Planning Your Visit to Dahlem
- Dahlem’s trails are free and open daily from sunrise to sunset. However, donations and memberships help keep our doors open so we can provide educational programs and services to school groups as well as the public.
- The offices, Nutshell Giftshop, and Exhibit Room are open Tuesday – Friday, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM. Closed Saturday – Monday.
Dahlem welcomes people from all walks of life.
- Nature for All Trail – this 3/8 mile special paved trail was installed to provide outdoor experiences for visitors with limited mobility. This includes people with disabilities, seniors with walkers, young families with strollers. Several benches along the way provide resting spots with pleasant views, and interpretive signage engages all your senses as you participate in a sensory safari along the way.
- The Children’s Garden, The Geology Garden, The Sensory Garden, The Native Plant Gardens – Dahlem’s entry way and visitor center are surrounded by several gardens that enhance your visit. The Children’s Garden is maintained by the Jackson County Master Gardeners and is a tribute to Natalie Emmons, who loved nature and passed away while she was still very young. The Geology Garden is full of large rocks that delight children and adults alike. The Sensory Garden engages your sense of touch, smell and sight and you interact with many of the plants. And gardeners who want to do more to help local wildlife can see the variety of native plants in the Native Plant Gardens (around the office building and classrooms) that can enhance any garden and landscape.
- The Nature Playscape was built to help families new to nature get a taste of what playing in the woods can be like while at the same time being a little bit safer. Our climbing tree, the giant boulders, the hollow logs, and wobbly bridge are just a few of the elements that make the playscape a favorite with children and adults alike.
- Photographers and Nature Enthusiasts enjoy walking along our five-plus miles of trails, which take visitors through oak-hickory woods and grasslands, over streams and by ponds and fens. Our efforts to reclaim abandoned farmland and re-establish native habitats has resulted in a resurgence of native wildflowers, insects, and birds.
- Solace and Peace can be found while walking the trails. Visitors who are working through grief or PTSD have commented that the serenity of our trails has been a welcome balm and an important part of their healing journey.
Please Respect Our Rules
In order to provide a quality experience to the greatest number of people, we ask that you adhere to the following set of rules.
- Dogs and other pets are not allowed on the property, with one exception. We are currently allowing dogs only on the Butterfly Trail over at the Ecology Farm (please keep your dog(s) on a leash and clean up after them). Otherwise, dogs can be walked at MacCready Reserve on Skiff Lake Road, at Ella Sharp Park in Jackson, and along the Falling Waters Trail in Jackson.
- Bicycles and horses are not allowed on the property. Our trails were only designed for foot traffic. Jackson’s Falling Waters Trail and the Martin Luther King Jr. Trail are ideal for cycling, and the Waterloo Recreational Area has many horse trails.
- Take only photographs and memories; leave only footprints. In other words, please do not collect plants, wildlife or fungi, and if you eat or drink while on your visit, take your trash out with you. Also, please do not leave carvings on our trees, benches, bridges or boardwalks.
- The following are prohibited for safety’s sake: firearms, archery, weapons of any kind; smoking, alcohol, illegal drugs; release of wildlife or unwanted pets; camping or fires of any kind.
Please enjoy your visit. If you have any questions before you come out, give us a call: 517-782-3453. We hope to see you soon.