Connecticut has many nature and science centers, arboretums, aquariums

For a fairly urbanized state, Connecticut is rich with places to enjoy and learn from the outdoors, including Audubon centers, science and nature centers, aquariums, observatories, and arboretums. Highlights of places with visitors, children, and families can enjoy forests, plant and bird life, and sea life include the Connecticut Audubon Society Birdcraft Museum in Fairfield, Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University, Bull's Covered Bridge River Walk in Kent, Science Center of Eastern Connecticut in New London, and the Dinosaur Place in Montville.

Featured Listings

Argia Mystic Cruises Argia Mystic Cruises Mystic CT

Schooner Wharf - 15 Holmes Street Mystic, CT 06355 Phone: 860-536-0416 Fax: 860-536-0000

Islands, Estuaries, Salt Marshes and Seabirds

Sail through the islands and coastline of the Mystic River and Long Island Sound estuaries as you discover the natural history and beauty of our maritime world. Embark on the traditional sailing schooner Argia for a morning, afternoon, or sunset cruise. Glide past salt marshes and shoreline that are home to osprey, herons, egrets, and more. Enjoy sun, ocean breezes, and peaceful surroundings…away from the hustle and bustle of land. You may sit back and relax as you watch the passing scenery or take a turn at the helm under sail. This cruise includes snacks and lemonade and you may bring your own picnic basket, bottle of wine, etc. US Coast Guard inspected.

May 1st through late October, choose a half-day or sunset cruise aboard ARGIA!

Connecticut College Arboretum Connecticut College Arboretum New London CT

270 Mohegan Avenue New London, CT 06320 Phone: 860-439-5020

Let the natural sciences enhance your travel and leisure

Connecticut College prepares the next generation to embrace a sustainable relationship with the natural world. Generations of faculty and students have already used the forests, meadows and wetlands for teaching and research. For the College's academic programs, it means that the Arboretum is a living laboratory just outside the classrooms and residence halls. For visitors alike, the experience can inspire a connection to the natural world through recreation and public education. Enjoy 700 acres, historic architecture and sweeping views of Long Island framed by native plants and botanicals from around the world in natural and managed areas: the Campus Landscape, the Native Plant Collection with trails for walking, hiking and running; and the Caroline Black Garden. Open every day from sunrise to sunset. Private group tours arranged upon request.

Mystic Aquarium Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration Mystic CT

55 Coogan Boulevard Mystic, CT 06355 Phone: 860-572-5955

Visit New England’s Hands-On Aquarium

Get closer to nature than ever before at New England’s Hands-On Aquarium. Chat with a staff member as they hand feed a cownose ray, or wade waist-deep with a Beluga whale during one of our encounter programs. Take a front-row seat in the Nautilus Live Theater for deep-sea explorations with Dr. Robert Ballard and his team, or interact with the newly expanded Titanic – 12,450 Feet Below. And get your hands on the chilling side of nature in Scales & Tails, our all-new exhibit that’s home to some creatures that are cold-blooded and seriously cool. For more, visit mysticaquarium.org.

Submarine Force Museum Submarine Force Museum Groton CT

1 Crystal Lake Road Groton, CT 06340 Phone: 800-343-0079

Whether you’re a kid or a history buff, there’s something here of interest for you.

Step aboard the Nautilus — the world's first nuclear powered submarine at the only museum dedicated to the science, courage and history of the US Submarine Force. Whether you’re a kid or a history buff, there’s something here of interest for you.
  • Sit in the control room and experience hands-on what submariners had to manage.
  • Explore the memorabilia of historical interest about the submarines rich place in history.
  • Tour the world's first nuclear powered submarine and experience where the crew ate, slept, trained & played.
Live their adventure beneath the ocean’s waves. Our admission is always free. The experience is priceless!

The Dinosaur Place at Nature's Art Village The Dinosaur Place at Nature's Art Village Montville CT

1650 Hartford-New London Tpke. (Rt. 85) Oakdale, CT 06370 Phone: 860-443-4367 Fax: 860-443-0253

An interactive science and nature adventure

At The Dinosaur Place you will discover an outdoor adventure of prehistoric proportions: explore over 1.5 miles of trails in a 60-acre dinosaur-themed park filled with over 40 life-sized dinosaurs; get lost in a"MAZE"asaurus – a mammoth-sized maze; stay cool in New England’s largest Splashpad ®. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the shade! NEW THIS SEASON…See dinosaurs come to life with a NEW Animatronic Dinosaur Encounter!

