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Zoos, Nature Centers, and Botanical Gardens in the NYC Area

Zoos, Nature Centers, and Botanical Gardens in the NYC Area

Explore zoos, nature centers, and botanical gardens in New York City, Long Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, and the entire New York Metro area.


Explore zoos, nature centers, and botanical gardens in New York City, Long Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, and the entire New York Metro area. Read through our guide to find petting zoos, arboretums, nature preserves, farms and public gardens, all packed with fun nature activities for the whole family. Let your little ones loose to try their hands at zoo feedings and touch tanks, explore wooded trails, and learn about exotic plants. Our comprehensive list includes updated COVID-19 hours, safety info, and regulations.

 

Zoos, Nature Centers, and Botanical Gardens in The Bronx 

 

Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo
Reopening at limited capacity for members only July 20-23 and for the public July 24.
2300 Southern Blvd., Bronx
718-367-1010
Hours: Through Oct. 31: Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm; Saturday-Sunday and holidays, 10am-5:30pm
Admission: $34.95; $28.95 seniors ages 65 and older; $24.95 children ages 3-12; free for children younger than 3. Admission is free on Wednesdays; tickets are released the week of on Tuesdays at 10am on a first-come, first-served basis.
What you need to know: Guests must reserve tickets online for a specific date. Currently, only outdoor exhibits and grounds are open (Congo Gorilla Forest, JungleWorld, Butterfly Garden, Aquatic Birds, Madagascar, Mouse House, World of Reptiles, World of Birds, Zoo Center, and Camel Rides are temporarily closed). All guests ages 3 and older must wear masks or face coverings, in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order. Guests are asked to maintain social distancing guidelines, avoid gatherings, and follow the posted rules and signs. The Bronx Zoo will continually disinfect the park, limit capacity at the zoo, and staff members will adhere to safety guidelines.

Immerse yourself in an animal adventure with the tropical residents inside JungleWorld, get up close with lemurs and crocs in Madagascar!, and see the scaly, spectacular World of Reptiles! Plus, hop a ride on a camel, watch penguins and sea lions enjoy mealtime, and ride the Bug Carousel year-round. 

 

New York Botanical Garden
Outdoor gardens and collections are slated to reopen to the public July 28, but it’s opening July 21-26 for Appreciation Week for Garden Members, Bronx Neighbors, and Bronx Health Care Heroes
Bronx River Parkway at Fordham Road
718-817-8700
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-6pm; Members-only hours: 10am-11am; last at 4pm
Admission: Garden Pass: $22; $19 seniors and students (with valid ID); $8 children ages 2-12; free for children younger than 2 and members. New York City Resident Grounds-Only Pass: $15; $7 seniors and students (with valid ID); $4 children ages 2-12; free for children younger than 2 and members.
What you need to know: All guests will have to reserve a timed ticket in advance to control capacity. All staff and visitors older than 2 will be required to wear masks and hand sanitizing stations and social distancing measures have been put in place. Only outdoor gardens and collections are open.

The New York Botanical Garden is one of the largest gardens of any in the United States, containing more than 1 million plants. Kids can explore the world of plants by participating in Nature Explorers Programs, drop-in gardening activities, and more. 

Zoos, Nature Centers, and Botanical Gardens in Manhattan

American Museum of Natural History: The Butterfly Conservatory
AMNH is currently closed due to the coronavirus.
Central Park West at 79th Street, Upper West Side,
212-769-5100
Hours: Currently closed, but you can virtually tour the museum and participate in virtual field trips.
Admission: $28; $22.50 seniors and students; $16.50 children ages 2-12 (includes museum admission) 
Enter a re-created tropical forest environment filled with more than 500 live butterflies.

Wildlife Conservation Society's Central Park Zoo
Reopening at limited capacity for members only July 20-23 and the public July 24.
64th Street and Fifth Avenue, Central Park
212-439-6500
Hours: Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm (last entry: 4:30pm); Saturday-Sunday and holidays, 10am-5:30pm (last entry: 5pm).
Admission: $13.95; $10.95 seniors; $8.95 children ages 3-12; free for children younger than 3
What you need to know: Guests must reserve tickets online for a specific date. Currently, only outdoor exhibits and grounds are open. All guests ages 3 and older must wear masks or face coverings, in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order. Guests are asked to maintain social distancing guidelines, avoid gatherings, and follow the posted rules and signs. The Central Park Zoo will continually disinfect the park, limit capacity at the zoo, and staff members will adhere to safety guidelines.

This zoo has daily feedings of the sea lions at 11:30am, 1:30pm, and 3:30pm. You can also visit penguins at the Polar Circle exhibit and see snow leopards. The exotic indoor Tropic Zone is home to many species of free-flying birds as well as reptiles and lemurs. Admission includes entry to the Tisch Children’s Zoo, where kids can feed and pet goats, sheep, llamas, and other domestic animals. 

The Met Cloisters 
Closed, but currently scheduled to reopen in September.
99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Fort Tryon Park
212-923-3700
Hours: Currently closed.
Admission (suggested): $25; $17 seniors; $12 students; free for children younger than 12 (when accompanied by an adult)

A medieval annex of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cloisters were designed based on horticultural information found in medieval treatises and poetry, garden documents, and works of art. A central garden is set in a courtyard with arcaded walkways, while another garden area contains nearly 300 plant species that were grown during the Middle Ages. A third, smaller garden blooms with flowers through the fall. The Cloisters regularly hosts programs and workshops for kids and families; check the website for upcoming events.

Conservatory Garden in Central Park 
The Conservatory Garden is open, but tours and public programming are cancelled.
Central Park, entrance on Fifth Avenue at 105th Street, East Harlem
Garden Hours: May to Aug. 14: daily, 8am-8pm; Aug. 15-31: daily, 8am-7:30pm; September: daily, 8am-7pm; October: daily, 8am-6pm; November-February: daily, 8am-5pm; March-April, 8am-6pm.
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Face masks or coverings are required and social distancing must be maintained. Bring hand sanitizer with you so you can clean your hands if necessary.

This 6-acre garden features French, Italian, and English designs. Seasonal plants include 40,000 tulips each spring and 2,000 Korean chrysanthemums each fall. An Italian Central Garden features crabapple trees, wisteria, and a lush lawn. The English-style South Garden, planted to be enjoyed year-round, features the Burnett Fountain, depicting a young boy and girl based on characters from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. 

Manhattan in Bloom
City parks are open, but all tours and public programming are canceled.
Parks across Manhattan, such as Theodore Roosevelt Park, Riverside Park, and Jackie Robinson Park
Hours: April-September: daily, sunrise-1am
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Face masks or coverings are required and social distancing must be maintained. Bring hand sanitizer with you so you can clean your hands if necessary.

Every month, new flowers and trees bloom in these parks and others across the city. Plants such as crocus, daffodil, butterfly bush, Asiatic lilies, roses, Hollyhock, cherry trees, and many more can be seen and smelled by all.

