The Madrona Marsh Nature Center is found across from the Preserve at 3201 Plaza del Amo in Torrance, California.
The Nature Center offers age-appropriate recreational and educational programs to the public such as docent-led classes, classroom laboratories, special lectures or events, and our exhibits are used to educate the public about this unique habitat.
At the Nature Center, you can discover more about Madrona Marsh, other wetlands, and the animals, plants, and insects of the marsh and how they all work together. The Nature Center houses several live animal exhibits including snakes, turtles, and other animals on a rotating basis. Our Exhibit Hall, shaded atrium displays, and “Walk through Time” murals tell the history and transformations of the region from pre-historic times to the present day. Look for our hands-on plant, insect, and animal displays throughout the Nature Center. Art exhibits by local artists are proudly displayed in a dedicated area.
Worthy of special note is our large mural in the classroom. Award-winning artist and volunteer Estelle DeRidder leads this on-going collaborative project. The mural is designed the “bring the outside in” and depicts the detailed interdependence of all the plant, insect, and animal life that call Madrona Marsh their home. We welcome discussion from the public on how we can make the mural a better project.
The Metropolitan Water District provided funding to surround three sides of the Nature Center building with a waterwise Native Garden that offers myriad ideas to gardeners exploring the use of locally native plants instead of traditional turf and shrubs.
The 8,000 square foot Nature Center includes a reception area, exhibit hall, classroom, project lab, curation lab, restrooms, gift shop, staff offices, administrative area, volunteer room, and storage rooms. The Center is handicap-accessible and has a large parking area with a small area with picnic tables. All the grass lawns are shaded by mature native California Sycamore trees.
The Nature Center opened on Saturday, April 28, 2001, and a community’s dream came to fruition - thirty years after grassroots efforts first started to create the Preserve. The project planning for what is now known as Madrona Marsh began in 1984 and the groundbreaking ceremony was in November 1999. The architecture firm Bryant Palmer Soto designed the Nature Center.
The $1.8 million project, including $200,000 for exhibits, was a joint venture of the Friends of the Madrona Marsh and the City of Torrance, using funds from Proposition A, which passed in 1996, and the Los Angeles County Safe Neighborhood Parks Acts of 1992. An additional $95,000 from the Parks and Recreation Department paid for the cost of furniture, supplies and equipment.