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North of Boston/Merrimack Valley are home to nature and science centers

parker river wildlife refuge
Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island

Visitor Center, 6 Plum Island Tpk. Newburyport, MA Phone: 508-465-5753

Parker River National Wildlife Refuge provides feeding, resting, and nesting habitat for migratory birds. Located on the barrier beach of Plum Island, the refuge is comprised of more than 4,700 acres of sandy beach and dune, cranberry bog, maritime forest and shrub land, and freshwater marsh.
Visitors can drive the 6.5 mile long Wildlife Drive and view a variety of habitats including salt marsh, dune, and maritime forest. The Hellcat Interpretive Trail boardwalk includes both a marsh and dune loop. A number of other boardwalks provide access to the refuge’s ocean beach. Note: beaches are closed April 1 through late summer to protect piping plovers). The refuge visitor center has exhibits, an auditorium with an introductory video about the refuge, and a gift shop. Refuge map.
Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary - Topsfield, MA - Photo Credit Mass Audubon
Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

87 Perkins Row Topsfield, MA, 01983 Phone: 978-887-9264

10 miles of trails and an observation tower are set in this natural preserve. - Trail Info & Map
Zookeepers - Stone Zoo - Stoneham, MA
Stone Zoo

149 Pond Street Stoneham, MA, 02180 Phone: 617-541-5466

So many creatures featured in the many environments of this zoo

From snow leopards and black bears to kookaburras and roadrunners, the wildlife at the Stone Zoo reflects the immense variety of the natural world. Start with the special exhibit highlighting efforts to bring back the whooping crane from the edge of extinction, travel on to the Sierra Madre to see cougars, and jaguars; watch the colobus monkeys in their high perches in the Treetops and Riverbeds environment; admire the two-toed sloth in Windows to the Wild and two black bear brothers in the Yukon Creek. In an Animal Discovery Center, children can see an active honeybee hive; in the nature play area, they can climb into an oversized bird’s nest. Check out available zookeeper chats or mystery animal encounters.
Halibut Point State Park - Rockport, MA - Photo Credit MA State Parks
Halibut Point State Park

Gott Avenue Rockport, MA, 01966 Phone: 508-546-2997

Beautiful property above the Atlanic and Ipswich Bay. Enjoy watching shore birds and exploring wildflower areas. This was formerly a granite-quarrying area. On summer weekends, tours of the quarry are offered; these include a demonstration of granite cutting. There are wildflower walks and tide pool education programs in the summer and bird observation tours in the winter. - Park Map (PDF)
Wolf Hollow

98 Essex Road Ipswich, MA Phone: 508-356-0216

Nature center focusing on the American gray wolf, its role in the ecosystem and the environment around it. There is an admission charge.
Robert S. Peabody Institute of Archaeology - Phillips Academy - Andover, MA
Robert S. Peabody Foundation for Archaeology

ar Phillips Academy - Phillips and Main Streets Andover, MA, 01810 Phone: 978-749-4490

Exhibits focus on prehistoric archaeology and anthropology.
Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary - Lincoln, MA - Photo Credit Mass Audubon
Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary

208 South Great Road Lincoln, MA, 01773 Phone: 617-259-2200

Visitors to this nature preserve will enjoy hiking trails, live farm animals and hayrides. During the winter season sleighrides are offered. - Trail Info & Map
Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

Weir Hill Road Sudbury, MA Phone: 978-443-4661

At this sanctuary, visitors can enjoy nine miles of hiking trails, in addition to lectures and other programs in a renovated horse barn.
Sandy Point State Reservation - Ipswich, MA
Sandy Point State Reservation

Parker River Wildlife Refuge, Refuge Road Ipswich, MA Phone: 508-462-4481

Beautiful barrier island and ocean beach for walking, birdwatching

This barrier island and ocean beach at the end of Sandy Point are a beautiful place for walking and observing nature, particularly the aquatic bird life. The piping plover and least tern make their home and nest here. Visitors must enter through the adjacent Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. Parking lots are available. Pedestrians may enter the beach but muse avoid fenced areas to protect birds and dunes. Open sunrise to sunset.