Zoos, Nature Centers, and Botanical Gardens in Queens

Alley Pond Environmental Center 
The nature center is closed.
224-65 76th Ave, Oakland Gardens 
718-229-4000
Hours: Currently closed.
Admission: FREE; donations accepted

The center is an aquatic and terrestrial habitat and nature preserve that features a learning center and environmental laboratory. The center offers animal, science, and nature programs for both children and adults. The site also hosts weekly events, including nature walks, workshops, and an Evening with the Stars astronomy program. Pre-registration is required for all events. There is also a small live animal room that has a variety of smaller ambassador animals. 

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park 
The park grounds are open, but all buildings are closed.
Grand Central Parkway, Whitestone Expressway (Between 111 Street and College Point Blvd., Park Drive E), 
718-760-6565
Hours: daily, 6-1am; hours for facilities within the park vary.
Admission: Free, but admission varies for the various institutions in the park.
What you need to know: Face masks or coverings are required and social distancing must be maintained. Bring hand sanitizer with you so you can clean your hands if necessary.

At 897 acres, it’s the largest park in Queens, which means there’s plenty of recreational space. The park is home to the Queens Zoo, Queens Museum, Queens Botanical Garden, New York Hall of Science, Arthur Ashe Stadium (home of tennis’ U.S. Open), Queens Theatre, Citi Field (home of the Mets), an aquatic center, an ice rink, a carousel, seven playgrounds (including a wheelchair-accessible playground for kids with all abilities), and two lakes. In the summer, trees and flowers in bloom include the Cornelian cherry tree, forsythia, redbud tree, roses, and other planted beds. Paddleboat, kayak and bike rentals are also available in the park at Ederle Terrace.

Forest Park 
The park and golf course are open, but the carousel remains closed.
Myrtle Avenue, Union Turnpike, Park Lane South between Brooklyn-Queens County Line and Park Lane, Forest Hills/Woodhaven. A good place to park: Seuffert Bandshell, Forest Park Drive (behind the carousel), Woodhaven.
718-235-0815
212-360-1311 (press number)
Hours: Daily, dawn to dusk, unless otherwise posted; golf course: daily, sunrise to sunset
Admission: FREE, excluding golf course and carousel rides
What you need to know: Face masks or coverings are required and social distancing must be maintained. Bring hand sanitizer with you so you can clean your hands if necessary.
In this large, multi-neighborhood park, there is a golf course, carousel, seven playgrounds, a picnic area, hiking trails, and a walking and bike trail that weaves through the entire park. Visitors can also explore the park on horseback. 

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge 
The park and trails are open, but the visitor’s center remains closed. 
After North Channel Bridge on 175-10 Cross Bay Boulevard, Broad Channel
718-318-4340
Hours: Trials open sunrise to sunset daily; visitor center open daily, 9am-5pm (summer hours). 
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Public programs are canceled, but you can still walk the trails. Masks and social distancing are required.

A 1.75-mile loop trail features views of West Pond, Jamaica Bay, and an osprey nest. A shorter trail, a little less than a mile, features views of East Pond and bird life. There is a wide variety of programs offered at the site, including presentations on seasonal wildlife, sunset tours, hikes, boat trips, family programs, a monthly book club, and an annual lecture series; check the website for details. 

Queens Botanical Garden 
Garden reopened July 21, with limited operating hours and reduced capacity, but the Visitor & Administration  Building (Gift Shop and Gallery) and other indoor facilities will be temporarily closed until further notice.
43-50 Main St., Flushing
718-886-3800
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday: 10am-4pm; Free hours: Wednesday, 3-4pm, and Sunday, 10-11am. Timed entry ticket reservations strongly encouraged for free hours.
Admission: $6; $4 seniors; $4 students with ID; $2 children ages 4-12; free for children 3 and younger and members. Free for all Wednesdays 3-4pm and Sundays 10-11am; group rates: 10 percent off for groups of 10 or more
What you need to know: Visitors must wear masks and maintain 6 feet of social distance from others in order to enter and remain in the garden. Violators will be escorted out. Masks are available for purchase at garden entrances. Hand sanitizer dispensers are available at multiple stations throughout the garden. High-touch surfaces are disinfected throughout the day. Entrances may be temporarily closed when and if the garden is at capacity. 

Includes the Queens Rose Garden, Green Roof Plant Collection, Fragrance Walk (shrubs, perennials, and bulbs that are especially fragrant during the growing season), Children’s Garden, Bee Garden, and other thematic gardens and historic plantings. Visitors can see a variety of different plants in bloom each month. The garden regularly hosts programs that demonstrate environmental stewardship, promote sustainability, and celebrate the rich cultural connections between people and plants. Children ages 2-14 can get involved in seasonal, hands-on gardening experiences year-round. Visit queensbotanicalgarden.org/kidsprograms for more information. The Farmer’s Market is open every Friday from 8:30am-4pm located at the Corner of Main Street and Dahlia Ave. 

Queens County Farm Museum 

Reopening on Sunday, Aug. 2 to walk the grounds, take a hayride, shop in the store, feed the goats, and meet the farmers.
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Glen Oaks
718-347-3276
Hours: Currently closed.
Admission: FREE, except on special event days

The farm is the longest continuously farmed site in New York City. The site includes historic farm buildings, livestock, farm vehicles and implements, planting fields, an orchard, and an herb garden. Each month offers new events and programs. Seasonal farm stand is open both in the park’s front gate and at the Jamaica Hospital farm stand. 

Wildlife Conservation Society's Queens Zoo
Reopening at limited capacity for members only July 20-23 and the public July 24.
53-51 111th St., Corona
718-271-1500
Hours: through October: Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm (last entry: 4:30pm); Saturday-Sunday and holidays, 10am- 5:30pm (last entry: 5pm).
Admission: $9.95; $7.95 seniors; $6.95 children ages 3-12; free for children younger than 2
What you need to know: Guests must reserve tickets online for a specific date. Currently, only outdoor exhibits and grounds are open. All guests ages 3 and older must wear masks or face coverings, in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order. Guests are asked to maintain social distancing guidelines, avoid gatherings, and follow the posted rules and signs. The Queens Zoo will continually disinfect the park, limit capacity at the zoo, and staff members will adhere to safety guidelines.

Besides being home to a wide variety of wildlife—from penguins, to mountain lions, to Andean bears—that visitors can view at their leisure, the zoo also offers a walk-through aviary and hands-on learning experiences for kids with an emphasis on wildlife conservation. Young children can also relax and explore in the Discovery Center, which offers projects and special activities along with a library full of animal-themed storybooks and games, a microscope and fossils, and a crafts station. Plus, watch California sea lions Taylor and Butch flip for fish during their 11:15am, 2pm, and 4pm feeding times at the sea lion pool in the center of the zoo. 

Socrates Sculpture Park 
32-01 Vernon Blvd. (at Broadway), Long Island City
718-956-1819
Hours: daily, 9am to sunset (unless otherwise posted)
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Visitors must maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other visitors while at the park, and cover nose and mouth with a mask at the park unless you can assure that you remain 6 feet away from other visitors at all times. All regular park rules and regulations also remain in effect during this time. In particular, dogs must remain on a leash at all times at Socrates. Those found in violation of this rule will be fined.

