Nature Play at Joppa Flats

touch tank creatures at Joppa Flats Education Center

What is a Nature Play Area?

Nature play areas add more ways for people to connect with nature by encouraging self-directed, informal play.

Unlike static, traditional playgrounds, nature play areas give children the chance to solve problems and construct their surroundings through natural elements and unstructured exploration.

Explore Joppa Flat's Nature Play Area

Touch tank at Joppa Flats Education Center

Come to Joppa Flats for an up-close experience with the coastal creatures that reside in the sandy and rocky shores of Plum Island. You can handle and identify sea shells, crab molts, and egg capsules at a sand table, or view and handle live beach creatures such as sea stars, urchins, and hermit crabs in our seasonal 110-gallon tide pool touch tank. In our backyard, see how you size up to marine mammals with a life-size display.


Find the large sand table and the tide pool touch tank (available May through October) inside our building; the marine mammal display is in our backyard along with some lovely butterfly gardens, all overlooking the wildlife of the marsh and estuary.

Good to know

Every month we feature a nature theme for self-guided fun for our visitors including seasonal information, a hands-on activity or two and an arts and crafts station. We also offer an indoor/outdoor scavenger hunt to kids of all ages, with one for preschoolers that’s picture-based and a more challenging nature search for ages 7 and up.