Dr. Elberta W. Fleming, the founder of Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, had a vision for the future. It was important to her that children learn from experiences and discovery, for the lessons they learned in science through nature were essential for their future.
As the neighborhood children brought injured animals to Elberta, she discovered the wildlife provided an effective teaching tool for people of all ages. To be able to see up close and sometimes touch a real living and breathing animal created a fun, hands-on, and powerful learning experience for the children. So, in 1945 she began Lake Erie Nature & Science Center with a meager display of bunnies in her backyard, mourning doves in her basement, turtles in her bathtub and nature specimens throughout her home. Hence, the “Bathtub Museum” was started.
Lake Erie Nature & Science Center was incorporated in 1950 by Dr. Fleming based on the principles that learning is fun and children learn best by doing. The charter states that this non-profit organization will connect people of all ages to nature in order to motivate natural curiosities and creative abilities, encourage an understanding of cultural diversity, and instill civic responsibilities by developing a desire to conserve our natural resources.
Dr. Fleming’s vision is thriving in the 21st Century. Today, Lake Erie Nature & Science Center attracts over 180,000 visitors per year from our surrounding Greater Cleveland and Greater Lorain communities, all 50 states and 13 countries to its 22,500 square foot facility. The number of programs offered per year has increased exponentially from 100 in 1987 to over 2,300 programs, involving more than 51,500 participants today.
Lake Erie Nature & Science Center provides free admission seven days a week and performs wildlife rehabilitation at no charge to the public. The Center offers quality nature, environmental and science experiences through school field trips, preschool, family, scouting and planetarium programs, nature hikes and a variety of wildlife exhibits, along with domestic and wildlife close encounters.
The Center is lead by a dynamic experienced management team with an eye on sustaining this important mission for generations to come.