This outdoor park features large-scale sculptures and hosts free weekly summer workshops for children, in which they can work with a different artist each week (workshop schedule is posted online). Popular family programs include Queens Green Day on June 2 and the Summer Solstice Celebration on June 21. Hellgate Farm will offer a weekly Saturday farm stand at Socrates.  

Zoos, Nature Centers, and Botanical Gardens in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Botanic Garden 
Scheduled to reopen for an Exclusive Member Appreciation Week July 31-Aug. 6, and will reopen to the public Aug. 7.
990 Washington Ave., Crown Heights
718-623-7200
Hours: Tuesday-Wednesday and Sunday: 10am-6pm; Thursday-Saturday:10am-8:30pm; Members’ Summer Evenings: Wednesdays, 6-8:30pm. Specialty gardens begin to close 30 minutes before closing time. The garden asks visitors to limit stay to 3 hours to allow others to enjoy the garden. 
Admission: Tickets will be available to reserve beginning Monday, July 27. During the garden’s first few weeks reopened, tickets will be free for all.
What you need to know: The garden will have new contactless entrance, reduced capacity in order to support physical distancing, and a face-covering requirement for all visitors older than 2. Each visitor, including members and children younger than 12, will be required to have an advance ticket to enter the garden. Tickets will be timed and visitors will select a specific entrance gate when reserving their ticket, out of three possible entrances, to avoid the risk of crowding. Indoor spaces are closed. Bring your own water.

A 52-acre 'living museum” with various plant collections and special gardens, BBG strives to teach visitors the importance of plants in our everyday lives. Must-see May highlights include Bluebell Wood, the Lilac Collection, tulips in the Annual Border, and azaleas and wisteria in the Osborne Garden. Check bbg.org/bloom for updates on what’s in bloom. BBG also hosts nature-based educational programs and camps for young children and their caregivers year-round, including a children's garden program, discovery garden for kids, and summer camps. 

Brooklyn Heights Promenade
Brooklyn Queens Expressway between Joralemon Street and Grace Court, Brooklyn Heights
212-639-9675
Hours: Daily, dawn to 1am
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Visitors must wear face masks or coverings and maintain social distance. 

This scenic/historic walking area features views of Staten Island, Governors Island, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the South Street Seaport, Fulton Fish Market, and the Brooklyn Bridge. From April through September, see spring and summer trees and flowers in bloom, including azalea, daffodil, forsythia, Japanese skimmia, lily-of-the-valley, tulip, coral bells, and more.

Fort Greene Park 
Myrtle Avenue and De Kalb Avenue between Washington Park and St. Edward’s Street, Fort Greene
Park Office: 718-722–3218
Conservancy Office: 917-971-8290
Hours: daily, 5am-1am 
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Visitors must wear face masks or coverings and maintain social distance. 
 

Visit the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, which towers over the crypt where more than 11,000 people who died in the Revolutionary War are buried. The park also includes a basketball court, playgrounds, tennis courts, sloping hills, and majestic trees.

Prospect Park 
The park is open, but the Lefrak Center at Lakeside is closed.
95 Prospect Park West
718-965-8999 (events hotline) or 718-965-8951 (general info).
Hours: Daily, 5am-1am. Woodlands, playgrounds, and the Parade Ground close at sunset. Park attractions have varying hours.
Admission: FREE park admission.
What you need to know: Visitors must wear a face mask or covering and practice social distancing by keeping 6 feet away from others. 

This 585-acre park includes a 90-acre meadow, 60-acre lake, and Brooklyn’s only forest. It’s also home to four hiking trails; trail guides are available at the Audubon Center. The Audubon Center at the Boathouse, dedicated to wildlife preservation and natural education, hosts interactive nature programs for kids and adults, including scavenger hunts, bird watching tours, opportunities to see animal feedings, and nature play activities. Lakeside transforms the southeast corner of the park into a popular scenic and recreational destination. Lefferts Historic House (currently closed for renovations) is located in the park’s Children’s Corner, near the carousel and Prospect Park Zoo (see following entry), and encompasses a working garden, historic artifacts and documents, and period rooms and exhibits. Visitors can engage in pre-colonial activities such as candle making, sewing, butter churning, and children can engage in games played by their peers more than 100 years ago. 

Wildlife Conservation Society's Prospect Park Zoo
Reopening at limited capacity for members only July 20-23 and the public July 24.
450 Flatbush Ave., Prospect Heights
718-399-7339
Hours: through October: Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm (last entry: 4:30pm); Saturday-Sunday, and holidays, 10am-5:30pm (last entry 5pm). 
Admission: $9.95; $7.95 seniors; $6.95 children ages 3-12; free for children younger than 3
What you need to know: Guests must reserve tickets online for a specific date. Currently, only outdoor exhibits and grounds are open. All guests ages 3 and older must wear masks or face coverings, in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order. Guests are asked to maintain social distancing guidelines, avoid gatherings, and follow the posted rules and signs. The Prospect Park Zoo will continually disinfect the park, limit capacity at the zoo, and staff members will adhere to safety guidelines.

Meet a troop of Hamadryas baboons and watch their antics; experience various types of animal habitats, including gardens, marshes, and scrubland; visit the Barn & Garden area, where you’ll find farm animals like sheep, cows, and llamas; and watch some high-fiving sea lions catch fish on the fly at 11:30am, 2pm, and 4pm daily in the Sea Lion Court.

Salt Marsh Nature Center
Trails open but the nature center remains closed and public programs have been canceled.
3302 Avenue U, Marine Park
718-421-2021
Hours: trail: daily, sunrise to sunset
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Visitors must wear a face mask or covering and practice social distancing. 

The center houses nature exhibits and fish tanks for viewing. It serves as a starting point for walking tours and workshop sites for nature-themed educational programs.

Underwood Park 
Lafayette Avenue between Waverly and Washington avenues, Clinton Hill
Hours: daily, 5am-1am 
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Visitors must wear a face mask or covering and practice social distancing. 

As one of Brooklyn’s most blossom-filled parks, Underwood features daffodil, forsythia, flowering dogwood, mountain laurel, rose, butterfly bush, black-eyed Susan, and more in the spring and summer seasons. The park has two playground areas and public chess and checkers tables.

 

Zoos, Nature Centers, and Botanical Gardens in Rockland County

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland Education Center
In-person events are cancelled, offices are closed to the public, and services are still running. 
10 Patriot Hills Drive, Stony Point
845-429-7085
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm
Admission: FREE tour of the gardens on the last Sunday of each month (April–October) at 1pm; prices vary for other educational programs.

The Master Gardener Volunteers of Rockland County design and maintain eight demonstration gardens at the CCE Rockland Education Center, including ferns, herbs, ornamental grasses, native plants, a cutting garden, and a container garden. Educational programs for children include 4-H youth development, gardening classes and workshops, and a horticulture lab. Horticulture lab is open, and you can drop off samples to have your plants identified. 