While at Nature’s Art Village, make sure to explore indoors and enjoy an adventure filled hands-on activity center, Discovery Depot! Here you can dig for gems in Jackpot Mine, pan for "gold" in Thunder Creek, and uncover a dinosaur fossil as part of a team of junior paleontologists in the Bone Zone. Best of all, everything you find you get to keep! Amazing shopping, food and ice cream also available.

The Dinosaur Place is located at Nature’s Art Village. An amazing shopping experience and a day of family fun…ALL IN ONE! For more visit www.naturesartvillage.com.
Informational Listings Courtesy of VisitNewEngland.com

Audubon Center of Greenwich Audubon Center of Greenwich

613 Riversville Road Greenwich, CT Phone: 203-869-5272

This 285-acre nature sanctuary in the back country of Greenwich has 7 miles of walking trails, nature exhibit displays, a children's learning center, a nature gift shop and nature arts gallery. Nature programs year round for all ages. Trail map.
Hours: Open daily; year-round.

Bartlett Arboretum Bartlett Arboretum

151 Brookdale Road Stamford, CT Phone: 203-322-6971

Visitors will find woodland and swamp environments and a pond on 63 acres. There are several ecology trails, a swamp walk, library and greenhouse. Trail map.
Hours: Open year-round, daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: Free.

Boothe Memorial Astronomical Society

Boothe Memorial Park, 5800 Main Street Stratford, CT

This organization of astronomy enthusiasts and star gazers welcomes the public to its observatory at Boothe Memorial Park for regularly scheduled star watching through is 16-inch Cassegrain and 4-inch Unitron refractor. Members bring their telescopes and the public is welcome to do so. Viewing is under a dome. Open public observations are usually the first and third Fridays of each month, and at posted times for special events. Visitors and new members are always welcome. ‎

Bowman Observatory

on the grounds of Julian Curtis School, intersection of Milbank Avenue & East Elm Street Greenwich, CT Phone: 203-869-0376

Bowman Observatory of the Astronomical Society of Greenwich is open for public use on second and fourth Tuesdays of the month, weather permitting. General hours are winter, 7-9 p.m.; spring and autumn, 8-10 p.m.; summer, 9-11 p.m. Admission is free.
See Astronomical Society of Greenwich newsletter.
Viewing conditions.

Connecticut Audubon Society Birdcraft Museum and Sanctuary Connecticut Audubon Society Birdcraft Museum

314 Unquowa Road Fairfield, CT 06824 Phone: 203-259-0416

Historic museum highlights natural history of the state with dioramas, wildlife exhibits, and dinosaur footprints. Adjacent 6-acre sanctuary with trails.
Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. The six-acre Birdcraft Sanctuary is open daily, year-round, from dawn to dusk.
Information: www.ctaudubon.org/birdcraft-museum.

Connecticut Audubon Society Center at Fairfield

2325 Burr Street Fairfield, CT Phone: 203-259-6305

On this site visitors will find exhibits, a library and a gift shop. In addition, there is an injured bird compound where visitors can observe the treatment and recuperation of birds that have been harmed in the wild. The 160 acre Larsen Sanctuary has many trails that wind through the woods and around ponds, including walks for the blind, elderly and disabled.
Hours: Year round, Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Information: www.ctaudubon.org/center-at-fairfield/

Darien Nature Center

120 Brookside Road Darien, CT Phone: 203-655-7459

Open: Year-round, Monday - Saturday

This center has a natural walking trail and exhibits featuring live animals. Childrens programs are held year round.
Free admission.
Information: dariennaturecenter.org/

Earthplace

10 Woodside Lane Westport, CT Phone: 203-227-7253

Interactive natural history museum, hands-on exhibits for children, live animals, trails, playground and a gift shop are all part of this 62-acre wildlife sanctuary.
Admission: Adults and children older than 12, $7; children and seniors, $5. Grounds and outdoor bird enclosures free.
Hours: Open: Year-round, daily except major holidays
Information: www.earthplace.org

Lucius Pond Ordway - Devil's Den Preserve Ordway Preserve

33 Pent Road Weston, CT Phone: 203-226-4991

Protected area is popular for bird and wildlife observation. See full description of Devils Den Preserve.

