Off the Beaten Path: North Park's Latodomi Nature Center

North Park is the largest park in Allegheny County and located in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania within the townships of Hampton, McCandless and Pine. When you think of North Park you probably think of the beautiful tree laden lakes, plentiful fishing spots, dog parks, an Olympic sized swimming pool and many other relaxing outdoor activities. But have you ever heard of the Latodomi Nature Center? It is a gem of a destination located off the beaten path on the outer perimeter of North Park.

Latodami Nature Center
The nature center is nestled away off of Brown Road in the northern section of the North Park. Allegheny County purchased the Latodami farm land track back in 1969 to create one of the first nature centers in Western Pennsylvania. The 200 acre environmental education center is home to eleven nature trails, a protected wetland with observation pond and a classic standing barn and silo that serves as a public meeting and education point as well as home to many species of bats and birds including owls. The nature center is open year round and hosts some really great seasonal and family friendly programs and activities.

If you decide to visit The Latodomi Nature Center in North Park be sure to check out these points of interest:

Nature Center Gardens: The gardens can be visited year round and are located at several different locations throughout the park, namely The Latodami barn area, North Dakota Shelter and Marshall Island.

The Pond Trail: The trail is about a .37 mile loop around a recently dredged pond and wetland area. Kids will love the pond loop as they will be able to spot many different animals such as frogs, turtles, fish, ducks, herons, dragonflies, groundhogs and muskrats.

Braille Trail: The Braille nature access trail is a beautiful path that winds around streams, wild flower patches, scout environmental improvement projects and more. The trail was designed for the visually impaired and contains a trail side rubber guide rope that serves to assist visitors around the trail perimeter. This trail is family friendly, chock full of birds and wildlife and tech savvy as the trail allows for smartphone QR code interpretation. This trail is highly recommended.

To fully appreciate the beauty of the nature center and surrounding areas be sure to catch these educational programs and activities that occur throughout the year:
  • Thursday Nature Walks- Every Thursday of the year, 10 am to 12 noon.
  • Taking In The Forest" Through Tai Chi and Flute
  • Forest Bathing Outing
  • Hoot 'n Howl Hike
  • Family Seed Sowing
  • Christmas Bird Count
So if you are looking for a worthwhile family friendly off the beaten path adventure, be sure to visit The Latodomi Nature Center in North Park.

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Scott Kozelnik has called the North Hills of Pittsburgh home since 2003. He's been published by Arcadia Publishing, Images of America and was a contributor to the West Virginia Encyclopedia. He manages the events blog and social media touch points.