About Joppa Flats

Looking out towards the ocean at Joppa Flats Wildlife Sanctuary
Joppa Flats Wildlife Sanctuary

Overlooking the Merrimack River and near the entrance to Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, the Joppa Flats Education Center offers unique educational opportunities for people of all ages.

Here, you can explore the region’s wildlife-rich habitats (salt marshes, mudflats, rivers, bays, and coastal waters) through guided tours, marine touch tanks, art exhibits, drop-in programs, and interpretive displays.


1 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport, MA 01950
Get directions or contact us >


Nature Center & Gift Shop

Wednesday–Sunday, 8:30 am-4:00 pm • Closed Monday (except holidays)
Restrooms are located in the Nature Center


Members: Free
Nonmembers: $2 suggested donation

As a way to increase access to nature, Mass Audubon also offers several free admission programs at our wildlife sanctuaries.



52 (noncontiguous)

Sanctuary Highlights

  • Excellent year-round wildlife viewing opportunities from the sanctuary grounds and in-door observation areas as well as magnificent views of the lower Merrimack River and Plum Island estuary.
  • Birding programs for participants of all abilities; more than 300 species of birds recorded locally each year.
  • Annual events, including the Superbowl of Birding and Merrimack River Eagle Festival.
  • Marine touch tank and interpretation by Joppa Flats staff and volunteers during the summer.
  • Green features including two recharging stations for electric vehicles, photovoltaic panels, and a rainwater catchment system for toilet flushing.

Property Regulations

All of the land at our wildlife sanctuaries is protected. By conserving these open spaces, Mass Audubon, along with our members and partners, is able to fulfill its mission of protecting the nature of Massachusetts. When visiting, please take note of the following regulations: 

  • No dog walking or horseback riding; please leave all animals and pets at home (service animals welcome
  • No walking off trail  
  • No collecting or picking natural items
  • No bike riding or operating motorized vehicles; day passes are available for powered mobility devices   
  • No running, swimming, or camping 
  • No operating drones or other remote-controlled vehicles   
  • No fishing, hunting, trapping, or releasing of animals   
  • No feeding wildlife   
  • No smoking 

Photography Guidelines

Mass Audubon welcomes visitors to capture the beauty and wonder of our statewide network of wildlife sanctuaries through photography. If you would like to use a wildlife sanctuary for commercial photography purposes, please review the complete guidelines and learn how to schedule a ti