Lyonia Preserve and Environmental Center – Family-Friendly Fun All-Year Long

Looking for year-round activities for your whole family? Check out Lyonia Preserve and Environmental Center!

This place offers hands-on activities, hiking trails, guided hikes and events, live animal exhibits, and actual wildlife encounters on the trail. The best part is that most of the activities are free or nearly free, so everyone can attend. 

My family and I have been visiting Lyonia Preserve and Environmental Center since 2014. First, we attended their Tiny Trekkers program. Now, we attend homeschool classes during the school year, activities for older kids, and miles and miles of trails. 

Keep reading to learn everything you can do at Lyonia Preserve with your family all year long.

A narrow sandy trail through scrub habitat at Lyonia Preserve in Deltona, Florida.
One of the many trails in Lyonia Preserve.

Where is Lyonia Preserve?

Lyonia Preserve is in West Volusia County in Deltona, Florida. It is a 360-acre scrub ecosystem surrounded by homes and schools. It’s a slice of conservation land to enjoy and help residents learn about the importance of this area. Visitors will likely see rabbits, gopher tortoises, and the threatened Florida Scrub Jay.

The preserve is located at 2150 Eustace Ave., Deltona, Florida, approximately 40 minutes from Orlando and Daytona Beach.

They are closed on Mondays but open the rest of the week. Make sure to double-check their hours during major holidays.

Graphic map showing the location of the Lyonia Environmental Center and Preserve in Deltona, Florida.

Summer Camps at Lyonia

Every year, Lyonia Environmental Center hosts nature-themed summer camps led by Shari Smith. These typically include: 

  • guided nature hikes
  • arts and crafts
  • science experiments
  • live animal encounters
  • games
  • themed snacks 

Although we have not attended the summer camps, my kids have attended many of her homeschool classes and events over the years. The classes are engaging, get indoor kids (like mine!) out, and help our young residents understand the importance of our precious scrub habitat and its unique needs.  

Summer camp and homeschool classes are not free, but they are reasonably priced. 

A group of kids exploring the ephemeral wetland at Lyonia Preserve in Deltona, Florida during a homeschool class.
Homeschool adventures with my kids and others at Lyonia Preserve!

Educational and Fun Monthly Events

In addition to summer camps, Lyonia has family-friendly monthly events. The vast majority of these events are free, and the ones that are not are very budget-friendly. 

Activities include:

  • Tiny Trekkers for little ones
  • popcorn and documentaries for older kids
  • hands-on crafts and edible science 
  • holiday-themed events

These monthly events, suitable for every nature lover in your family, are posted on the Lyonia Environmental Center Eventbrite page, and reservations can also be made there. 

We recently attended the Nature at Night: Plant Like a Floridian event. The kids learned about protecting our waterways and native and invasive plants. They really enjoyed it. Afterwards, they were able to walk around our yard, identify native plants, and explain why they are important. 

Melissa Hughes holding a snake for kids to touch during an event at Lyonia Preserve in Deltona, Florida.
Kids learn best when they can see, touch, and feel.

Hiking Lyonia Preserve

I know that Florida gets super hot, and hiking is usually not an option during the summer, but I wanted to mention it for those who are early risers or interested in an evening hike because Lyonia Preserve is great during cooler temperatures. 

Hiking at Lyonia during the winter is wonderful since many of the trails are exposed to sunlight.

Do not go out on the trails during thunderstorms, there is no shelter. 

Mornings in the preserve are full of bird songs and scurrying bunnies. In the evening, you will get the same show, with the potential to see and hear bats emerging for their nightly rounds.

Some of the monthly events are hiking activities, but if you are a hiker, hit the trails on your own from sunrise to sunset. 

We have explored many of the trails at Lyonia with our kids. We started out carrying them on our backs, and now we can hardly keep up with those long big-kid and teen legs.

You can learn more about the preserve and hiking trails by clicking here

Scrub jay on a branch at Lyonia Preserve in Deltona, Florida.
A Florida scrub jay we saw while hiking Lyonia Preserve.

Pollinator Garden and Scrub Jay Wings at Lyonia

Make sure to take a stroll through the pollinator garden. It’s full of native plants that are labeled so you and your kids can learn about them. Of course, if you have any questions, you can ask the Lyonia experts. 

The littles will enjoy the short path leading straight through the garden. There’s a small bench where you can sit and take a moment to enjoy the various flowers and the visiting bees and butterflies. Always keep an eye out for songbirds, and you might even see a gopher tortoise cross your path. 

Oh, and don’t forget to pose with the beautiful Scrub Jay Wings mural drawn by Erica Group. 

Jessica Meinhofer, owner of Walk and Paddle, posing with the Scrub Jay Wings at Lyonia Preserve in Deltona, Florida.
Aren’t these wings cool?!

Lyonia Environmental Center

If the weather is too extreme to explore the trails or pollinator garden, come inside and explore the Lyonia Environmental Center. My kids and I have been enjoying the center for years. 

Kids and adults alike can have fun with the hands-on displays about the preserve and conservation. And you don’t want to miss the discovery room with reptiles, resident animal ambassadors, and a huge saltwater aquarium. You might even be able to visit during feeding time!

There’s always someone helpful and knowledgeable to answer any of your questions about the preserve, events, and displays. You’ll also find an assortment of brochures and printouts you can take home to plan future activities and learning.

Kids posing at Lyonia Environmental Center next to one of the many hands on displays in Deltona, Florida.
One of our many visits to the Lyonia Environmental Center with the kids!

Rotating Exhibitions

Along with hands-on displays and the discovery room, the center has rotating exhibitions. These are another way to introduce visitors to the scrub habitat and conservation efforts. 

From April 2024 to June 16, 2024, the exhibit area was home to the “You are Here” traveling photography exhibit organized by the Florida Wildlife Corridor Foundation

Past exhibits include photography from the Lyonia Photography Club and other local photographers.

Ready to Visit?

I hope this gave you a good idea of what Lyonia Environmental Center and Preserve can offer your entire family throughout the year. 

If you have any questions about what they are doing, call them at 386-789-7207, ext. #21028.

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