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Parks, Nature & Wildlife

Away from our vibrant metropolitan area lies a less touched landscape teeming with wildlife and natural wonders. From rock chasms to snowy mountains, crystal lakes to deep woodlands, Central Mass offers the chance to explore them all. Local parks and reservation lands provide spectacular opportunities to view nature in its unspoiled realm. Sometimes penetrating the bubble of city life and taking a breath of fresh air is all one needs to feel revitalized, refreshed, and rejuvenated.

222 Harrington Way, Worcester, MA 01604 - (508) 929-2700

An urban oasis of woodlands and wetlands, the EcoTarium is a unique indoor-outdoor museum that allows for discovery of the wonders of the natural world. It offers three floors of interactive exhibits, extensive grounds, and a digital planetarium. Meet live animals, stroll interpretive trails, ride the train, or walk among the treetops 40 feet above ground. Seasonal outdoor café and Museum Store located on-site. Rentals are available after 5pm for up to 250 guests. Year round events and exhibits. Live at Sunset summer outdoor concert series, June-July.

102 Prospect Hill Rd, Harvard, MA 01451 - (978) 456-3924

Museum - Historic/Heritage: Immerse yourself in the heritage, nature, and art of a New England treasure. Scenic Fruitlands offers four intimate galleries of New England history plus a charming restaurant, and museum store. Set on 200 pastoral acres, with 2.5 miles of walking trails and stunning vistas, Fruitlands is a favorite for weddings and special events.

Fruitlands Museum celebrates four distinct groups all of whom found a spiritual connection to the land: the historic home of Bronson Alcott’s transcendental experiment, where Louisa May Alcott and her family lived in 1843; a gallery of Native American folklore and artifacts; the first Shaker museum in the country; and an art gallery with a large collection of Hudson River landscapes, American portraiture and seasonal exhibits.

Restaurant: Linger over lunch at Fruitlands Museum Cafe, a farm to fork restaurant operated by the folks from Gibbett Hill Restaurant in Groton, MA and exclusive caterer for weddings and special events.

Gift Shop: Browse NOA at Fruitlands gift shop, with handmade jewelry and unique gifts from local craftsman. Group, Education and Bus Tours welcomed.

One Depot Square, Woonsocket, RI 02895 - (401) 762-0250

The John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor stretches 48 miles from Worcester, MA to Providence and Narragansett Bay in RI. Designated as the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, it features historic mills, mill villages, farms, a historic canal under restoration, a bike path along the river, museums, farmers markets and visitor centers, offering visitors a unique blend of history, multi-ethnic culture, natural beauty and recreation.

414 Massasoit Rd, Worcester, MA 01604 - (508) 753-6087

Broad Meadow Brook is the largest urban nature sanctuary in New England. With over 400 acres, featuring more than five miles of marked trails, we offer year round outdoor opportunities plus indoor nature exhibits, gift shop, book store, and meeting space. We offer a wide variety of educational programs for all ages, including schools, community groups, preschool, homeschool, birthday parties, vacation week, van tours, canoe programs, and our popular summer nature camps. Rental facilities available.

EDUCATION: Broad Meadow Brook, the largest urban wildlife sanctuary in New England, offers a wide variety of education programs and services to help connect people of all ages with the nature of Massachusetts. Programs are hands-on, interactive, and engaging. We specialize in school, scout, homeschool, preschool, and community group programs; guided nature walks; educational birthday parties; slide presentations; professional development for teachers and youth leaders; van tours; canoe programs; vacation week programs; and summer nature camp.

MEETINGS: Broad Meadow Brook has facilities available for rental by private and public groups, with flexible seating for up to 50 people. We offer a unique, natural setting for business meetings, workshops, and social events. Take advantage of all a 400-acre wildlife sanctuary has to offer, including a beautiful Conservation Center, with  picnic area and deck; over four miles of marked trails for hiking, leaf peeping, wildlife observation, and snowshoeing; and engaging natural exhibits. Guided nature walks available.

SHOPPING: Shop for unique, nature-related items in the gift shop of Broad Meadow Brook, the largest urban wildlife sanctuary in New England. Many of the items are handcrafted locally and all profits support our educational and land conservation programs. Children’s books and toys, field guides, educational books, nature-themed clothing, jewelry, mugs, soaps, note cards, music, crafts, and specialty items. Mass Audubon members save 10%.

1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA 01581 - 508-389-6311

Experience the wild side of Central MA on 45 state wildlife management areas throughout Worcester County. Owned by the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) a host of recreational opportunities are available to wildlife watchers, freshwater anglers, hunters, hikers, and boaters. Enjoy wildlife through education and skills workshops for youths and adults, wildlife walks and other events, and through publications such as pond and wildlife management area maps, wildlife guides, and fact sheets.

287 Oak Street, Uxbridge, MA 01569 - 508-278-7604

River Bend Farm is a recreation area, Visitor's center with an interpretive history exhibition as well as a Heritage State Park, created out of the former Voss farm, and located at 287 Oak Street, Uxbridge which extends into Northbridge, Millville and Blackstone, too.
There are trails, picnic areas, canoe access, watchable wildlife, interpretive tours, special programs and even Sunday summer concerts. The Visitor Center is open daily during daylight hours offering tourism literature and often, a park ranger. There are very special events that take place at River Bend during the year, Maple sugaring in March, the Greenway Challenge, the Colonial Muster weekend in October and much more.
River Bend Farm is a great place to roam/kayak/hike and view the scenic confluence of the old Blackstone Canal, the old arch bridge, the Rice City Pond and the old Stanley Woolen Mill down the canal path.

2 Southwick St, Mendon, MA 01756 - (800) 258-9182

Spend the day viewing the most diverse zoological collection, interactive exhibits, and endangered animals in naturalistic habitats at New England's Largest Zoo. Get up close and personal in the walk-thru deer forest, petting zoo, and parakeet landing.

Have a picnic under the shady canopy of New England Oaks, ride the Woodland Express Train, or enjoy an up lifting experience on the Safari sky ride. Kiddie rides, shows, gift shops, and great food venues abound throughout the park. Southwick's is a family fun filled day for all ages, and perfect venue for your special occasion, event, or corporate outing.

The Purple Peacock Gift Shop @ Southwick's Zoo  features unusual gifts from around the world - see their listing under gift shops.

499 Mountain Rd, Princeton, MA 01541 - (978) 464-2300

Wachusett Mountain offers an expanded base lodge featuring Mountain Suites, new easy-to-ride carpet lifts, a total of 22 trails, and nearly 110 acres of terrain for all abilities. Night skiing daily till 10 pm; 100% snowmaking; Mountainside Ski Shop; demo center; full-service restaurant; cafeteria; plus rental shop and ski/snowboard school. Off-season, Wachusett hosts fun fall festivals and is ideal for corporate and private outings. Ski and stay packages available at the Wachusett Village Inn. Conveniently located in Princeton, just 20 minutes from Worcester. Take I-190 North to Exit 5, follow Route 140 North to ski area.