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Central Massachusetts/Sturbridge are home to nature and science centers

Reptile Exhibit 500x250 - Southwick's Zoo - Mendon, MA
Southwick’s Zoo

2 Southwick Street Mendon, MA, 01756 Phone: 800-258-9182

Learn about animal ecology, behaviors – and have fun! – at New England’s largest zoo

Day trips to Southwick’s Zoo offer explorers the opportunity to discover the world around them. With hands-on experiences and interactive exhibits, everyone will leave with a greater understanding and appreciation for the animals and ecosystems of our planet.
Whether observing the majestic African Lions, exploring the North American Exhibit on a trip aboard the Woodland Express Train, or learning about conservation efforts for endangered species at the EARTH Discovery Center, a trip to Southwick’s Zoo is an unforgettable experience for guests of all ages. Hear from one of our keepers during a chat about animal behaviors, and watch as birds take flight during a Bird Show. With so much to see and do, visit Southwick’s Zoo!
The Butterfly Place

120 Tyngsboro Road Westford, MA, 01886 Phone: 978-392-0955

Massive glass atrium building contains up to 500 butterflies of 50 species from around the world. Display cases in the observation area contain butterflies at various stages of development. This area also includes a 15-minute video describing the life cycle of a butterfly. At the Show & Tell Bench, staff members discuss these fascinating creatures. Gift shop features Papillon Hatching Kits.
Central Sanctuaries

226 Union Street Leominster, MA Phone: 781-259-9500 Toll-Free: 800-AUDUBON

Maintained by the Massachusetts Audubon Society, these four separate preserves offer visitors ample opportunity for wildlife observation and study. Nature programs are scheduled throughout the year. There is an admission charge.
Webster Lake

Other than being a nice lake to visit, this lake is notable for an unusual reason--it's native American name is Lake Chargoggagomanchaugagochaubunagungamaug. The translation: "I fish on my side, you fish on yours, and no one fishes in between us."

Fisher Museum of Forestry

Route 32 Petersham, MA Phone: 508-724-3302

This unique museum focuses on the topography of New England's countryside and how it has been affected throughout the 18th, 19th and, 20th centuries. Hiking trails lead from the center out into the forest. There is an admission fee.
Purgatory Chasm State Reservation

198 Purgatory Road Sutton, MA Phone: 508-234-3733

Purgatory Chasm is a split between granite walls rising as high as 70 feet. It is a quarter-mile in length. Enjoyed by picnickers and rock-climbers. The Chasm was formed by the release of glacial meltwater about 14,000 years ago. Trails lead to a wide variety of rock formations, like The Corn Crib, The Coffin, The Pulpit, Lovers' Leap and Fat Man's Misery. Restrooms are wheelchair accessible.