The Dana Point Nature Interpretive Center (NIC) opened its doors on Earth Day in 2010. The NIC educates anyone who walks through the doors on why natural open spaces are so important. More than 20 volunteer docents help run the facility and greet visitors from around the world who come to learn about the natural, historical, and biological significance of the Dana Point Headlands Conservation Area. The new Kids Zone within the NIC gives a glimpse at several taxidermy creatures and a live king snake, different animal tracks, and predator/prey relationships, and children can win a nature prize if they find a particular specimen within the NIC. Visitors can also rent a pair of binoculars to take with them on the trails that were generously donated by the Docent-run Friends of the Dana Point Headlands 501(c)3 a non-profit.
The Center is now open to the public (10 am – 4 pm, everyday except closed on Mondays), new and rotating exhibits will be continually added to the facility to make this destination an area where the public can come to get a greater understanding of natural resources in the City of Dana Point. The Center will also act as the office and management headquarters for both the City’s parks and the non-profit Center for Natural Land Management that oversees the adjacent Dana Point Preserve.