City of Alexandria, VA
Jerome "Buddie" Ford Nature Center
5750 Sanger Ave.
Director: Mark S. Kelly, Naturalist
Visit Alexandria’s very own Nature Center! At the Nature Center, you can see live animals up close and learn about the cultural and natural history of Dora Kelley Nature Park. The Naturalists on staff are here to help you and your family explore and enjoy Alexandria’s wild side! The Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center provides year-round programs and exhibits on Alexandria’s human and natural history. For more information, or to make program reservations, please call the Nature Center at 703.746.5525.
Dora Kelley Nature Park
Just outside the Nature Center lies Dora Kelley Nature Park, a 50-acre wildlife sanctuary with a one-mile long nature trail that meanders along streams, wooded hills, and freshwater marshland. Naturalist-led tours of the park are available upon request for groups of eight or more (reservations required). A self-guided booklet, available at the Nature Center, interprets the natural features of the park using numbered signposts along the trail. A paved bike trail connecting Sanger Ave. and Van Dorn St. winds through the park which is ADA accessible.
Girl Scouts & Boy Scouts
Bring your troop to earn a badge, patch, bead, challenge, or “try-it” at the nature center. We will provide the learning activities, program materials, and set a time to suit your troop’s schedule (you provide the badge, patch, etc.) $30 per troop for up to 15 children ($2 fro each additional child). Please call 703.746.5559 to reserve.
Teachers are encouraged to set up a field trip to the newly expanded Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center this school year, or let one of our Naturalist staff come to your school for an outreach program! Interpretive programs are designed to assist teachers in meeting Virginia’s SOL requirements. Please call 703.746.5525 for more information.
A variety of volunteer opportunities are available through the Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center for ages 16 and above. Positions include front desk attendant, park conservation aide, and park watch assistant. Volunteer opportunities for individuals or groups in outdoor conservation and trail maintenance are also available from 10am-12pm on the first Saturday of each month. Sign-up for volunteer training or to dchedule community service by calling 703.746.5525.
The Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center now offers birthday parties for ages 4 to 12. Each 90 minute birthday party features live animals, a nature-oriented activity, and use of a private room. Fee (residents): $165 for a party of up to 12 children. To secure a party date, prior registration and payment are required. For booking information and forms, please call 703.746.5525.
The Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center’s activity room is available for use and rental by community groups and organizations. Please call 703.746.5525 for more information.
Good News! The Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center’s quarterly “Nature News” has gone digital. Now, you can learn about nature programming and special events free of charge. Upcoming weekend nature programs, volunteer opportunities, adult hikes, and special events are listed with direct links to the City’s registration webpage. In addition, the new and improved newsletter features informative articles and photo features depicting the latest information on the flora and fauna Dora Kelley Nature Park.
All classes are held at the Jerome “Buddie” Ford Nature Center (BUDEF) unless otherwise noted. To view and register for Jerome "Buddie" Ford Nature Center classes and activities on line, CLICK HERE and search on Nature Programs in the Activity Type. For additional information, call the Jerome "Buddie" Ford Nature Center staff at 703.746.5525.