The Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic is a small, but fun natural history museum and wildlife sanctuary. The birds of prey exhibit is our favorite, you’ll always hear a chorus of “oohs” and “ahhs” coming from the hawk and owl enclosures. Not only will your kids learn something, but they’ll get exercise out on the 8 miles of walking and hiking trails.
If you have fidgety children with short attention spans, you may find that you’ve completed your museum visit in under an hour. If you’re hoping to stretch it out into a longer visit, plan to take a hike or have a picnic lunch. As previously mentioned, there are 8 miles of hiking trails on the property, but a short walk around the pond is usually enough for those with young families. They also have a small enclosed butterfly garden and a wildflower garden with comical wood sculptures. A tree house with seating is located near the flight enclosures and provides a great place to have a snack/lunch.
A couple of weeks ago we took an afternoon and visited the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic, CT. My daughter is a large fan of animals, as is her mother, and we needed to get out and get some stimulation. The weather was nice enough and we figured the mix of indoor/outdoor areas would be a good place for a toddler. We were not disappointed.
When we first arrived we went right into the Natural History Museum, where there were immediately activities for my daughter to do while I paid for us and the receptionist explained to me where we could go and what there was to do. She loved seeing all the animals, both stuffed and alive. It was at this point we learned the museum was not stroller friendly, so note this if you plan to visit and need to bring a baby, wearing them would be the best way to go.
The museum isn't large, but it does have a lot to see and do, between live animals, models of local nature to explore, an interactive puzzle and small movie theater with one of the most unique forms of entertainment I have encountered at a museum yet.
We made our way around inside and then decided to head outside to check out the duck pond, trails, and owls. Since it wasn't super warm, we only stayed out there about 30 minutes, but my daughter loved exploring the trails and walking over the small bridges and through the squishy mud.
Overall, we really enjoyed this place. We visited on a Friday afternoon which is probably why we were able to enjoy it alone. I am sure once the weather changes and the outdoors has more to offer this place would be even more fun.
While the center itself is small, its programs are FANTASTIC. They offer something for all age groups from toddlers to adults. Their grounds and trails are a great place to wander. The preschool at DPNC is one of the best around. The instructors truly care about teaching children to respect the world around us. Membership is very affordable, and program fees are on par with others in the area.