Interpretative Center

The Interpretive Center is the first stop on the Shipley Nature Center visit. A docent is available to answer questions and direct visitors to trails and sights of particular seasonal interest for an enjoyable visit.

Recently the diorama had a refresh where the taxidermy were cleaned and the surface where they are displayed were brightened.

Entering the Interpretive building, you will find the Shipley Gift Shop. Animal finger puppets, books on gardening with California Native Plants and composting, garden gifts, nature guides, greeting cards and many other nature gift ideas are available.

We also feature The Mystery of Blackbird Pond, a book all about the animals who call Shipley’s own Blackbird Pond home.

Along the wall, exhibit panels illustrate the history from the Ice Age to present giving visitors a visual sense of Huntington Beach then and now. The diorama reaches out from the Blackbird Pond mural showing birds and animals that may be sighted along the trails.


Bird Detective Display

Characteristics, behavior, and presence of birds at Shipley Nature Center are the focus of the Bird Detective station. Working at this “hands on” station provides information and tips to guide inquiry and take a closer look.

The display’s theme is shown on three interpretative panels mounted on the wall. Characteristics of birds that make each unique (hollow bones, air sacs, wings, feathers) and for most, the capacity to fly. Some of Shipley Nature Center’s common resident and migratory birds. And the citizen science programs, such as eBird, where the results of the monthly bird surveys are posted.

The interactive learning begins with flipbooks, fliplids, and field guides. Visitors can use the binoculars to observe and identify birds. The Sibley eGuide to Birds of North America is open on the iPad to locate photos and detailed information about particular bird species.

Structural adaptions of birds are fun to match. One flipbook provides a written description of the notable behavior and field markings, and second flipbook explores the role of beaks, feet, feathers, and eye socket position in the skull.

bird-detective-for-website-2Fliplid questions correspond to a boxes containing one or more replica’s of or actual natural objects. Each box of “biofacts” contains feathers, skull, bones, and resin track casts. After talking among themselves, they lift each lid to reveal the answer. Then more closely exam those items using a magnifying glass to:

  • study how feathers zip together and their interlocking barbules;
  • compare the skull structure of three birds,
  • observe the hollow structure of bird bones, and
  • understand the varying roles of bird feet.

The concept of “citizen science” invites visitors to record their observations about the birds they see. By doing this, they contribute important information to a central database that is analyzed by trained biologists.

iNaturalist is open on the iPad to help with identifications, and access data collected by other users. You can log in to iNatuarlist using your own computer, or smartphone to record your observations, and share information.