The John Janzen Nature Centre originally opened on October 6, 1976, with a purpose to educate people about nature and natural processes.
Specifically, the objectives of the Nature Centre are as follows:
To provide direct personal program services containing current and technically sound information for family, children, adult and public audiences;
To provide indirect services through indoor and outdoor displays and exhibits;
To conduct effective nature education for tourists and Edmontonians through brochures, staffed travelling displays, newspapers and television; and
To provide excellent customer services through development of simple, straightforward ways for the public to access information about nature and by keeping relevant information available to staff, volunteers and visitors.
The Edmonton Nature Centre Foundation (ENCF) was established in 1979 with a mandate to raise funds for the ongoing development of the John Janzen Nature Centre. In line with this objective, ENCF and staff of the Nature Centre developed a Master Plan in 1996, to guide the activities of the Nature Centre and describe in detail the types of exhibits and displays to be provided for the enjoyment of visitors. The Master Plan identifies potential key projects for consideration in the years to come, as funding becomes available.
In 2012 a major expansion was completed and the Tegler Discovery Zone opened to the public. The Green Roof opened in the summer of 2013.