Mianus River Preserve & Park / Cary Road Nature Preserve / Mianus Pond Mianus River Preserve

Cary Road Greenwich/Stamford border, CT Phone: 203-977-4692

This preserve begins 1,000 feet north of the Post Road on the eastern side of Mianus Pond. It is a haven for hikers, with undisturbed woods and a steep shoreline and lovely views. Foot access is from the northern ends of Westview Place and Cary Road.
To get there: Take U.S. 1 toward Stamford; after leaving Cos Cob and crossing the Mianus Bridge turn left onto Cary Road. Mianus Park is on Cary Road.
Hours: Year-round, daily, daylight hours.

New Canaan Nature Center

144 Oenoke Ridge New Canaan, CT 06840 Phone: 203-966-9577

Take a fascinating look into the science and nature in the area. Set on 40 acres, the nature center features gardens and a solar-heated greenhouse, as well as many trails, exhibits, an arboretum, live animals, and a maple sugar shed.
Hours: Grounds open dawn to dusk daily; buildings and officer open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Donation requested.
Information: www.newcanaannature.org/

Rolnick Observatory

182 Bayberry Lane Westport, CT Phone: 203-227-0925

Open: Year-round, Wednesday and Thursday evenings

Sponsored by the Westport Astronomical Society. Call ahead, no admission charge.

Stamford Museum & Nature Center

39 Scofieldtown Road Stamford, CT 06903 Phone: 203-322-1646

Experience nature, science and the outdoors at this 118-acre site. Includes New England working farm, hiking trails, picnic area, nature's playground, boardwalk (accessible to wheelchairs), galleries for interactive exhibitions with hands-on area for children, two stores, special events, planetarium. Observatory Friday evenings (weather permitting). Hours: Bendel Mansion & Galleries, Monday- Saturday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Heckscher Farm, daily 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Nature's Playground, daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. (weather permitting); Animal Embassy, Tuesday - Sunday,. 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. (open to 3:30 p.m. in summer); Observatory, Fridays, 8-10 p.m., weather permitting. Admission: Adults, $10; seniors age 65 and older, $8; students over age 18, $6; children age 4-17, $5. Information: www.stamfordmuseum.org.

Woodcock Nature Center

56 Deer Run Road Ridgefield, CT Phone: 203-762-7280

Set on 146 acres, the nature center has numerous walking and hiking trails. The area offers great opportunities for birdwatching and observation of geology. Regular walks and programs are scheduled throughout the year. Gift shop on the premises. Located on 149 acres of state-protected land, the Woodcock Nature Preserve includes a pond, wetlands and three miles of trails through woods. The center keeps many living local and exotic creatures including snakes, frogs and lizards. A few injured birds of prey live at the center. Trail map.
Hours: Monday-Friday and most Saturdays from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; summers, Monday-Friday only. The trails are open daily from dawn to dusk.
Admission: Free.
Information: woodcocknaturecenter.org.

Connecticut Audubon Center

1361 Main Street Glastonbury, CT Phone: 860-633-8402

Open: Tues-Fri, 1-5 pm; Sat, 10 am-5 pm; Sun, 1-4 pm; Closed the last week in December.

Maintained by the Audubon Society of CT, this science and nature center features exhibits on area wildlife and plants, and a hands-on area for children. A gift shop and programs are available year-round. The center is located next to Earle Park, a 48-acre outdoor setting with numerous walking trails.

Connecticut Science Center

250 Columbus Blvd. Hartford, CT 06103 Phone: 860-724-3623

A visit to the Center is a high-impact learning experience in a green, clean, bright, and stimulating environment. Adults and children alike will find entertainment and educational value in hands-on, engaging, and exciting exhibits and programs that emphasize current science and science you can use every day. Open year-round. Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: Adults, $17; seniors above age 65, $15.50; youth ages 3 to 17, $14. Information: www.ctsciencecenter.org

Copernican Space Science Center

Central Connecticut State University, 1615 Stanley Street New Britain, CT Phone: 860-832-3399

Open: Call for show times, also by appointment

This planetarium and observatory is home to one of the biggest telescopes in the country. Programs and events for children and adults are held there throughout the year. Admission: $3.50 adults, $2.50 seniors and children.

