The 9 Best Nature Centers in New York!

Whether you’re seeking educational activities for your family or acres of hiking trails to immerse yourself in, New York State has plenty of nature centers to meet your desires. From beautiful marine parks in Brooklyn, to immaculate preserves much further north, New York’s natural diversity is something to experience. Here are the 9 best nature centers in the state. 

1. Tanglewood Nature Center, Elmira, NY

Tanglewood Nature Center encompasses nine miles of Finger Likes walking paths, a museum with 43 species of animals, and winter activities like snowshoeing. Admission is free year-round but donations are accepted.

2. Salt Marsh Nature Center at Marine Park, Brooklyn, NY

There are 530 acres of land to be explored at this Brooklyn nature center. Enjoy outdoor nature trails or simply overlook the bay from inside the beautiful glass education center, where kids check out the exhibits and learn about wildlife.

3. Tifft Nature Preserve, Buffalo, NY

With five miles of nature trails and over 200 miles of boardwalk, marshland, ponds, and hiking trails make Tifft Nature Preserve a great bird watching spot and natural retreat near Buffalo.

4. Mashomack Preserve, Shelter Island, NY

Covering a large portion of Shelter Island, Mashomack contains some of the best wildlife there is to be seen on Long Island. The island has an extremely large population of wild ospreys, who come there to nest each year.

5. The Wild Center, Tupper Lake, NY

This rustic Adirondack nature center contains 81 acres of woods to explore, a museum with live animals, and the brand-new “Wild Walk,” which is a pathway built above the trees.

6. Henry Luce Nature Observatory at Belvedere Castle, New York, NY

Located in a gorgeous old castle in Central Park, Henry Luce Nature Observatory allows kids to borrow binoculars and get a bird’s eye view of the natural surroundings. Inside, there are plenty of exhibits with artifacts to explore.

7. Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center, Voorheesville, NY

This educational center provides visitors with the opportunity to see a live working beehive, view birds and fossils, or set out on foot or skis along Thacher State Park’s many trails.

8. Jamestown Audubon Sanctuary, Jamestown, NY

Drawing nearly 30,000 visitors a year, this 600-acre wildlife sanctuary has plenty to offer explorers, including hiking trails, exhibits, picnic areas, and educational programs.

9. Minna Anthony Common Nature Center, Fineview, NY

Resting on a 600-acre peninsula in the St. Lawrence River, Minna Anthony Common Nature Center offers stunning vistas wherever you look. Try the miles of hiking and skiing trails, check out the glacial potholes along the Eel Bay trail, and pay a visit to the butterfly house.

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