 am to 5 pm

The County of Riverside and the Friends of the San Jacinto Mountain County Park run the Nature Center jointly.  

Amanda Allen who works at the center visits local schools to give on-hand presentations.  Other presenters include:  Bill Hayes (snake guy) 

Caren Hanson

June 2016