Founded in 1976 as Westcave Preserve, the mission of Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center is to inspire people to develop a lifelong practice of enjoying and protecting nature.
We accomplish this through educational programs, collaborative alliances, and conservation of our beautiful 76-acre preserve.
While many places offer opportunities for self-led nature activities, Westcave has dedicated staff who partner with schools to teach 6,000 students annually. Students learn key scientific concepts in the best classroom of all: our 75-acre preserve in Southwest Travis County and our nationally renowned Warren Skaaren Environmental Learning Center.
What makes the experience so special? At our preserve, you not only witness a place of extraordinary beauty, you observe a living laboratory. You walk through hundreds of thousands of years of geologic formations as you hike to the bottom of the canyon. And at the head of our canyon is a lush, wet grotto where you can see with your own eyes how the water cycle works.
The Children in Nature Collaborative of Austin (CiNCA) is a mighty force for good, catalyzing 30+ member nonprofits, environmental educators, health professionals and community leaders to work together on common goals. Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center has stepped up to lead CiNCA in its efforts to connect children and families to nature, because we believe forming strategic alliances and sharing ideas and resources increases our collective impact.
Our preserve is located in Southwest Travis County, one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the country. Protecting this beautiful land, which is home to the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler and attracts birders from all over the world, has become more important than ever.
It began in 1973 with the purchase of 25 acres that had been trespassed and badly abused. The last four decades have seen that land renew and flourish under Westcave's visionary care, and today our original preserve is celebrated as a natural treasure. Recently, Westcave purchased an additional 45 acres of adjacent property, which we call the Canyon Rim. Once again, Westcave is restoring the land so that it can be enjoyed by generations to come.