Eaton Canyon Nature Center

Located at the foot of the stunning San Gabriel Mountains, the 190-acre Eaton Canyon Natural Area is a haven for wildlife, flora, and geology. It is a popular tourist destination due to its abundance of attractions, including a network of hiking trails, horse paths with a staging area, picnic sites, a seasonal stream, rocks and minerals, a wide variety of natural habitats, native plants, and wildlife.

When the Center reopened in November of 1998, it was a huge success. The 7600 square foot structure houses numerous interactive exhibits, live animals, an auditorium, classrooms, a gift shop, an information desk, and restrooms.

The majority of the 190 acres that make up the Eaton Canyon Natural Area are located in Pasadena, on land once owned by the Southern Pacific Railroad and next to the northern boundaries of the former San Pasqual and Santa Anita Ranches. The land was available for homesteading because it was not needed by the railroad.

Take your camera or binoculars into Eaton Canyon or any other natural location you visit, but remember to LOOK ONLY; touching or even trying to touch the wildlife can stress them to the point of illness or death, disturbing the natural balance.

If you keep your eyes and ears open while you go through the Canyon, you’ll encounter a wide variety of fascinating sights and sounds. In Eaton Canyon, as throughout Southern California, the coast live oak stands out as the most common species of tree. They also have sycamore trees, monkeyflowers, prickly pear cacti, and buckwheat.

Visit the Nature Center to see a wide variety of animals up close in the terrariums that line the walls. These educational animals are alive and well but cannot be released (an animal that is unable to care for itself and therefore cannot survive in their natural habitat). This could be the result of trauma, imprinting, or a previous owner’s inability to care for the animal properly before donating it. They are given a second chance at life at the nature center, where they can serve as animal ambassadors and teach visitors about animal welfare and conservation while leading more or less normal lives.

There are many different types of organisms, but those that are toxic or venomous can be found in the Poisonus and Venomous section. Poison oak, wild cucumber, castor bean, stinging nettle, and a pacific rattlesnake are just some of the noxious flora and fauna found in the area. All four of these plants are dangerous because their toxins can be absorbed through the skin (in the case of poison oak and stinging nettle) or through the digestive system (in the other two). Because its venom is most effective when injected directly into a blood vessel, rattlesnakes are typically killed when their fangs are used. Rattlesnake venom is not dangerous unless it enters the body through a cut or other open wound.

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