Huntington Beach


Huntington Beach

Shipley Nature Center Spring Festival


Shipley Nature Center Spring Festival Participating Vendors and Sponsors


Shipley Nature Center Vendors and Sponsors
Sponsors such as REI and community groups attended Shipley's Spring Festival

In the video, Kay Goddard, president of Friends of Shipley Nature Center, thanks sponsors such as Rainbow Disposal - Ron Shenkman; Boeing Company, REI and other groups and volunteers who have helped turn the Nature Center into a revived habitat reflecting the native plants normally found in this Southern California. 


Shipley Nature Center, 17829 Golden West Street, Huntington Beach, CA. Call: (714) 842-4772.


Shipley Nature Center has come a long way since its closure in 2002, and reopening in 2005. With city funding not available to operate the center when it was shut down, Huntington Beach citizens who loved the Center banded together and created a plan and non-profit organization to reach a goal of re-opening it.

The Orange County Chapter of California Native Plant Society in 2002 published this article (excerpt):

Friends of Shipley Nature Center Formed and is Working Towards Re-Opening

The City of Huntington Beach placed a padlock on the gate to Shipley Nature Center (“the Center”) October 1, 2002 because of budget cuts.

About 40,000 visitors enjoyed this 18-acre urban environmental education center annually. The Friends of Shipley Nature Center (“the Friends”), a non-profit group formed in January to help support the Center, is working with the city to help restore the habitat that had become overgrown with weeds and littered with dead trees. The Friends hope to see the Center reopen with the tours reinstated—but there is no budget money allocated for full restoration or rehiring of the former Park Naturalist at this time.

The Center is located within Huntington Central Park. Adults were able to walk on the self-guided tour and see wildlife such as Western Fence Lizards, a coyote or a skunk, orioles, hummingbirds and other birds, and a rich variety of spiders.

David Winkler, the Park Naturalist, led about 9,000 school children on the nature trails through forests of sycamores and Torrey Pines, then to wetlands with cattails and bulrush. David also maintained an interpretive center with close-up wildlife like snakes, turtles, and tarantulas that the children (and adults, too) loved. This Center is now closed, with the animals given away to new homes.

The city has signed a contract with Tatsumi and Partners for a landscape plan that, if fully implemented, will create twelve separate native plant habitats, including willow forests and coastal sage shrub. Also included in this landscape plan are demonstration gardens, such as a butterfly garden and a California native plant home garden. This, along with new trees, will replace the overgrowth of non-native weeds that has been allowed to occur over the years.

The Friends group was formed to educate the community on the importance of Shipley Nature Center. The Center provides people a location to gain a greater appreciation and knowledge of nature in an urban location. According to the California Department of Education, “Research and classroom-based studies show that students in experiential environmental education programs learn better, are better citizens, and transfer their learning to new situations better.”

The Friends and the city are arranging to open the doors for the Friends to help restore the area with native plants during designated times. The Friends have worked closely with The Huntington Beach Tree Society to plant some trees already. The Friends group is also fundraising, applying for grants, starting a docent program, and finding other ways to help the Center. People are joining together in bipartisan support to save Shipley Nature Center. -end-

Since the time when Shipley Nature Center opened in 1974 over 30 years ago, many changes have occurred. What's amazing is that there are a new crop of individuals involved in this Central Park ecosystem, and some believe it or not, some who were there on the ground floor when the Shipley Nature Center was first formed. Shirley Dettloff is one example of an individual who, throughout time, has volunteered to keep the park alive. All of us who have benefitted from the years of effort send a heart-felt thanks to those who have been stewards for this valuable, 18 acre parcel.