Nature Center

The Eaton Canyon Nature Center was reopened in November of 1998, replacing the old one which burned in the Altadena fire of October 27, 1993. The 7,600 square-foot building contains many fascinating displays, live animals, offices, classrooms, an auditorium, restrooms, and an information desk/gift shop.

Sign by the Parking Lot

It’s easy to find the entrance to the Nature Center. Just follow the arrow on the sign located near the middle of the parking lot.

The Nature Center Building

Please stop in and see what the Eaton Canyon Nature Center has to offer. Opened in November of 1998, it houses a wonderful variety of live animals, exciting displays, and fascinating information.

Visitor Information & Gift Shop

Please stop in at the information desk with your questions about Eaton Canyon. You can purchase shirts, hats, pencils, post cards, rock samples, buttons, books, magnifying glasses, book marks, hand and finger puppets, hummingbird feeders, and much, much more.

Live Animal Displays

We have many live animals on display in the terrariums along the wall. These live educational animals are non-releasable (an animal that is unable to care for itself and therefore cannot survive in their natural habitat). This may be due to an injury/injuries, behavioral issues such as those raised and rejected as pets (imprinted), or those donated by someone who could no longer care for them. Here at the nature center, they are given a second chance by acting as animal ambassadors and educating the public while living out their natural lives.

Exhibit of Wildlife in the Canyon

The possum and the raccoon aren’t too hard to spot, but can you find the bat? It’s a little difficult because of the clarity of the photo, so you may have to come in for a better view.

For the Young and Young at Heart

As they say in a famous Christmas song, “kids from one to ninety-two” can enjoy this section. Reach your hand into one of the holes and see if you can tell what you’re touching. Go ahead – we wouldn’t put anything in there that could hurt you.

Learn About Bones and Rocks

Ahead and to the left as you enter the Nature Center, you’ll find animal bones, plaster casts of animal tracks, and a mounted bobcat. In the case to the right are rock and mineral samples collected from Eaton Canyon. 

Poisonous & Venomous

In this case we have organisms which are either poisonous or venomous. Here we see poison oak (upper left), wild cucumber (balls with spikes at top center), castor bean (large leaves at upper right), stinging nettle (lower left), and a pacific rattlesnake.

What’s the difference between poisonous and venomous? These plants are poisonous because they spread their poison either by contact with the skin, like poison oak and stinging nettle, or by ingestion (swallowing), as in the case of all four. The rattlesnake is venomous because its toxin must enter the bloodstream, usually by injection with its fangs. Simply touching rattlesnake venom will not harm you unless it can enter your body through a break in the skin, such as a cut.

Birds and More …

There are many animals in this case, including a mallard, a great horned owl, California quail, squirrels, and hummingbirds. See what our fine feathered friends look like up close, because they usually won’t hold still long enough or let you get near them in the wild.

An Interesting Display Case

It looks as though our display case is being guarded by a great horned owl (left) and a red-tailed hawk (right), but don’t be afraid. Inside you’ll find many items of interest, including a large beetle, mounted insects, booklets, and a photo and information on bird banding (attaching bands to their legs, which does not harm the birds and allows them to be monitored for their safety and preservation).