(Use this page to print out the hike. Click the back button to go back to the webpage - www.berkshirehiking.com)
New Canaan Nature Center is a perfect place to bring young children and introduce them to nature. It's also great for those looking for an easy, peaceful stroll through interesting terrain. New Canaan Nature Center (part of the Audubon Society) is laid out in a manner that creates little worlds with everything within close proximity of the main parking lot. The center is located just few miles north of New Canaan's business district in a residential neighborhood. The way the grounds are designed, you'll be thinking you're much farther out in the woods or open fields than you really are. The center has a large outer loop along with other smaller trail systems that make for a nice web of paths. Open fields, woodlands, ponds, bogs, marshy areas, and beautiful gardens can be explored within a 20 minute walk. If you take your time and explore the whole trail system you can make for a longer hike and you're likely to encounter an abundance of wildlife. Because this nature center is in southern Fairfield County where open space is hard to find, the animals flock to the center and use it as a haven from suburban sprawl. Birdwatching is extremely popular here and there are viewing platforms and plenty of strategically placed benches to aid the birdwatching fanatic.
Not only have the people at New Canaan Nature Center created a great trail system with varying ecosystems, they've also built one of the best nature facilities in the state. The Visitors Center (museum, art gallery, education center, and large greenhouse) is quite a site to behold. Across the parking lot is the Animal Care Building with its first rate raptor (hawks, falcons, etc.) display and outdoor amphitheater for animal viewing and guest speakers. The main area also has picnic tables, manicured gardens, and plenty of areas to explore before heading off onto the trail system. If you love to paint or are into photography then you'll certainly want to visit New Canaan Nature Center with all the natural and architectural beauty.
There is a small fee to enter some of the buildings and like all Audubon hikes, there is a voluntary fee to help maintain the trail system.
Visit their website for general information and precise directions. http://www.newcanaannature.org