Outside, the first structure you come to is a large oval-shaped structure called the Butterfly House.
Newport Beach Environmental Nature Center (NEC)
I was given a tour of the Newport Beach Environmental Nature Center (NEC) by Robert House, the founder of this facility, which was built in the 1980's and is a non-profit publicbenefit corporation 501(c)3. The building itself is 8,500 square feet with native gardens on 3.5 acres natural setting. It has an LEED Platinum Certificate, which means it is certified as environmentally friendly.
When you enter, the interior is spacious and filled with educational displays and retail products.
The center itself rents out the LEED Platinum Building with its huge rooms, and which include a museum, classrooms, tables and chairs (100 available), deck, overfhead string lights, fire pit area, full size kitchen and native gardens for Weddings, receptions, parties of all kinds, rehearsal dinners, fndraisers and meetings. Prices range from $200 to $5,500. They informed me that they host about a dozen weddings each year (they provide the facility only), which brings in a good amount of money between 3,500 and $5,500 each wedding.
They will be opening a Nature Pre-Kindergarden School in the adjacent lot in a few years.
The two mile trail in the back was planned and planted by the organization from a dirt field and is designed to take you through the various landscapes that exists throughout California; ie., Desert, Redwood Forest, Chaparral, Coastal Sage Scurb, Valley Grasslands, etc. The trail itself is dotted with park benches and clearings, and many of the wooden supported steps were installed by local Boy Scouts.
The NEC offers a wide variety of environmental classes ranging in price from $5.50 to $9..0 per student and is geared toward Pre-K,K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd,4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Graders. they accommodate school field trips, traveling naturalist programs, nature camps, scout programs, community programs and events, birthday parties, and more for the children. These educational classes are how they earn most of their funds. They also accept donations, and a yearly membership is available.