Boston Nature Center & Wildlife Sanctuary

Butterfly Garden path & bench at the Boston Nature Center

Located just outside of downtown Boston on the former grounds of the Boston State Hospital, the Boston Nature Center 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. Please leave dogs and other pets at home.

Location500 Walk Hill Street, Mattapan, MA 02126
Phone: 617-983-8500
Hours: Trails open daily, dawn to dusk; Restrooms available Saturday & Sunday, 10am–4pm

Plan your visit >

Nature Play Days - LP promo for sanctuaries

Nature Play Days

Find seasonal nature play ideas & activities to help everyone get outside! Time for fun >

Online Programs - LP promo for sanctuaries

Online Programs

Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly male © Kim Nagy
Eastern Pondhawk © Kim Nagy

Explore the nature of summer online, from beautiful insects to amazing birds. Coming up next >

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

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Upcoming Programs

June 20, 2021 (Sunday) 10:30am-12:00pm
This is a wonderful time to observe and appreciate the birds that call Boston home. In this program we will learn how to ident... Learn More >
June 20, 2021 (Sunday) 1:00-2:00pm
Summer is here! We will take a walk on the BNC trails and enjoy the natural offerings of summer - from butterflies to birds, b... Learn More >
June 27, 2021 (Sunday) 1:00-2:30pm
Butterflies are wonderful colorful signs of summer. In this program we will learn about their life cycles, look for eggs and c... Learn More >
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