Rockland Lake State Park 
299 Rockland Lake Road, Valley Cottage (pool entrance: 153 Rockland Lake Road)
845-268-3020
Hours: park: daily, dawn to dusk. Pool: Monday-Friday, 10am-5:45pm; Saturday-Sunday, 11am-6:45pm
Admission: FREE. Pool: $3. Parking is $8 from early April through late October.
What you need to know: The pool is open with limited capacity. Once you leave the pool complex, you’ll have to join the line to re-enter. Visitors are asked to maintain social distance and wear a face mask when social distancing is not possible. Parking in some lots will be reduced.

Rockland Lake State Park’s lake is located on a ridge of Hook Mountain, above the west bank of the Hudson River. It is home to many species of fish, including largemouth and smallmouth bass, and birds such as eagles, water birds, and songbirds. The park has a 3.2-mile bicycle path. The pool will open on May 27 and be open weekends and holidays through Sept. 4 (also open weekdays, 10am-5:45pm, late June through late August). Pets are not permitted May through September 30. Pets are permitted on leash (maximum 60’) through March, but pets are not permitted on paved paths.

 

Zoos, Nature Centers, and Botanical Gardens in Orange County

 

Bear Mountain Trailside Museums and Zoo
The zoo and bathrooms are open, but the museum and offices remain closed. You can only park by the main entrance near the pool, other gates are closed   
Bear Mountain State Park, Palisades Interstate Parkway and Route 9W (55 Hessian Lake Drive, Highland Falls)
845-786-2701 x265
Hours: daily, 10:30am-4:30pm
Admission: FREE, but $1 donations are appreciated. Parking is $10.
What you need to know: Park is limiting the capacity of the zoo to maintain social distance. Wear a mask or face covering, except children younger than 2 and people with certain health conditions. Maintain social distance of 6 feet. Wait for other visitors to move from congested areas. Do not touch common surfaces, including rails. Wash hands and use hand sanitizer. Drinking fountain has been turned off for safety. Only access is via entrance near the pool.

Enjoy paved walking trails, scenic views of the Hudson River, and learn about plants and animals native to New York State. All the animals here are either permanently injured or orphaned and would not be able to survive in the wild. Trailside has four museums: The Reptile and Amphibian House is home to turtles, snakes, frogs, toads, salamanders, and skinks, as well as many species of fish. The Nature Study Museum houses specimens originally created by the Museum of Natural History to educate people about animal identification. Visitors can learn about geologic formations of the Hudson Highlands in the Geology Museum and local Native American and early settler culture in the History Museum. 

Hudson Highlands Nature Museum 
The grounds are open, but buildings and restrooms remain closed.
Outdoor Discovery Center: 120 Muser Drive (across from 174 Angola Road), Cornwall
845-534-5506
Wildlife Education Center: 25 Boulevard, Cornwall-on-Hudson
845-534-7781
Hours: Trails: Saturday-Sunday, dawn to dusk. Grasshopper Grove: Saturday-Sunday, 10am-4pm. Wildlife Education Center: Currently closed. Outdoor Discovery Center visitor center is open weekends, 10am-4pm. 
Admission: Wildlife Education Center: $3; free for children 2 and younger. Outdoor Discovery Center: $3; free for children younger than 2. 
What you need to know: Grasshopper Grove is open 45-minute play sessions by appointment only. Guests are asked to practice proper social distancing, and pack everything out (tissues, bags, wrappers, etc.) you bring in. Wear a mask when social distancing is not possible. Dogs are not allowed.  

The Nature Museum includes the two centers listed above, 3 miles apart, along with pond, field, and woodland hiking trails. Visitors can participate in weekly interactive programs, events, and activities, all with a basis in environmental education and conservation, for toddlers, adults, and everyone in between. The Outdoor Discovery Center is the home base for the museum’s Young Naturalist Preschool, Summer Science and Nature Camp, and Grasshopper Grove, the Hudson Valley's first nature playground. The Wildlife Education Center houses live native animals, where visitors can get an up-close look at the wildlife at the Meet the Animals programs on Saturdays and Sundays at 1pm and 2:30pm. They can also learn and play in the new Birds on the Wing interactive exhibit in the Ogden Gallery.  

Sterling Forest State Park 
The park is open, but the visitor center remains closed.
116 Old Forge Road, Tuxedo
845-351-5907
Hours: Daily, dawn to dusk. Bathrooms: daily, 8:30am-4pm. Visitor center is currently closed.
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Visitors must wear masks when social distancing is not possible.
The park offers a variety of hiking trails with scenic views of hills, valleys, and lakes. The Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Visitor Center overlooking Sterling Lake features exhibits about the local environment and history. Lectures and hikes are led by the nonprofit organization Friends of Sterling Forest.
 

Zoos, Nature Centers, and Botanical Gardens in Westchester County

Sarah Lawrence College Center for the Urban River at Beczak 
Outdoor space is open, but indoor facilities remain closed.
35 Alexander St., Yonkers
914-377-1900 x12
Hours: daily, dawn to dusk
Admission: FREE, but donations are appreciated. Program prices vary.
What you need to know: Visitors are asked to maintain proper social distancing and wear a mask when that isn’t possible.

Center for the Urban River at Beczak features a riverside park, sandy beach, and tidal marsh. It offers educational programs for children, adults, and groups about rivers, local beaches, marshes, fish, birds, and the weather. The Interpretive Center presents interactive exhibits, seasonal displays, and an aquarium with Hudson River species. ecaref@sarahlawrence.edu

Cranberry Lake Preserve
The park is open, but the nature center temporarily closed. 
1609 Old Orchard St., West Harrison
914-428-1005
Hours: daily, dawn to dusk. 
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Visitors must wear face masks when social distancing is not possible. One-way traffic is in place on paths and trails to promote social distancing. Parking lots may close intermittently on high-volume days.

This 190-acre park includes a variety of habitats, including a 4-acre lake, cliffs and scrubland, mixed hardwood forest, vernal pools, and a pond. Visitors can follow the History Trail to the remains of a 19th-century farmhouse and early 20th-century stone-mining operation. The nature center offers free family-oriented nature programs on most weekends and houses a variety of interactive, educational displays. The preserve also offers a summer ecology program for children in first through ninth grades.

Greenburgh Nature Center
Grounds and outdoor exhibits are open, but the manor house and playground are closed.
99 Dromore Road, Scarsdale
914-723-3470
Hours: Grounds: daily, dawn to dusk.
Admission: $7; $6 seniors and students; $5 children ages 2-12; free for children younger than 2

The Greenburgh Nature Center is a nonprofit nature preserve and wildlife refuge with a mission to ignite passion, curiosity, and respect for our natural world. Its 33-acre property includes hiking trails, a pond, organic garden, nature discovery playground, native plant meadow, and more than 100 rescued and rehabilitated animals. It also offers nature and sustainability education programs, seasonal camps, and weekly programs for kids. Dogs not allowed on the property. 

