The Southeast Kansas Nature Center, in Galena, Kansas, sits on a hilltop in Schermerhorn Park overlooking Shoal Creek, and offers something for everyone. Explore the extensive network of nature trails, and be sure to visit Schermerhorn Cave.
Schermerhorn Park and Southeast Kansas Nature Center in Galena, Kansas traces its founding to the 1922 donation of land on Shoal Creek for a city park. In the 1930s and '40s the Works Progressive Administration (WPA) built Schermerhorn Park's stone terracing, walls and other structures.
The park is part of the 55 square mile section of the "Ozarks of Kansas" formed by the geologic feature, the Ozark Plateau, that is in the very southeast corner of Kansas. This region with its caves, sinking streams, and sinkholes is made of Mississippian limestone which was deposited over 300 million years ago. The hillsides are covered with hardwood forest dominated by oaks and hickories.
Many species of wildlife on the state endangered and threatened species list are found in this area. Sharp-eyed visitors can spot many species of birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians, and fish not found west of the Ozark Plateau.
Schermerhorn Cave and the spring that flows from it are the home to grotto salamanders, dark-sided salamanders, cave salamanders, and the graybelly salamander. Rare species of mussels, such as Neosho Mucket and Rabbitsfoot can be found in the adjacent Spring River.
Although Schermerhorn cave is nearly a 1/2 mile long, the entrance is blocked with a steel gate to protect the habitat. Only the twilight zone of the cave can be seen from a platform at its entrance.
Inside the Southeast Kansas Nature Center located in the park, there are exploration drawers with hands-on materials, bird viewing, nature and history films, native animal and plant exhibits, a large collection of Native American artifacts and live insects and reptiles.
Southeast Kansas Nature Center also has an old Scout cabin. It has animal and plant exhibits, exploration drawers, and displays which help visitors enjoy the adjoining park grounds, trails, cave and creek.
Galena is an anchor point for the Kansas Historic Route 66 Byway.
3501 South Main Street
Galena, KS 66739
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