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Science and nature attractions in Hartford CT can enrich your vacation

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

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.

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.

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

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.

Shenipsit Trail

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

Open: Year round.

Several blazed hiking trails are situated on this site.

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.

Metacomet Trail

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

Open: Year round

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

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.

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.

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, $21.95; seniors above age 65, $19.95; youth ages 3 to 17, $14.95. Information: www.ctsciencecenter.org

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

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

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

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.

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/

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.

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.