Dinosaur State Park

400 West Street Rocky Hill, CT Phone: 860-529-8423

Dinosaur Park features authentic dinosaur tracks that are 200 million years old. These are protected under a dome, which also houses exhibits and special programs that are held throughout the year. Visitors with their own materials are permitted to take plaster casts of the tracks.
Hours: Grounds are open year-round, daily, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Trails close at 4 p.m. Exhibit Center is open year-round, Tuesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It is wheelchair accessible.
Admission: Admission is charged for the Exhibit Center only. Adults over age 13, $6; youth age 6-12, $2.

Enders State Forest

Route 219 West Granby, CT Phone: 860-379-2469

Open: Year round.

This wildlife sanctuary features a walking trail that leads to beautiful, scenic waterfalls.

Flanders Nature Center

Flanders Road Woodbury, CT Phone: 203-263-3711

Many special programs are scheduled here. Visitors can enjoy nature walks that feature wildflowers (seasonal), a bog and an arboretum made up of nut trees. The Center's trail house features nature exhibits and a gift shop.
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Information: www.flandersnaturecenter.org/

H.O.R.S.E of Connecticut

43 Wilbur Road Washington, CT Phone: 860-868-1960

Open: Year-round, Friday - Sunday, 8am - 4pm

This equine rescue organization houses horses it has saved, holds information events, treats injured animals and even offers animals for adoption. Visitors can take a tour of the facility and feed horses. Trail rides can be arranged with advance reservations.

Hungerford Park

191 Farmington Avenue Kensington, CT Phone: 860-827-9064

This park is home to a farm, a collection of exotic animals, a system of trails, science exhibits and programs led by the New Britain Youth Museum. Open year-round, Tuesday-Friday, 1-4:30 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $4; seniors, $3; children ages 2-17, $2
Information: www.newbritainyouthmuseum.org

McLean Game Refuge

Route 10, Salmon Brook Road Granby, CT Phone: 860-653-7869

Open: Year round.

Enjoy a hiking and cross-country skiing on refuge trails. The area provides ample observation areas for both general nature study and birding in particular.

Metacomet Trail

Route 20 East Granby, CT Phone: 860-346-2372

Open: Year round

This trail is blue-blazed and extremely popular with hikers.

Northwest Park Nature Center

145 Lang Road Windsor, CT Phone: 860-285-1886

This park has 473 acres of land and recreational facilities, including an interpretive nature center, 12 miles of trails, and seasonal maple sugaring. This park is a birdwatcher's paradise: Recent bird sightings include Grasshopper Sparrows in Long Field, a Merlin Falcon near the windmill; an Eastern Phoebe in the woods behind the Organic Garden; a Turkey Vulture above the picnic site; and an American Bald Eagle on Pond Trail. A Red-headed Woodpecker has been spotted by the ravine; this bird is endangered in Connecticut.

Oak Grove Nature Center

Oak Grove Street Manchester, CT Phone: 860-643-0949

This 52-acre nature preserve and nature center is operated by the nearby Lutz Children's Museum. The property has a pond, a covered bridge, and two easy walking trails totaling about 3 miles of walking distance on dirt paths.
Hours: Trails are open dawn to dusk. Center open for museum activities and by arrangement.
Information: www.lutzmuseum.org/naturecenter.cfm

Roaring Brook Nature Center

70 Gracey Road Canton, CT Phone: 860-693-0263

This nature center features walking trails, live animals and an Indian longhouse. Classes and special programs are also scheduled periodically throughout the year.
Hours for the Center: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 1-5 p.m.; closed Mondays except July and August. Trails open dawn to dusk.
Admission: Adults, $6; seniors, $5; children, $4
Information: www.roaringbrook.org

Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area

Route 69 Burlington, CT Phone: 860-675-8130

Visitors to this natural preserve are treated to a beaver marsh, an observation tower, and a waterfall. Walking and hiking trails feature information signs and demonstrations of wildlife management practices.
Hours: Year-round, dawn to dusk.
Information: http://1.usa.gov/Yy9JxS

Shenipsit Trail

Route 190 Somers, CT Phone: 860-346-2372

Open: Year round.

