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.




2 miles (universally accessible: 1 mile) Details >

Sanctuary Highlights

  • Programs offered at affordable rates through sliding scales 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 space, 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.


500 Walk Hill Street, Mattapan, MA 02126
Get Directions or Contact Us >


Monday-Friday 9 am-5 pm; Saturday, Sunday, & Monday holidays 10 am-4 pm


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


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