Summer Fun from A to Z at Mass Audubon Wildlife Sanctuaries

Adapted from Connections, May 2014

Make the most of your summer by spending more time outside! Our 50+ wildlife sanctuaries around the state offer endless opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors—whether it’s going for a hike, taking a program, or enjoying the scenery by boat.


Mother and child © Rishijain
© Rishijain
butterfly © Shirley LeMay
© Shirley LeMay
dolphin at Joppa Flats
Allens Pond Duck Derby rubber duck with goggles
carrots © Mia Kheyfetz, Mass Audubon
© Mia Kheyfetz, Mass Audubon
hummingbird © David Larson, Mass Audubon
© David Larson, Mass Audubon
American kestrel © Mark Thorne
© Mark Thorne
Nature Play Area at BNC © Jill Abrahams
© Jill Abrahams
canoeing at Mass Audubon Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary
Girl hanging from tree © Lisa Roberts
© Lisa Roberts
Kayak at sunset © Mary O'Sullivan
© Mary O'Sullivan
Two boys at Habitat camp © Marcia Fitzpatrick
© Marcia Fitzpatrick

Get your heart rate going on one of our short, medium, or long trails at a wildlife sanctuary near you. For those interested in a challenge, try Bluff Trail at Moose Hill in Sharon or Overbrook Loop at Pleasant Valley in Lenox.
Find 25 other great trails >


Celebrate all things butterfly during the Barbara J. Walker Butterfly Festival at Broad Meadow Brook in Worcester. You can also spot swallowtails, fritillaries, and more at one of our wildlife sanctuaries with butterfly gardens.
Visit a pollinator garden >


Take to the open seas with a naturalist as your guide. Joppa Flats in Newburyport, Long Pasture in Barnstable, and Wellfleet Bay in Wellfleet all offer nature cruises throughout the season.

Duck Derbies

“Adopt” a rubber duck and get in on the race this August at the annual Allens Pond Duck Derby in Dartmouth. The Grand Prize is dinner for two anywhere in the world, including airfare and lodging for two nights! If don't manage to snag a prize in the race, you can always try your luck again in October at the annual Stony Brook Wood Duck Derby in Norfolk. The first place duck earns the Grand Prize of $750 cash! 

Eat Local

Indulge in organic, locally-grown heirloom tomatoes, juicy melons, robust greens, and many other delights all summer when you join the Drumlin Farm CSA in Lincoln or the Farm at Moose Hill CSA in Sharon.


If you spot these fascinating insects in meadows near shrubby wooded areas, report your sighting through our Firefly Watch citizen science program! Kids can have fun with our firefly activity sheet for Young Explorers. And the whole family can find out more by joining a firefly program at one of our sanctuaries.


Looking for the perfect gift for weddings, birthdays, and graduations? Half-price memberships to Mass Audubon are available for new members through June 30. And be sure to swing by one of the gift shops at our wildlife sanctuaries, including the flagship Mass Audubon Shop in Lincoln where you can shop online or in-store.


Keep these jewel-like birds visiting your yard with hummingbird feeders from the Mass Audubon Shop in Lincoln. Learn more about these birds, including how to make your own nectar.

Ice Cream

With these ice cream programs, you can cool off and enjoy a tasty treat and then venture out into the meadows and farmyards to find natural treasures. And you can always grab something cool and sweet any day at the Mass Audubon Shop in Lincoln.

June 21

Celebrate the summer solstice by getting outdoors at any of our sanctuaries throughout the day for scheduled events, including these solstice programs.


Our smallest falcon is showing signs of decline. Help us learn more about the American Kestrel by donating, volunteering, or reporting a sighting as part of the American Kestrel Project.


With its Cape Cod Field Schools, Wellfleet Bay offers exciting and active summer field courses for adults on topics such as sea turtles and nature sketching.


Learn how to fish print at Wellfleet Bay, make animal prints on t-shirts at Long Pasture in Barnstable, or create nature-inspired watercolors at Broadmoor in Natick.

Nature Play

Swap the slide for a stump jump at one of our many nature play areas around the state. Unlike traditional playgrounds, nature play areas give children the chance to construct their surroundings through natural elements and unstructured exploration.


Mass Audubon members can camp for the night at Ipswich River’s Perkins Island or Innermost House in Topsfield, Wellfleet Bay in Wellfleet, or in a cozy cottage at Pierpont Meadow in Dudley.


Take in the sights and sounds of summer by canoe or kayak through scheduled programs with many wildlife sanctuaries, including:


With our Quest scavenger hunts, kids can take their hikes to the next level while learning fun nature facts.


Help us understand the status of different species of wildlife by taking part in a citizen science research project at one of our sanctuaries.


Immerse yourself in nature on one of our multi-sensory interpretive trails, such as the one at Stony Brook in Norfolk. These universally accessible trails create a rich experience for visitors with a wide range of vision, hearing, and mobility levels, but they can be appreciated by all.


See turtles basking in the sun on logs, rocks, and embankments at just about all of our wildlife sanctuaries—Habitat in Belmont even has a Turtle Pond Loop trail! Or join a Long Pasture program to go in search of diamondback terrapins on Barnstable’s Sandy Neck beach throughout the summer.


Experience nature at night by foot, kayak, or canoe. Wherever you are, watch for the Perseid meteor shower that peaks in mid-August.


Our wildlife sanctuaries are busy in the spring and summer, and there’s plenty of need for volunteers to help with our admissions, gift shops, camps, gardening, wildlife monitoring, and more. Find current opportunities >


Nothing inspires wonder more than hands-on learning. Families and adults can touch, feel, and see exhibits at Blue Hills Trailside Museum in Milton, Joppa Flats in Newburyport, and North River in Marshfield.

X Marks the Spot

Want to find wildlife sanctuaries near you? Check out our interactive sanctuary map!


Rejuvenate body and soul in nature inspired yoga classes and a weekend retreat at Allens Pond in Dartmouth, where sounds of the outdoors will enrich your sessions.


Our photo classes—such as the Summer Photography Workshop at Broadmoor in Natick—will help you learn the ins and outs of your camera so that you can capture this summer’s best moments. Don't forget to share your images with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Better yet, enter the annual Mass Audubon Photo Contest!