Running Wild Last Updated: April 2023

Where to go when the kids just need to run wild? Luckily, there are many places in the state where you and the kids can head out into the woods and fields. There are dozens of nature centers in Connecticut which allow you to explore the outdoors and wildlife — but the following offer some special pleasures.

Check out this comprehensive list of nature centers

Working Farm

The 118 acres of the Stamford Museum & Nature Center is a wonderland for young (and older) lovers of nature. There’s a museum with 4,000 square feet of exhibition space, an 18-acre working farm, an observatory, nature center, playground and interpretive trail system. Kids of all ages are taken into consideration here, and the calendar bursts with events.

Miles of Trails

Roaring Brook Nature Center in Canton is a member of the Children’s Museum family. You’ll find live animals and mounts of local animals in the main building, a replica of an Eastern Woodland Indian longhouse, a beaver habitat and more. Get outside for five miles of trails and a refuge that’s home to more than 150 bird species. Check out local plants, wildflowers and animal activities.

Bug Hunts

Manchester’s highly regarded Lutz Children’s Museum oversees the activities at the nearby Oak Grove Nature Center, a 52-acre preserve featuring a pond, covered bridge and walking trails. The museum’s programs onsite include bird searches, bug hunts and the doings many years ago of the local Podunk Tribe of Native Americans.

Wildlife Workshops

Kids wondering what they can do to have a positive impact on the future of Connecticut’s wildlife and other natural resources might well benefit (and greatly enjoy) a visit to Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area in Burlington. Here, the state Department of Energy & Environmental Protection runs regular programs, demonstrations and workshops pertaining to wildlife and natural resource management – as well as miles of hiking trails. Due to Covid-19, programming may be limited. Check back frequently for updates on events and guidelines, and be sure to enjoy the hiking trails!

Shoreline Life

Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic is a 300-acre preserve that offers eight miles of trails for hiking, walking and excellent birding near the shoreline. The nature center also offers a museum and small meadow theater, live reptiles, amphibians and birds of prey. There are also on-site picnic areas.

Creature Features

Looking for more? Make new animal friends at these spots the whole family will love.