To help balance out our otherwise active lives, sometimes we must escape into nature. And there isn’t quite a better place to do that than Massachusetts. The Bay State has an abundance of stunning natural spaces just waiting to be explored. Nature centers, science centers, sanctuaries and preserves all provide the public with educational but exciting experiences with our surrounding habitat. Here are our 10 favorite nature centers in the state.
Located on the shores of Smiling Pool in East Sandwich, the Green Briar Nature Center provides access to nature’s beauty and educational programs year-round. Walk the interpreted nature trails and enjoy the stunning wild flower garden in season.
Educating the public about the natural and cultural aspects of the South Shore, the South Shore Natural Science Center is set on 30 acres that are surrounded by another 200 acres of town conservation land. Visitors are welcome year-round to enjoy the outdoors and learn about environmentalism and stewardship inside of the center.
You can find the Boston Nature Center & Wildlife Sanctuary just outside of Boston, where the Boston State Hospital was once located. The urban sanctuary features trails and boardwalks that lead visitors through both meadows and wetlands. Year-round programs for both adults and children foster a true appreciation for nature.
Overlooking the Slocum River estuary, the Lloyd Center for the Environment Nature Center and Preserve was created to raise awareness about protecting the fragile Massachusetts coastline and its resources. Also featuring a collection of live local reptiles, the center features a touch tank for both adults and children, as well as walking trails and environmental programs of interest to all.
Known for educating people about the environment, the Hitchcock Center for the Environment leads an average of 8,200 people—from children through adults—through programs that are focused on local nature and the environment. Featuring an environmental educational center that just opened this fall, the Hitchcock Center aims to foster a sense of responsibility in everyone toward nature.
Located in the Wyman Woods Conservation Area, the Hamond Nature Center focuses on children, hosting day camp and summer programs to teach kids about nature. The area is accessed via Everett Paine Boulevard, and is a favorite of area families for hiking and spending quality time in nature.
Sharing the excitement and wonder that stems from nature is the goal of the Walnut Hill Tracking & Nature Center. Their curriculum, taught by guest instructors, provides opportunities for deep exploration. Trackers and ecologists share their knowledge with those who sign up for the many programs offered.
Featuring a hiking trail that is accessible from March through October, the Stony Brook Nature Center & Wildlife Sanctuary offers an audio tour and some of the best opportunities for bird watching in the state. The boardwalk is currently closed for repairs, so check the website to keep abreast of its reopening. Programs at the center include family science, ocean life, and evening wildlife.
Featuring a nature center with programs on birding, ecology for kids, and the history of owls, the Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary offers something for everyone. Their avid community outreach aims to educate all about wildlife research and conservation, in addition to a healthy love of the great outdoors.
Featuring 80 acres of uplands, fields, a marsh, and a beaver pond, the Sherburne Nature Center is where everyone in the region goes to learn about nature. The center features exhibits and an abundance of learning programs throughout the year. Explore on your own or take part in one of their educational endeavors.