Wood Lake housed the antics of swimmers and boaters until the 1950s, when most of its water drained away. In the years since, it has transformed into the 150-acre year-round Wood Lake Nature Center, where 3 miles of trails and wooden boardwalks meander through three defined natural habitats. Visitors can immerse themselves in wildlife at a cattail freshwater marsh, mixed lowland forest, and restored prairie; view creatures from a wildlife observation shelter and docks; and witness performances and lectures in a 100-seat outdoor amphitheater. In a more than 4,000-square-foot interpretive center, on-staff naturalists guide guests through educational programs focused on plants, animals, and ecosystems while fielding questions such as why bears hibernate and how to beat an owl in a staring contest.
Staff members showcase natural splendor through a range of indoor and outdoor seasonal events, such as Earth Day craft projects, family-friendly Halloween festivities, and winter festivities around New Year's. In the summer, counselors lead day camps during which children can explore the marsh with bug nets, learn how to use binoculars, and build forts in the forest. While Wood Lake Nature Center welcomes exploration, pets, bikes, rollerblades, and giant hamster balls are prohibited to ensure the preservation of local habitats.