Boston Nature Center & Wildlife Sanctuary

A snowy wooden fence at BNC

Located just outside of downtown Boston, on the former grounds of the Boston State Hospital, the Boston Nature Center (BNC) is a community-based urban sanctuary. Trails and boardwalks traverse meadows and wetlands, home to over 150 species of birds, 40 species of butterflies, and more than 350 species of plants. Year-round programs help foster an appreciation for nature and the environment.

Location: 500 Walk Hill Street, Mattapan, MA 02126
Hours: Monday-Friday, 9am–5pm • Saturdays, Sundays, & most holidays, 10am–4pm
Trails: Daily, dawn to dusk

More information, property regulations, and directions >

Boston Local Composting

Learn About Composting

Learn about the best practices in Boston-local composting with this four-session program. Save your spot >

Fall in Love with Nature

Fall in Love with Winter

Take a morning bird walk, learn about tree identification, or try some outdoor winter art at the BNC. Browse programs >

Healing Landscape

A Healing Landscape cover

A Healing Landscape

Discover the stories of the people who have lived and worked on our land for 200+ years. Read it > 

Nature Preschool (text only)

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Nature Preschool

At BNC, our Pathways to Nature preschool provides a high-quality nature program for children ages 3–6. Learn more >

Sanctuary News & Events

BNC's Net Zero Event Ribbon Cutting

Boston Nature Center & Wildlife Sanctuary

Five months ago, Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center (BNC) in Mattapan broke ground on an ambitious project to become carbon neutral by 2022. So, it is especially fitting that on Earth Day Friday, April 22, members of the BNC community, supporters, civic leaders, and Mass Audubon staff gathered at the 67-acre wildlife sanctuary for a ribbon-cutting to officially announce it has achieved net-zero energy status.

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Upcoming Programs

March 25, 2023 (Saturday) 7:00-9:00am
Join us to observe resident birds and spring migrants in a unique urban habitat that is a favorite stomping ground for many bird species. Read more
March 25, 2023 (Saturday) 10:00am-12:00pm
This four-module training series is designed to help you learn about the impact of food waste on the environment and its connection to climate change. Read more
March 25, 2023 (Saturday) 10:30am-12:00pm
Observe animal signs, listen for bird calls, and smell new flowers while exploring the Boston Nature Center. Read more
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