 

Lasdon Park, Arboretum and Veteran’s Memorial
Trails and gardens are open for walking, but the Conservatory and Veteran’s Museum are closed. The shop is open for limited purchases Wednesday-Saturdays, for pickup by online ordering.
2610 Amawalk Road (Route 35), Katonah
914-864-7263
Hours: Park and Veteran's Memorial: daily, 8am-4pm. Garden Shop hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 8am-3:30pm.
Conservatory admission: Monday-Friday: $5; $2 for children 12 and younger; Saturday-Sunday: $7; $3 for children 12 and younger
What you need to know: Rules for social distancing must be observed at all times. Parking lots may close intermittently on high-volume days



This 234-acre property consists of woodlands, open grass meadow, and formal gardens with flower and shrub specimens from all over the world. The park includes the William and Mildred Lasdon Memorial Garden, the azalea garden, the dinosaur garden, the 4-acre Chinese Friendship Pavilion, the Famous and Historic Tree Trail, the 22-acre Mildred D. Lasdon Bird Sanctuary, Garden Shop, and four memorials and a museum honoring veterans. The park offers botanical art classes, a plant sale, a Halloween train show in October, and a Christmas train show in December. There is also a summer concert series Friday evenings in July, weather permitting. 

Lenoir Preserve
Grounds and trails are open, but the nature center and other indoor facilities remain closed.
19 Dudley St., Yonkers
914-968-5851
Hours: Trails: daily, dawn to dusk. 
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Masks are required when social distancing is not possible.

The 40-acre nature preserve is home to many species of birds, plants, and trees from around the world. Summer is a prime time to visit the butterfly garden, hummingbird garden, and dragonfly pond.

Marshlands Conservancy
Trail is open, but the nature center building is temporarily closed.
220 Boston Post Road, Rye
914-835-4466
Hours: Trails and grounds: daily, dawn to dusk.
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: One-way traffic is in place on paths and trails. Parking lots may close intermittently on high-volume days. 

The 147-acre wildlife sanctuary borders 23 acres of Jay property and is comprised of forest, meadow, salt marsh, and shore. There are 3 miles of trails and ½ mile of shoreline along the Long Island Sound. The nature center displays a small number of changing exhibits and saltwater aquaria containing representative species of marine life and offers environmental programs to schools and other groups by registration. The conservancy also offers a summer ecology program for children and a conservationist-in-training summer program for kids in grades 7-9. 

Muscoot Farm
Trails are open, but the farm complex and buildings are closed.
51 Route 100, Katonah
914-864-7282
Hours: daily, 10am-4pm 
Admission: FREE; small fee for groups.
What you need to know: Masks or face coverings are required when social distancing is not possible.

Originally a 'gentleman’s farm,’ Muscoot comprises the original barns and farm buildings, including the main house, dairy barn, ice house, corn crib, wagon shed, farm museum, blacksmith shop, and 7 miles of diverse hiking trails. It is home to cows, sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens, horses, and pigs (visit the newborn animals in the spring for a special treat). Muscoot also offers a variety of programs and special events for families throughout the year, including a farmers market (10am-3pm every Sunday from May through October). Group tours are available, and farmyard visits and hayrides are available by reservation. Public hayrides are offered on Sunday afternoons ($2), weather permitting, May through October. Young Farmer’s Camp Program (grades 1-8) during summer gives children the opportunity to learn about the farm and the animals that reside on Muscoot. Children will collect eggs, milk cows, groom animals, and bake traditional Muscoot recipes.

Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary and Nature Center
The sanctuary grounds are open, but the Nature Center remains closed.
100 Playland Parkway, Rye
914-967-8720
Hours: Trails open daily dawn to dusk
Admission: FREE; parking fee in effect May-October
What you need to know: Masks or face coverings are required when social distancing is not possible.

Three miles of trails navigate through the 179-acre sanctuary, which is full of diverse marine life, both plants and animals. The park also has views of Long Island Sound and Manursing Lake and a nature center building. Educational programs are offered through the nature center. Please call or visit the website for updates.

Rye Nature Center
Grounds and trails are open, but  buildings, playgrounds and programs remain closed.
873 Boston Post Road, Rye
914-967-5150
Hours: Trails: daily dawn to dusk
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Guests are asked to maintain a 6-foot distance between you and others, visit alone or with members of immediate family or household, make space for others in the park, and protect yourself and other visitors while on the trails by warning others of your presence when passing. Access to bathrooms is unavailable.

With 47 acres of wildlife preserve, the Rye Nature Center has ponds, bee observation hives, and hiking trails. Kids ages 3½-13 can enroll in a summer ecology camp June-August, and preschoolers and kindergarteners can do a weeklong June Bug program to learn about animals on the trails throughout June. A Paddle Adventure kayaking camp is also offered during the summer for kids in eighth through 10th grades. 

Sheldrake Environmental Center 
Trails are open; visit website for updates on events.
685 Weaver St., Larchmont
914-834-1443
Hours: Daily, dawn to dusk 
Admission: Free for hiking; program fees vary
What you need to know: Masks are required when social distancing isn’t possible.

Located at the 60-acre Larchmont Reservoir, Sheldrake offers hiking trails and environmental programs for families and schools. The School Group programs combine in-class discussion with on-site visits to one of three local sites: Larchmont Reservoir, Sheldrake River Trails, or Dog Beach. At summer and vacation week camps, children explore the trails, investigate pond life, and search for animals in nature’s playground. Adults programs include composting and volunteer environmental education. 

Teatown Lake Reservation
The grounds are open, but the visitor’s center and restrooms are closed.
1600 Spring Valley Road, Ossining
914-762-2912
Hours: Trails: daily, dawn to dusk
Admission: FREE; program prices vary; $5 parking on weekends
What you need to know: Programs will be held outdoors. Participants are required to wear face masks, and to practice physical distancing. Parking tags are required Friday-Sunday and holidays, 9am-5pm until November. 

This 1,000-acre nature preserve hosts nearly 15 miles of marked hiking trails. The nature center contains nature education exhibits and a variety of amphibians, birds of prey, mammals, and reptiles. Wildflower Island, a 2-acre island sanctuary located within Teatown Lake, is home to more than 230 native and endangered species of wildflowers; guided tours available (by reservation) Saturdays at 10am and 1pm, Sundays at 1pm from April through September. Teatown offers a Natural Science Summer Day Camp throughout the season in four two-week sessions, and mini camps are offered during school breaks.  

Trailside Nature Museum at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation
Trails are open, but the museum is closed.
Routes 35 and 121, Cross River
914-864-7322
Hours: Trails: daily, dawn to dusk 
Admission: FREE; car fees: $5 with Park Pass; $10 without Park Pass
What you need to know: Masks or face coverings are required when social distancing isn’t possible.

Museum exhibits focus on aspects of the natural world along with the human history of Ward Pound Ridge Reservation and the surrounding area. Specimens of birds, mammals, plants, insects, and minerals are on display. The reservation features a wildflower garden behind the museum and 40 miles of hiking trails through a variety of habitats. You can pick up a trail map at the museum or download it from the website. The museum offers interpretive nature programs for children and adults.