Several blazed hiking trails are situated on this site.

The Pratt Center

163 Papermill Road New Milford, CT Phone: 860-355-3137

Nature preserve with hiking trails and river walks. There are also special programs scheduled throughout the year, and live farm animals on the premises in the spring, summer and fall.

Tomasso Nature Park

Granger Lane off Route 177 (Unionville Avenue) Plainville, CT Phone: 860-747-6022

This park was established in 1989 as a wetland conservation area, when plants, animals, and soil were moved here for protection from nearby construction. Wildlife you can see here includes various species of turtles, reptiles, and amphibians; a wide variety of bird species; and mammals such as raccoons, white-tail deer, and the muskrat. Native flora includes alder, maple, cattails, umbrella sedge, pickerelweed, ferns, blue and sweet flags, yellow pond lily, and arrowhead. Information: http://bit.ly/1b6nVBb
Season & Hours: Dawn to dusk, March 15 - November 15

Wethersfield Nature Center

30 Greenfield Street Wethersfield, CT Phone: 860-721-2953

Open: Saturdays, 10 am - 1 pm

This nature park features educational and hands-on exhibits, including live animals and scheduled programs. A log cabin on the site has a library and gift shop.

Bull's Covered Bridge River Walk Bull's Covered Bridge River Walk

Bull's Bridge Road Kent, CT

A scenic part of the Appalachian Trail. Hikers can enjoy the Bull's Bridge Scenic Trail loop, featuring views of waterfalls and gorges down below on the Housatonic River. The covered bridge was built in 1842. The trail follows the Housatonic River to Ten Mile River Gorge, and then up to the top of Ten Mile Hill.
Directions: At the intersection of routes 341 and 7 in Kent, follow Route 7 south for three miles; turn right onto Bull's Bridge Road; cross the first bridge; go through the covered bridge; cross a third bridge, and park on the left White blazes mark the entrance to the Appalachian Trail. The entrance to Bull's Bridge Scenic Loop is between the covered bridge and the first parking area and is not blazed. Moderate difficulty.
Information: http://bit.ly/12G3VC6

Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust

Flanders Road Woodbury, CT 06798 Phone: 203-263-3711

This nature center offers many recreational and educational programs for children and adults, including nature trails, seasonal festivities, kids’ programs, and a community garden. Families can roam the trails with a guide, take classes about flora and fauna, and join seasonal events like maple sugaring. Check for seasonal changes in hours and programs.

H.C. Barnes Nature Center

175 Shrub Road Bristol, CT Phone: 860-589-6082

This nature center features a variety of self-guiding trails, as well as interpretive exhibits and a nature library. The 70 acre sanctuary is home to a variety of species.
Hours: Wednesday-Friday, 2-5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 1-5 p.m.
Information: www.elcct.org/

Kellogg Environmental Center

Hawthorne Avenue Derby, CT Phone: 203-734-2513

Center offers workshops, exhibits, nature activities, and lectures for the general public. Through hands-on programs, families and kids can enjoy learning about nature and the environment. Throughout the year, the center offers special weekend programs, nature walks, and family workshops.

Kent Falls State Park Kent Falls State Park

462 Kent Cornwall Road (Route 7) Kent, CT Phone: 860-927-3238

Cascading waterfall, covered bridge, hiking trails. Great for picnics, walking

Visitors enjoy the beautiful series of cascading waterfalls that descend into the Housatonic River. HIking nad fishing are done here; no swimming. Great for picnics. See full description of Kent Falls State Park

Saugatuck Reservoir Trails

Route 53 Redding, CT Phone: 203-452-3511

Saugatuck Reservoir is part of a big land preserve in southwestern Connecticut. It is surrounded by 65 miles of hiking trails wending through Redding, Easton, and Weston through woodlands and fields, along shorelines, up rocky mountain sides with great views, and along interesting wetlands. These trails are part of the blue-blazed trail system managed by the Connecticut Forest and Park Association. To hike here, you must contact Aquarion Water Company and ask for a free map of the trail system, which serves as your hiking permit. Contact www.aquarion.com or call 203-452-3511.
Directions: Get onto the trail at the parking lot at the corner of Route 53 and Valley Forge Road, which is 3.5 miles north of Weston Center. To access the trail, walk down the hill on Valley Forge Road for 0.15 miles. The trailheads will be on the left to head north or the right to head south.
Information: http://bit.ly/12ENfyP

