The Nature Center at Happy Isles is a short walk from the Valley Shuttle stop #16 just east of Curry Village. The name Happy Isles comes from three small islands in the nearby Merced River.
The Nature Center is a family-friendly nature museum closed in the winter. The exhibits are great and it is the center for the Junior Ranger Program.
Happy Isles was the site of one of the most famous rock falls in Yosemite. In July 1996 over 70,000 tons of rock broke away from the cliffs above and pulverized as it crashed down reaching 260 miles per hour.
The rock and wind blast flattened 700 trees and remarkably only a single hiker was killed. You can still see much of the destruction in the area despite the restoration.[sam id=1 codes=’false’]
The main interest with Happy Isles is that it is the start of the Mist Trail, probably the most popular Yosemite hike.