Unlike the traditional museum setting, the Naturalist Workshop encourages the touching of specimen.  How much does a sugar pine cone weigh?  Can you fit together a cow humerus and pelvis?  How many kinds of minerals can you see in one rock?  Tables laden with fur, rock, bones, plants, insects, a balance, magnifying glasses, and more provide opportunities for all ages to get in touch with items straight from nature.   Additionally, there are field guides and a sightings board for any living organisms you might encounter as you explore the Austin Nature & Science Center.

Trade Counter

If you find yourself regularly discovering loose fossils, shells, rocks, or insect boxes clattering about in your washing machine, you or your loved one may be a naturalist.  The Trade Counter is where naturalists of all ages are welcome to sit down and share their discoveries with our volunteer Trade Counter staff and fellow nature enthusiasts.  One can bring nature items, science reports, or scientific illustrations and art in exchange for points, which may then be used to buy a host of other things—rocks and minerals, shark teeth, insect collections, bones, shells, etc.  For a list of what is accepted for trade at the Trade Counter please refer to the Trade Counter brochure (PDF) or call 512-974-3888.  Points may also be earned by reporting a nature sighting from the ANSC grounds, entries on iNaturalist (see following section) or for accomplishing the monthly puzzle (questions relating to one or more specimens, rotating monthly). 

The Naturalist Workshop's Trade Counter is open for trades:

Wednesday - Friday 10am-1pm

Saturdays 10am-4pm

Closed Sundays and Mondays

This is a program that exists, in part, through volunteer effort.  If you are interested in volunteering, please visit our Volunteer With ANSC page.


Exploring the Naturalist Workshop at ANSC

iNaturalist is a citizen science project and online social network of naturalists, biologists and citizen scientists built on the concept of mapping and sharing observations of biodiversity across the globe. The Austin Nature & Science Center's iNaturalist account is a place where our visitors, program participants and staff can share their observations of plants, animals, fungi, insects and more found on the ANSC's grounds and the adjoining Zilker Preserve.  Entries can be shown to Trade Counter volunteers for points.