Sharon Audubon Center Sharon Audubon Center Sharon CT

325 Cornwall Bridge Road / Route 4 Sharon, CT 06069 Phone: 860-364-0520

Nature trails meander through gardens, woods and around ponds. Watch for a wide variety of plants, birds, bobcats, beavers, river otters, and deer. Many migratory birds use the property as a lay-over point. The Visitor Center houses the Nature Store, Natural History Museum, and Exhibit Room with live animals and displays and a Children's Adventure Center. Gift shop and book store.
Hours: The Visitors Center and Nature Store are open year round, Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. The building is closed on all major holidays.
Admission: Trails and most programs are $3 for adults; $1.50 for seniors; $1.50 for children
Information: http://sharon.audubon.org/

White Memorial Conservation Center and Museum White Memorial Conservation Center and Museum

Route 202 Litchfield, CT Phone: 860-567-0857

Sanctuary is set on 4,000 acres features 35 miles of trails, including a wooden boardwalk through wetland areas. The sanctuary museum examines the flora and fauna on the property more closely. Visitors can also enjoy the gift shop. A 3-mile trail is ideal for the novice and nature lover, and takes visitors alongside the Bantam River and along a one-mile wooden boardwalk that will take you through a large portion of the sanctuary's wetlands.
Open: Year-round, daily
Information: www.whitememorialcc.org/

Albert E. Moss Forest

Junction of Routes 195 and 275 Mansfield, CT

This wildlife sanctuary is used as an outdoor laboratory by the University of Connecticut. Open to the general public.

Barn Island State Wildlife Management Area Barn Island State Wildlife Management Area Stonington CT

Palmer Neck Road Pawcatuck, CT

This wildlife conservation area is popular for enjoying nature, birdwatching, walking, and deer hunting, in season. It includes several interest ecosystems, including forests, salt marsh, and wetlands, Four miles of trails are available for hikers and walkers. Interpretive signs help educate visitors about the coastal region of Connecticut.

Center at Pomfret (Audubon Bird Conservation area) Pomfret Farms

218 Day Road Pomfret Center, CT Phone: 860-928-4948

Maintained by the Connecticut Audubon Society. Designated trails run throughout the property. The Audobon Society hosts frequent guided birdwalks and workshops on gardening and area wildlife. The Center at Pomfret manages the 168-acre Trail Wood Sanctuary. See Santuary Map on Center's website
Hours: Trail Wood Sanctuary, year-round, daily, dawn to dusk
Information: www.ctaudubon.org/center-at-pomfret/

Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center

109 Pequotsepos Road Mystic, CT 06355 Phone: 860-536-1216

Open: Year-round, Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Closed January 1, Easter, Christmas

Discover live owls, turtles, frogs, and snakes in new natural history exhibits. Experience “A Night in the Meadow” theatre, hike up to 8 miles of trails on beautiful 300-acre sanctuary, and view birds of prey in outdoor flight enclosures. Excellent birding; picnic areas; wildflowers; gift shop. Open daily. Adults $6, Children 4.

Dennis Farm Dennis Farm

Dennis Road Pomfret, CT Phone: 203-568-6270

Dennis Farm Dennis Road Pomfret, CT The Nature Conservancy maintains this two-mile trail, which is an old farm road, through former farm property. It is now mainly a forest of oaks, The Route passes a beaver pond and returns by way of Old Kings Highway, a grass-covered walk. Also a good site for cross-country skiing and bird watching.
Hours: Dawn to dusk.
Information: http://bit.ly/XjksXI

James L. Goodwin Forest James L. Goodwin Forest

off of Route 6 at 23 Potter Road Hampton, CT

Great for hiking on short or long trails; enjoying nature; a boat ramp is available

The vast trail system on this property -- which includes some managed forest areas -- includes trails with printed brochures that explain the plant life along the trail. Great place for enjoying nature and observing wildlife.
See full description of James L. Goodwin Forest.

