Pupils from Mapperley CofE Primary School were given a chance to try out the new community barn and education garden at Woodside Nature Reserve in Shipley when it was opened.
The barn, supported by a £38,244 grant from the Veolia Environmental Trust through the Landfill Communities Fund, will act as a base for schools and other visitors to the reserve.
It is adjacent to an education garden, which has living willow domes, two raised ponds suitable for pond dipping, log piles, a wildflower meadow, woodland area and wildlife hotels.
Each section of the garden represents a habitat found on the surrounding nature reserve.
A large interpretation panel in the barn explains about the habitats in the garden and the wildlife that can be found there.
Head teacher Richard Cripps said the children thoroughly enjoyed exploring the wildlife. He said: “The facilities are amazing, and the children were keen to see everything - they specifically enjoyed the ponds. They said they thought Woodside was like a secret garden.”
Woodside Nature Reserve, ran by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is next to Shipley Country Park and covers 182 acres, once home to the American Adventure theme park, which closed in 2009.
Woodside is the biggest nature reserve in Derbyshire outside of the Peak District and supports a variety of wildlife, including birds, insects and moths, brown hares and other mammals.