Capitol Reef National Park   |  Angie Payne

Ripple Rock Nature Center

If your family is yearning for creatively displayed information and fun educational activities to learn about the natural world at Capitol Reef National Park and the surrounding areas, then Ripple Rock Nature Center on the Capitol Reef Scenic Drive, is your kind of place. (It’s $10/car to access the drive behind the Capitol Reef Visitor Center.)

Housed in a small two-room building that was initially built to be an artist studio some decades ago, the Ripple Rock Nature Center was founded in 1999. Since its inception, countless junior explorers and naturalists-to-be have learned from the center’s interactive and educational programs about Capitol Reef National Park.

This park protects the Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile long upthrust that is one of the most spectacular of its kind in North America. Within the park, you’ll find Native American petroglyphs, dinosaur tracks, slot canyons, impressive domes, arches, and monoliths. The park is approximately 378 square miles, and sees 750,000 visitors annually. At this unsung hero of the national park system, opportunity abounds for exploration, inspiration, and education.

As such, it was a no brainer to create a facility like Ripple Rock Nature Center. This place is full of educational activities catered to how kids learn and play. Your kids will dig into displays about dinosaur fossils, play pioneer games, spin wool, pretend to milk a cow, make cornmeal on a prehistoric grinding stone, identify fossils, and play with animal puppets.

Kids and adults will also enjoy learning about the ancient and modern cultures of the area, and thoroughly absorb the nature that is so abundant in this pristine park. Kids can even make plaster casts of their favorite animal footprints — for free, and participate in a scavenger hunt, so they’ll have a great time while they’re learning.

The nature center is open seasonally, Memorial Day to Labor Day. It’s located on a scenic drive, .75-mile south of the Capitol Reef National Park Visitor Center in the former pioneer settlement of Fruita.

After you’ve explored Ripple Rock Nature Center, make sure you head over to the Gifford House for a homemade pie or two, and relax in the nearby picnic area, where you’ll likely spot deer munching on grass and apples.

Address and GPS Coordinates:

Ripple Rock Nature Center
281 Scenic Dr, Torrey, UT 84775
38.286964, -111.248720
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