Ledyard Glacial Park and Avery Preserve

Entrances at Avery Hill Road, Avery Hill Extension, Whalehead Road Ledyard, CT

Hiking trails dot the landscape of this nature conservancy. Great for bird watching.

Pudding Hill Wildlife Area

Route 97 Scotland, CT

Wildlife area with fishing, hiking and small game hunting.

Science Center of Eastern Connecticut

33 Gallows Lane New London, CT 06320 Phone: 860-442-0391

Can light be bent? Can sound waves be seen? Young and old can explore hands-on exhibits that will answer these questions... and more. Even have a birthday party or bring a group. Located in Connecticut Collage Arboretum with hiking trails and picnic tables. Open Tuesday through Saturday 10 am to 8 pm and Sunday 1 pm to 5 pm. Members FREE. Non-members: Adults $6, children under 12 and senior citizens $4.

Trail Wood

Kenyon Road Hampton, CT

This farm was owned by naturalist and author Edwin Way Teale. There are many nature programs held at the site, as well as three miles of trails for walking.

Trolley Trail and Two Rivers Trail

Cady Lane Plainfield, CT

These one mile trails are terrific locales for bird watching. The trails are on the site of the Quinebaug Valley Trout Hatchery.

Yale Forest

Route 197 Union, CT

Yale University uses this forest for study and field work. Fishing is available in the forest. The blue-marked Nipmuck trail runs through the forest for hiking.

Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center Ansonia CT

10 Deerfield Lane Ansonia, CT 06401 Phone: 203-736-1053

Once a small family-owned dairy farm, the park is laced with two and one-half miles of nature trails. The land encompasses 104 acres of wooded hills and grassy fields bisected by streams, a two acre pond, wet meadows, and an upland swamp. The site is a microcosm of a typical Connecticut landscape, providing sanctuary to many species of New England flora and fauna. A butterfly/hummingbird garden and an award-winning woodland wildflower and fern garden grace the visitor center. Also, soccer, baseball, and softball fields; several acres reserved for community gardening; and a large play scape for younger children.
Hours: Daily sunup to sundown; interpretive center open 9 a.m. t o 5 p.m. daily except on major holidays.
Admission: Free.
Information: ansonianaturecenter.org

Connecticut Audobon Coastal Center

1 Milford Point Road Milford, CT Phone: 203-878-7440

Open: Tuesday - Saturday, 10 am - 4 pm

Set on the Housatonic River and Long Island Sound, this natural haven is one of Connecticut's best bird-watching spots. Admission: $3 adults, $2 children under 13.

Eli Whitney Museum

915 Whitney Avenue Hamden, CT 06517 Phone: 203-777-1833

Museum focusing on Eli Whitney's life, his inventions and his legacy. In addition to historic exhibits, the museum also holds a water learning lab and outdoor study areas. The barn, built in 1816, is the site of special events throughout the year. Hours: HOurs change seasonally; call ahead. Admission: free; charge for programs. Information: www.eliwhitney.org.

Lighthouse Point Park Lighthouse Point Park

Lighthouse Road New Haven, CT Phone: 203-946-8019

Lighthouse tours, water sports, marine biology programs, paddling tours

Along with the usual water sports, this marvelous park jutting into Long Island Sound is centered upon a historic lighthouse. The East Shore Rangers offer tours to the lighthouse and lots of programs for adults and kids in marine biology, sailing, and history of the park. The Rangers have a salt-water touch tank and other aquariums for amateur marine biologists to enjoy.
See full description of Lighthouse Point Park.

Peabody Museum of Natural History (Yale University)

170 Whitney Avenue New Haven, CT 06511 Phone: 203-432-5050

Animals! Birds! Meterorites! Dinosaurs in the Age of Reptiles! Peabody has it all, in fabulous displays. World-class nature history exhibits. See full description of Peabody Museum of Natural History.

West Rock Nature Center

Wintergreen Avenue New Haven, CT Phone: 203-946-6559

 This center sits at the foot of West Rock Ridge and includes 40 acres of woods and fields, and hundreds of different plant species located along interpretive trails that have been strategically located. Wintergreen Brook, with a waterfall, gorge, and pool, moves through the property Good place for bird watching. Picnic grove. Open sunrise to sunset. Map.