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MK Nature Center: from dirt lot to community gem

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Along the Boise River near Downtown, almost five acres of wildlife habitat are on full display to the public.

The Morrison Knudsen Nature Center, or MK Nature Center, is home to dozens of animals and bird species and offers a unique wildlife experience for visitors.

The 4.6-acre site behind the Idaho Fish and Game Headquarters on Walnut St. was once a dirt lot overgrown with weeds. Fish and Game biologists and engineers decided to turn the area into an animal habitat that people could visit and opened the MK Nature Center in 1990. Unlike a zoo, the animals here are not confined to the property.

“That’s what the nature center is all about, wildlife habitat,” explains Sara Focht with Idaho Fish and Game. “The animals here are not in enclosures, they are wild, and they come and go as they please.”

To attract animals, the center provides a food source, water, shelter, and space. Beavers, ducks, minks, deer, sturgeon, and songbirds are just a few of the wide variety of animals that inhabit the area. The MK Natures Center features a network of paths, bridges, and underwater windows so visitors can get the best views of the wildlife. Guests can also check out the butterfly gardens, and visitor center, and enroll in educational programs to learn more about the riparian habitat.

The MK Nature Center is free to the public and is open seven days a week from dusk until dawn.

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Gretchen Parsons - BoiseDev Managing Editor
Gretchen Parsons - BoiseDev Managing Editor
Gretchen Parsons is BoiseDev's managing editor. Contact her at [email protected].

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