Weinberg Nature Center and Trailside Museum
Trails are open, but the nature center and museum are closed. 
455 Mamaroneck Road, Scarsdale
914-722-1289
Hours: Trails: daily, dawn to dusk.
Admission: FREE, but donations are appreciated; program fees vary
What you need to know: Woodland Native American Encampment in repair, will reopen soon. Masks are required when social distancing is not possible.

The Weinberg Nature Center sits on 8½ acres of conservancy property and is home to an array of animals. There are student art displays, a toddler activity area, a rock, fossil, and mineral exhibit, as well as Native American lifestyle items. You can visit the Woodland Native American encampment with a wigwam, dugout canoe, and more for hands-on interactive activities. Weinberg also has an outdoor pre-release enclosure for squirrels. Weinberg’s trails include the Homestead, Discovery, Geology, and Terrell Trail. 

Westmoreland Sanctuary
Trail system and museum are open to the public.
260 Chestnut Ridge Road, Mount Kisco
914-666-8448
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:15am-5pm; Saturday-Sunday, 9am-5pm. Trails: daily, dawn to dusk.
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Masks are required, and guests must practice social distancing.

This 640-acre sanctuary features more than 7 miles of trails, plus a museum and nature center. The sanctuary offers public programs for children and adults such as seasonal nature hikes, bird walks, turtle study, and pond study.

The Wolf Conservation Center
The center is temporarily closed and public programming has been canceled.
7 Buck Run, South Salem
914-763-2373
Hours: Call or register online to arrange a visit.
Admission: Varies by program

The Wolf Conservation Center promotes wolf conservation by teaching about wolves, their relationship to the environment, and the human role in protecting their future. Visitors can observe gray wolves in spacious natural enclosures. A variety of age-appropriate daytime and evening programs for children and adults are offered (online registration required).

Zoos, Nature Centers, and Botanical Gardens in Nassau County

Clark Botanical Gardens
The gardens and restrooms are open, but the shop and Clark House remain closed.
193 I. U. Willets Road, Albertson
516-484-2208
Hours: Garden: daily, 10am-6pm; restrooms: daily, 10am-3pm
Admission: Donations appreciated
What you need to know: Visitors must wear masks and follow social distancing rules.

A 12-acre living museum and educational facility dedicated to understanding and appreciating the world’s plant life through horticulture, education, and research. Garden collections include conifers, roses, perennials, daylilies, wetland plants, rock garden plants, herbs, butterfly plants, medicinal plants, and more than a dozen collections of particular plant families. The garden offers regular programs for families and children (registration required).

Garvies Point Museum & Preserve
All facilities are open.
50 Barry Drive, Glen Cove
516-571-8010
Hours: Museum: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm. Preserve: daily, 7am-7:30pm.
Admission: $4; $2 children ages 5-12; free for children younger than 5 with an adult
What you need to know: Masks are required in buildings. Admissions will take place in the foyer through a glass window with one group allowed in the foyer at a time. Use of credit cards will be encouraged. One family group is allowed in the foyer, gift shop, and exhibit alcove at a time. Three to 4 family groups are allowed in the museum at a time. Visitors are requested to limit time in the museum to 1½ hours, if necessary. Bathrooms will be cleaned daily (as always) and any additional times as necessary. Hand sanitizer pumps available at entrance and throughout the museum.

A 62-acre site set along Hempstead Harbor, Garvies Point has permanent exhibits and educational programs about Long Island and New York state geology and Long Island Native American culture and archaeology. Exhibits cover a variety of natural history subjects, including the glacial exhibit, which illustrates and explains the formation of contemporary land features. The Discovery Room is an interactive Native American-themed exhibit for kids in second grade and below. No dogs allowed.

Old Westbury Gardens
The gardens, Café in the Woods, and restrooms by the parking lot are open. The gift shop remains closed.
71 Old Westbury Road, Old Westbury
516-333-0048
Hours: through Oct. 31: Monday and Wednesday-Friday, 11am-6pm; Saturday-Sunday, 10am-5pm
Admission: $12; $10 seniors; $7 children ages 7-17; free for children 6 and younger
What you need to know: There is a limited capacity for how many visitors can enter the grounds per hour. All visitors must reserve or purchase admission tickets in advance. Guests must maintain 6 feet of social distance between household groups; wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible, unless a face covering is not medically tolerated; follow the route indicated by white arrows and signage.

This historical site features a Gold Coast mansion among 200 acres of formal gardens, landscaped grounds, woodlands, ponds, and lakes. Summer activities include outdoor concerts, the Long Island Scottish Festival (Aug. 25), and environmental educational programs that teach children about plants, wildlife, and agriculture.

Planting Fields Foundation
Grounds for walking are open. Greenhouses and mansion are closed.
1395 Planting Fields Road, Oyster Bay
516-922-8600
Hours: 9am-5pm daily
Admission: $8 per car, April 1 through Labor Day. Parking fee waived.
What you need to know: Open for walking, no bikes or scooters

This site is home to one of the few remaining Gold Coast estates on Long Island’s North Shore to retain its original 409 acres of historic buildings and landscape. Families can visit rolling lawns, formal gardens, hiking trails, and specimen plantings as well as the Camellia Greenhouse and the Main Greenhouse, which have seasonal displays. The grounds are both wheelchair- and stroller-accessible.

Science Museum of Long Island
Open for science camps only.
1526 N. Plandome Road, Manhasset
516-627-9400
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30am-3:30pm
Admission: Varies by program
What you need to know: Open for science camps only.

A science activity center located on the Leeds Pond Preserve, this museum offers hands-on science workshops and summer camps for children. All programs and workshops are by registration only.

 

Tanglewood Park and Preserve
Open. Museum open by reservation only.
1450 Tanglewood Road, Rockville Centre
516-764-0045
Hours: Park is open 9am-5pm daily; Center for Science Teaching and Learning is open Wednesday-Sunday 10am-4pm
Admission: Park: free; Museum: $15 for anyone 13 years or older
What you need to know: Museum is open by reservation only. Wear a mask when you cannot maintain social distancing.

The 17-acre park and preserve allows families to enjoy a lovely nature trail and a beautifully renovated brick walkway surrounding a pond. The pond permits fishing (children ages 16 and younger are not required to have a fishing license). Tanglewood also houses the nonprofit educational organization Center for Science Teaching and Learning, which hosts regular science learning programs for kids. Exhibits are closed until the fall.

Zoos, Nature Centers, and Botanical Gardens in Suffolk County

The Animal Farm Petting Zoo
296 Wading River Road, Manorville
631-878-1785
Hours: Temporary hours: 11am-5pm daily, weather permitting.
Admission: $15.50; $13.50 children ages 2-16 and seniors
What you need to know: Follow social distancing rules

This 10-acre park allows you to pet and feed most animals. See a large selection of rare and unusual monkeys, parrots, llamas, wallabies, reptiles, and other exotic animals. Bottle-feed baby pigs and hand-feed baby goats. There are also free pony rides, a musical puppet show, playgrounds, and the Safari Tour Train ($2.50).

