Snowshoe Swaner Preserve and Eco Center
The Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter is a 1,200 acre nature Preserve and a 10,000 square foot LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum building with interactive exhibits about the surrounding environment. They offer weekly nature tours, wildlife viewing opportunities, summer camps, environmental education for children and adults, evening lecture series, a gift shop with local and ecofriendly art.
This place is legit, like I want to be your friend Swaner's!
Swaner Preserve's mission is to preserve the land, educate the community, and nurture both the ecosystem and the people connected to it. They are open Friday - Sunday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. There's no parking directly in front of the preserve, however parking is nearby and was free. We visited the Eco Center to learn about wetlands through their Water Ways activity a traveling Smithsonian exhibit and water activity which involved snowshoeing on the trail. This family fun activity is going on through March 2021. This experience was free. If you are able, a five dollar per person donation is suggested.
When we first arrived we went straight up to the observation deck. The view of the preserve was lovely and you could see the mountains surrounding in all directions. It was fun to just walk around the building and read the information everywhere on building materials, how they collect the water, generate heat and more. At the Swaner Preserve 90% of the water used they collect themselves.
The Smithsonian Exhibit was beautiful and fun and interactive for the kids. Of course masks are required and hand sanitizer was available throughout. It was not crowded and staff was actively wiping everything down as we explored. They even have a rock climbing wall for kids in here. (not currently open). The exhibit DIVES into water ------ (dad joke) by exploring ways we are connected to it environmentally, culturally, and historically.
When we were done exploring the exhibit we headed to the front to pick up our snowshoes. They also gave us a bag containing our science which contained items like a shovel, temperature gauge, magnifying glass, water vials, paint brush, rulers etc. The kit also contained several pages of instructions for different experiments we were going to conduct out on the preserve. There are ten miles to explore however we pretty much plopped down right inside the gate. Insider tip if you are attempting to snowshoe with a little one like my Knox. Wait to put the snowshoes on until you get to the gate to enter the preserve. It is a beautiful half mile walk on a snow covered trail before you get to the gate. You could even save little legs by using a stroller until you get to the gate.
This is such a cute winter retreat for families. We give it 5 stars for sure. If you are in Park City, Utah and looking for some winter family fun this should absolutely be on your list. We loveloved this sun-shiney day! Bonus - we went right around the corner to Hearth and Hill for a late lunch. The food here appealed to all the diverse preferences in our family and was super yummy. The atmosphere was cute and casual enough I felt okay with my toddler. We loveloved the hot spiced cider and the hummus plate.