The Center for Urban Horticulture provides excellent wildlife viewing opportunities by foot and by boat. Trails in the Union Bay Natural Area and Yesler Swamp provide access to view the waters of Lake Washington and the many waterfowl that over-winter there. The small ponds within the Union Bay Natural Area are a good place to look for migrating shorebirds and the willows around the ponds are a good place to look for passerines. An osprey family nests on the platform at waters edge and the parents can be seen driving away bald eagles that nest in nearby cottonwoods. A kiosk at the east side of the Union Bay Natural Area provides a weekly highlights list of birds observed in the Natural Area.
While there are no landing places for boats along the waterfront at the Center for Urban Horticulture, the near shore waters are a great place for an afternoon paddle. There are a couple nearby boat rental facilities that rent canoes, kayaks and rowboats to the general public: the UW Waterfront Activities Center and Agua Verde Paddle Club.