Bayard Cutting Arboretum
Arboretum is open. Manor house and hidden oak cafe are closed.
440 Montauk Highway, Great River
631-581-1002
Hours: Arboretum: April-October: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm; November-March: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-4pm
Admission: FREE. $8 parking fee per car
What you need to know: Restrooms are open on the outer side of the Manor House, a mask or face covering is required to enter the restrooms.

Located along the Connetquot River, the arboretum contains more than 690 acres of meadows, centennial oaks, and brightly colored nature walks among rhododendron and swamp cypress. Don’t miss the Pinetum—it has one of Long Island’s largest collections of fir, spruce, pine, and hemlock trees. The arboretum is also home to many varieties of bird species.

Bridge Gardens
Gardens open. Buildings and facilities closed to the public.
36 Mitchell Lane, Bridgehampton
631-238-3195
Hours: 10am-4pm, daily
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Guests are asked to practice social distancing of a minimum of 6 feet, wear a mask or face covering in public places, and avoid crowds. If the gardens or trails are crowded, and you can not maintain social distancing, please come back at another day or time.

Bridge Gardens is a unique, 5-acre public garden in the heart of Bridgehampton. Not only are there traditional gardens of seasonal flowers and herbs, there are also unique garden mazes, a knot garden, and beds of culinary, medicinal, ornamental, textile, and dyeing herbs. Learn how herbs and plants are cultivated and used in kitchens, hospitals, and factories. Walk through the garden paths and enjoy its diverse plantings, including a rose garden and a water garden.

Brookhaven Ecological Site and Animal Preserve/Holtsville Park and Zoo
Temporarily closed
249 Buckley Road, Holtsville
631-758-9664
Hours: Open through May 26: Monday-Friday 9am-3pm; Saturday-Sunday 10am-3pm; May 27-Sept. 24: 9am-4pm daily
Admission: Parking department parking sticker and fees apply May-October

The Brookhaven Ecological Site offers walking and exercise trails, a community gardening lot, and goats to feed at the Animal Preserve. Food is provided to feed the goats for 25 cents a handful. With more than 100 animals to see, the Brookhaven Ecological Site features American bald eagles, American black bears, bobcats, buffalo, and more. Children’s educational classes are available all year-round. This spring, children ages 3-5 can participate in gardening classes on select days. Please call or visit the website for more programs and information.

Caleb Smith State Park Preserve
581 W. Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown
631-265-1054
Hours: 8am-4pm Wednesday-Sunday, year round except holidays
Admission: FREE. Parking Fee waived. Interpretive Program still closed.
What you need to know: Masks are required when social distancing is not possible.

Most of the preserve’s 543 acres are undeveloped, allowing views of its many different habitats, including freshwater wetlands, ponds, streams, fields, and woods. The preserve is a refuge for wildlife and its diverse habitats support a variety of trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and ferns. It offers hiking opportunities, trout fly fishing ($25 per session; must have a permit and proper fishing gear), and also operates a nature museum with wildlife displays and nature programs for children and adults. Must call and make a reservation for fly fishing and programs.

Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery & Aquarium
Exhibits and grounds open at limited capacity. Fishing open by reservation only.
1660 Route 25A, Cold Spring Harbor
516-692-6768
Hours: daily, 10am-5pm daily; extended weekend hours (10am-6pm) June–August;
Fishing reservation appointment times: Friday-Tuesday, 10am-12pm and 1-3pm.
Admission: $7; $6 seniors; $5 children ages 3-12; free for children ages 2 and younger and members
What you need to know: Restrictions include limited patron/visitor presence, a distance of at least 6 ft. is maintained among individuals, visitors wear face coverings

This nonprofit center is dedicated to educating visitors about the freshwater ecosystems of New York. It has the largest living collection of New York state freshwater reptiles, fish, and amphibians. Tour two aquarium buildings and eight outdoor ponds, or feed the hungry trout.

Long Island Aquarium
Outdoor habitats, dining, and outdoor shopping are now open.
431 E. Main St., Riverhead
631-208-9200 x426
Hours: daily, 11am-4pm except Christmas and Thanksgiving
Admission: Aquarium tickets (includes exhibition center): $35; $26 seniors; $23 children ages 3-12; free for children 2 and younger. Memberships available.
What you need to know: All adults are required to wear masks, you can buy masks at the aquarium. They are having reduced attendance. Purchase tickets online. There is a one-way flow through the aquarium. guests must reserve a date and time for their visit.

Features one of the largest all-living coral reef displays in this hemisphere, a 120,000-gallon shark tank, year-round sea lion shows, numerous touch tanks, butterflies from all over the world, and more than 100 exhibits and interactive experiences, including Shark Dive, Penguin Encounter, Pirate Snorkel, and Shark Keeper.

Long Island Game Farm Wildlife and Children’s Zoo
Outdoor parks, animal exhibits, nursery, animal keeper feedings, emus, ring-tailed lemur feeding, and education station are open. Rides and indoor exhibits are still closed.
489 Chapman Blvd., Manorville
631-878-6644
Hours: May 23-Sept. 3: daily, 10am-5pm
Admission: $16.95; $14.95 children, seniors, and military personnel; free for children 3 and younger
What you need to know: Tickets are available at Ticket Booth by credit card or cash. Hand washing stations throughout. Restrooms open. Gift shop open with limited times. Visitors must wear a face mask and practice social distancing.

The facility is home to a variety of animals including giraffes, kangaroos, cougars, lemurs and a variety of farm animals.

 

Suffolk County Farm and Education Center
Open
350 Yaphank Ave., Yaphank
631-852-4600
Hours: daily, 10am-5pm; last admission sale is at 4pm
Admission: $16.95; $14.95 seniors and children ages 3-11; free for children younger than 3 are free. Donations accepted.
What you need to know: No outside food, coolers, or lunches are allowed. The park is not offering rentals of wagons or wheelchairs. Visitors older than 2 must wear a face mask or covering. Social distancing between families is required.

Youth development programs are available to children of all ages, including hands-on learning activities taught by professionals. The farm features a seasonal butterfly house, a nature explore classroom, weekend wagon rides, and an animal discovery area. Summer camp and birthday party options are also available for children all ages. Check the website for more information on programs.

Sweetbriar Nature Center
Grounds are open with limited use. Nature Center is closed. Butterfly House is closed.
62 Eckernkamp Drive, Smithtown
631-979-6344
Hours: Nature Center open 9am-4:30pm daily; Butterfly House open 10am-4pm daily (June through September)
Admission: Free for preserve (donations accepted). Butterfly House: $5; $3 seniors and children younger than 12; free for children 2 and younger
What you need to know: Offering virtual and some in-person, socially distant events. Summer programs are limited. Visit the website for more information

The center is located on 54 acres, with nature trails winding through diverse areas that include wetlands, fields, and forests along the Nissequogue River. It is home to a large wildlife rehabilitation center, public gardens, a nature museum, simulated rainforest room, and the Butterfly House that contains about 20 species of native North American butterflies and moths. There are also public programs, school break programs, scout programs, and birthday parties.

