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Explore wonderful nature & science centers with your kids in Boston & Cambridge

You and your family can stay close to Boston’s magnificent natural habitats on a family vacation to see Boston’s fine nature museums. There’s wildlife from around the world in two fabulous zoos, and wildlife refuges with self-guided nature walks, a trailside museum, programs and more. A forest lies hidden in a rich ecosystem with rare species of flora, while a renowned arboretum serves as the center of New England’s plant science. Browse a native plant botanical museum , and enjoy a park that offers fishing, public swimming, and picnic areas.
Harvard Peabody Museum of Natural History Marine Life Cambridge MA
Harvard Museum of Natural History

26 Oxford Street Cambridge, MA, 02138 Phone: 617-495-3045

A breathtaking look at the vivid colors of nature & history

Don’t leave Boston without exploring the 16 galleries in this family-friendly museum displaying 500 taxidermy animals -- elephant, rhino, hippo, tiger, bison, even a 15-foot giraffe -- not to mention huge whale skeletons. Dinosaurs include the skull of one of the first Triceratops ever discovered. Don’t miss the Pteranodon and the world’s only mounted skeleton of the 42 ft.-long Kronosaurus. Explore a timeline of Earth’s history, and admire 3,000 rare minerals, meteorites, and gemstones. New and changing multi-media exhibitions showcase cutting-edge research. Harvard’s most-visited museum is an easy 8-minute walk across the historic campus from Harvard Square’s shops, restaurants and T stop. The museum is connected to Harvard’s Peabody Museum, and one admission fee covers both museums.
Franklin Park Zoo Lion Boston MA
Franklin Park Zoo

One Franklin Park Road Boston, MA, 02121 Phone: 617-541-5466

Learn about nature while having a the time of your life at this Boston zoo

At the Franklin Park Zoo, 72 acres in the “crown jewel” of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace park system, visitors can learn about the natural world and its immense variety of inhabitants while having a great time. Creatures featured range from the delicate butterflies of Butterfly Hollow to colorful budgies in the Aussie Aviary (you can feed them from seed sticks), African lions in the Kalahari Kingdom, zebras and wildebeests at Serengeti Crossing, gorillas and hippos in the Tropical Forest and kangaroos along the Outback Trail. Zookeeper chats and behind-the-scenes tours and other programs are educational and fascinating, as are strolls through the zoo’s organic garden, where food is sustainably grown for zoo inhabitants, and a visit to the Franklin Farm’s petting zoo.
native plant trust
Native Plant Trust

180 Hemenway Road Framingham, MA Phone:

This organization operates six native plant sanctuaries in New England: the Annie Sturgis Sanctuary, Harvey Butler Rhododendron Sanctuary, and Robert P. Tristram Coffin Wild Flower Reservation, all in Maine; the Hobbs Fern Sanctuary and Plainfield Sanctuary, both in New Hampshire; and the Eshqua Bog in Vermont.
wildflower gardens of Massachusetts
Garden in the Woods

180 Hemenway Road Framingham, MA, 01701 Phone: 508-877-7630

This enchanting "hidden" forest is full of a rich ecosystem, including many rare species of flora. You can even purchase some of the plants to root your own magic garden at home. See full description of Garden in the Woods
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Stony Brook Nature Center

North Street Norfolk, MA Phone: 508-528-3140

This nature center includes a self-guided hiking trail. An extensive boardwalk system lets you walk along the edge of Teal Marsh.
Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary

280 Eliot Street Natick, MA Phone: 508-655-2296

At this sanctuary, visitors can enjoy nine miles of hiking trails, in addition to lectures and other programs in a renovated horse barn.
Arnold Arboretum

125 Arborway Jamaica Plain, MA, 02130 Phone: 617-524-1718

Research plant biology in the arboretum's library or listen to scientists talk about Asian flora; if you're looking for New England's center of plant science, you've found it. See full description of Arnold Arboretum
Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary

293 Moose Hill Street Sharon, MA Phone: 617-784-5691

The Massachusetts Audubon Society operates this nature center, the oldest in the state founded in 1916. There is an admission charge.
Stony Brook Reservation

Turtle Pond Parkway Hyde Park, MA Phone: 617-698-1802

A 475-acre park and wildlife refuge, featuring fishing areas, biking and hiking trails, public swimming, and picnic areas. Programs are scheduled there throughout the year.
Blue Hills Trailside Museum

1904 Canton Avenue Milton, MA Phone: 617-333-0690

Museum offers hiking trails, live animals and regularly scheduled programs. There is an admission charge.
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