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Starting Sept. 18, the southbound I-35 Ewing Ave. / Marsalis Ave. exit ramp that typically brings you to the Dallas Zoo will be RELOCATED, which may affect your route to the Zoo. Click here for more information.

Virtual Nature Exchange

Virtual Nature Exchange

Get out in nature and get rewarded!


Virtual nature swap shop


Anyone who loves to get out into nature!

How much?


The Hillcrest Foundation Nature Exchange may be closed to the public right now, but you can still get rewarded for getting out into nature! Gather rocks, shells, fossils, or anything you find on your outdoor adventures, and schedule a virtual session with us to learn more about the items and rack up those points to redeem once we are able to open again.

Ready to get started? Grab these items to create your own Trading Kit at home:

  • Penny
  • Sandpaper
  • Eyedropper or small dropper bottle of vinegar
  • Magnifying glass
  • Magnet
  • Ruler
  • White paper
  • Notepad
  • Pencil
Reserve Your Spot

Frequently asked questions

How long should I expect the trade to last?

Virtual trades will be no more than 20 minutes long. Trade times will vary based on the number of items and the participant’s interest.

Is the Nature Exchange open?

The Nature Exchange remains closed for the health and safety of our guests and staff.

Can we trade as a group or family?

We recommend that each trader sign up for an individual time slot. Family trades are allowed but will only last 20 minutes. All points awarded will be entered into the registered trader’s account.

How many items can I trade during virtual trading?

You are welcome to trade up to 3 nature items.

Are my virtual trading points good for getting things at the Nature Exchange?

Yes! All points earned during a virtual trade will be entered into your Nature Exchange account. Your points never expire, and you can use them as soon as the Nature Exchange reopens.

How do I get points?

Traders will receive special learning points during the trade. When the Nature Exchange reopens, you can still trade in the nature items. Remember, the more you know about your nature items, the more learning points we can give you! All points accumulated during your trade will be stored in your Nature Exchange account and will be ready for you to spend as soon as the Nature Exchange reopens.

What items can I trade for points?

The Nature Exchange accepts a very wide variety of nature items, including rocks and minerals, sand samples, sea shells, sea stars, fossils, clean bones (except for birds), dead insects, nuts and seeds, leaves, pine cones, and pressed flowers. We do NOT accept: living plants or animals; coral; skins, pelts, or taxidermied animals; items related to endangered species or removed from protected areas.

What can I expect during my virtual trade session?

All trades will be one-on-one with one of our Nature Exchange team members. We will ask you what you know about your nature items, and then, using your at-home trader kit, guide you through some easy ways to learn more about your item.

What should I have ready for a virtual trade?

We recommend using a computer during the trade with a strong internet connection. We have also created a list of household items to build your own At-Home Trader Kit. These items can be used during the virtual trade to help learn more about your nature items.

Still have questions? We’re here to help! Contact us at