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Science and nature attractions in Fairfield CT can enrich your vacation

Emperor Geese - Beardsley Zoo - Bridgeport, CT
Beardsley Zoo

1875 Noble Avenue Bridgeport, CT, 06610 Phone: 203-394-6565

More than 300 animals, and lots of activities, waiting for you at this terrific zoo

If variety is the spice of life, things are really heating up at the Beardsley Zoo, where visitors can see and learn about more than 300 animals, from newts and desert scorpions and boa constrictors to pygmy goats, bison, red pandas, leopards and two-toed sloths. Many endangered and threatened species are featured, including the Siberian tiger, ocelot, red wolf and giant anteater. Programs for children, from tots to teenagers, are offered, as well as scavenger hunts with special themes like animal habitats, and hikes. You can grab a bite to eat at the Peacock Cafe or enjoy your lunch outdoors in the Picnic Grove. The zoo also offers strollers for rent and fun rides on a colorful carousel.
Greenwich Ct audubon
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.
Hours: Open daily; year-round.
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.
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
Mianus River Preserve & Park / Cary Road Nature Preserve / Mianus Pond

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.
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/
Lucius Pond Ordway - Devil's Den 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.
Connecticut Audubon Society Birdcraft Museum and Sanctuary

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.
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). Check website for hours and admission fees. Information: www.stamfordmuseum.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.
Boothe Memorial Astronomical Society

Boothe Memorial Park, 5800 Main Street Stratford, CT Phone:

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. ‎
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/
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/
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.
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.