Uplands Farm Nature Sanctuary
Open
The Nature Conservancy, Long Island Chapter
250 Lawrence Hill Road, Cold Spring Harbor
631-367-3225
Hours: Grounds open dawn to dusk daily
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Guests must wear masks when social distancing isn't possible. The preserve offers visitors the chance to enjoy a variety of natural habitats and native species. Nearly 2½ miles of marked trail meanders from bird and butterfly meadows, through deciduous forests, and into a white pine-shaded ravine.The trail begins in the sanctuary's most popular attraction—the vast wildflower meadows which provide important habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals, including milkweed, goldenrod, and dozens of butterfly species. Bird species associated with this type of habitat are Eastern Bluebird, Tree Swallow, and Blue-winged Warbler. Groundhogs have also become common on the preserve, so visitors can look for them feeding along the edge of the meadow along the Daniel P. Davison trail.

Zoos, Nature Centers, and Botanical Gardens in Fairfield County, CT

Audubon Center of Greenwich
The trails are open, but buildings, facilities and restrooms are closed for the time being.
613 Riversville Road, Greenwich?
203-869-5272
Hours: Trails open sunrise to sunset daily; center open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
Admission: $3; $1.50 children and seniors, $6 suggested donation
What you need to know: Guests are asked to follow social distancing guidelines.

The center’s walking trails span 7 miles and 285 acres, past lakes, ponds, and rivers. The center also has bird blinds, which are spots to watch for birds—including the center’s many species of hawks—where they can’t see you.

Bartlett Arboretum
The trails and garden are OPEN
151 Brookdale Road, Stamford?
203-322-6971; bartlettarboretum.org
Hours: Grounds are open daily, dawn to dusk. Check website for hours of operation for individual buildings.
Admission: $6, Free; children under 12 are free; Wednesdays are free to all guests
What you need to know: Visitors must follow CDC guidelines when entering the trails, stay six-feet apart

The arboretum features extensive gardens and a collection of plants and trees, as well as hiking trails in the woodlands nearby.

Connecticut Audubon Society Nature Center?
The center is open for outdoor programs, and the store is open Monday-Saturday, 10am-2pm.
2325 Burr St., Fairfield?
203-259-6305
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-3pm
Admission (suggested): $2; $1 children
What you need to know: Guests are asked to maintain proper CDC social distancing guidelines.

The birds of prey compound is a viewing area for raptors. The center also includes a sanctuary, wigwam replicas, and hiking trails and is home to animals like snakes, turtles, and millipedes.

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo?
Buildings and playgrounds are closed, but outdoor exhibits and restrooms are open.
1875 Noble Ave., Bridgeport?
203-394-6565
Hours: 9am-4pm daily; closed major holidays
Admission: $14; $10 seniors and children ages 3-11; free for children younger than 3
What you need to know: There are regularly cleaned restrooms open in two locations: the Front Gate and the Peacock Cafe. You are required to wear a mask at all times and you must bring your own, as the zoo is not selling masks. Tickets must be reserved in advance as the zoo looks to keep capacity at 50 percent or lower. You can purchase a ticket for 1 of 2 timeslots: 9am-12pm or 1-4pm.

The zoo includes the New England Farmyard, Wolf Observation Learning Facility, and South American Rainforest exhibits, with more than 300 animals representing mainly North and South America. Plus, keep a lookout for the peacocks wandering about!

Darien Nature Center?
Building is still closed for the summer, but trails are open.
120 Brookside Road, Darien
203-655-7459
Hours (summer): Trails: daily, sunrise to sunset
Admission: Minimum $5 donation suggested
What you need to know: Visitors are asked to practice social distancing guidelines while on the trails.

The center features a small trail system, ideal for kids; a pond with ducks; and rotating exhibits as well as a permanent exhibit with more than 40 animal species.

Earthplace?
The grounds are open and there is some free, walk-in outdoor programming, but the building is closed.
10 Woodside Lane, Westport?
203-557-4400
Hours: Grounds: daily, 7am to dusk
Admission: $7; $5 seniors and children younger than 12; free admission to the grounds, $5 suggested donation to all non-members
What to know: storytime every weekday at 10:30am, bird of prey feeding at 11am weekdays, masks are required

With a mission to educate the community about nature and the environment, Earthplace offers 62 acres of wildlife sanctuary, which include hiking trails, an interactive natural history museum with live animals, and public nature programs and events. For kids, there’s the Explorer’s Clubhouse, Tiny Tree House, Nature Lab, Backyard Resource Center, and Nature Theater.

Nature Conservancy’s Devil’s Den Preserve?
The preserve is closed until further notice.
33 Pent Road, Weston
203-226-4991
Hours: Sunrise to sunset daily
Admission: FREE
The preserve is the largest tract of protected land in Fairfield County. It offers more than 20 miles of trails, acts as a habitat to about 40 bird species, and holds the remains of charcoal and lumber production sites. The area is deeply wooded, with rock formations, streams, and swamps.

New Canaan Nature Center?
The trails and grounds are open, but the visitor’s center is closed.
144 Oenoke Ridge, New Canaan?
203-966-9577
Hours: Visitor center and greenhouse: Tuesday-Saturday 9am-4pm; Birds of Prey, Arboretum, and Gardens: dawn to dusk daily. Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Guests are asked to follow social distancing guidelines.

The center includes 2 miles of hiking trails on the grounds, which include wet and dry meadows, two ponds, wet and dry woodlands, dense thickets, an old orchard, and a cattail marsh. The center also encompasses seven aviaries in its Birds of Prey exhibit, a world of bees exhibit, an arboretum full of native and nonnative trees, several specialty gardens including a Wildflower Garden and The Bird and Butterfly Garden, and a 4,000-square-foot greenhouse featuring exotic species of flora.

Stamford Museum & Nature Center?
Most programs are open, but the Overbook Nature Center, HeckscherWILD!, and the Nature & Me Preschool are still closed.
39 Scofieldtown Road, Stamford?
203-322-1646
Hours: Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday 11am-5pm
Admission: $10; $8 seniors; $6 students (with ID); $5 children ages 4-17; free for children 3 and younger. Observatory: $3; $2 children.
What you need to know: Anyone older than 4 must wear a mask at all times, wash your hands at a handwashing station before you touch any animals. Maintain social distancing and monitor children closely.

The center is a New England working farm with heirloom breeds of animals, an otter pond, an observatory with a 22-inch research telescope, changing exhibition galleries, a planetarium, early education classrooms, and a vast hardwood forest with 80 acres of hiking trails.

Woodcock Nature Center
The trails are open, but the nature center, playgrounds, restrooms, and offices are closed to the public.
56 Deer Run Road, Wilton
203-762-7280;
Hours: Trails: Monday-Friday, 3:30pm to dusk (the trails are closed to the public during summer camp hours); Saturday-Sunday, dawn to dusk
Admission: FREE
What you need to know: Visitors must maintain proper social distancing while on trails. Stay on marked trails and don’t disturb wildlife.

The Center sits on 149 acres with trails, boardwalk trails, a pond, live animals and birds of prey. It offers environmental education programs and summer programs for kids.

 

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