Plains Conservation Center, Aurora

4.5
The Plains Conservation Center is an outdoor education facility and state-designated natural area in Aurora, Colorado. Its mission is to preserve Colorado's prairies, educate children about Colorado's eco-history, and nurture conservation efforts. The center comprises two sites totaling approximately 8894acre of land. The main site is located on 1100acre in Aurora and the second site is south of Strasburg on 7960acre bisected by West Bijou Creek. The Aurora property is owned by the Aurora Parks, Recreation and Open Space department.
The land that is currently part of the Aurora site was once part of the railroad. The city of Denver bought the land in 1933, and the land later became federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. An education center was established in 1949, and in 1969 a group of sod structures were built. In 1997 the West Arapahoe Conservation District sold 1100acre to the City of Aurora; about 500acre were sold for private development, with revenue from the private sale used to buy the West Bijou Creek site in Strasburg.
The West Bijou site has been identified as an important site for the study of the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs; one source calls it "the most complete single K-T boundary section found in nonmarine rocks". An expansion of the site under the auspices of the Trust for Public Land, along with the addition of a conservation easement to protect the entire property from development, was announced in December 2012. The integrity of the West Bijou site has also been protected by the addition of a conservation easement on adjoining ranch land. In November 2016, the West Bijou Site was designated as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service.
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Plains Conservation Center Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
26 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • We enjoyed getting yo see this small patch of what the plains used to look like, and took a gentle walk around where we got to see some wildlife. There is a small info centre about what you can see, a...  more »
  • Every now and then this beautiful place has free days, so we took that opportunity to visit for the first time. It wasn't crowded yet there were plenty of staff on hand to answer questions, hand out m...  more »
Google
  • came here with my son's preschool class for a field trip. It was a guided tour, and our tour guide was very educated and patient with the children. They have tee pees set up, just like they would have been used on the plains. All of the implements were in place, and were carefully explained to all of us. Daily life was expressed, with an emphasis on what the role of children would be (for our young guests). They also have a sod house, which was very informative for the adults in our group, as well as the children. Again, daily implements were handled and explained. Daily life was emphasized. Things like the great dust bowl were talked about, and the impact that it had on the families that lived on the plains. I believe that this is a very educational and interesting place that is very often overlooked by residents. There is a wealth of knowledge here, and it's well worth a visit to learn about what happened on our land long before the suburbs took over. Especially if you have children, GO! You'll all have a wonderful time and learn a lot in the process.
  • This place was so peaceful and well, plain, it was a nice open space that is particular to Colorado. A nice contrast to the rocky mountains. There was a long running path for those who like to jog. The sunset was beautiful!

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