About Boston Nature Center

Butterfly Garden at the Boston Nature Center

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.


500 Walk Hill Street, Mattapan, MA 02126
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  • Nature Center: Closed
  • Restrooms: Closed
  • Trails: Open every day from dawn to dusk


Free, donations appreciated
EBT Participants: Free for up to 4 people when you show your EBT card

→ For your safety and to avoid conflicts with wildlife, please follow our sanctuary guidelines during your visit.





2 miles (universally accessible: 1 mile) Details >

Sanctuary Highlights

  • Public programs offered at affordable rates through sliding scale and low-cost fees.
  • George Robert White Environmental Conservation Center, the first “green” municipal building in Boston, exhibits environmentally sustainable building design.
  • The Nature Nook, a natural play area, engages children of all ages in discovering the natural world through free play.
  • Boston Area Beekeepers Association apiary, Boston Food Forest Coalition's edible forest, Clark-Cooper Community Gardens, and the Mattapan Ecovation Center.


Learn more about Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center and its urban environmental education programs