The Audubon Center in Greenwich was the National Audubon Society’s first educational center in the United States. There are over 7 miles of trails through fields, forest, marshes, and ponds that span this 285 acre park. Open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset, a modest $6 fee for visitors helps to maintain the center and trails ($3 youth/seniors and FREE for National Audubon Society members).
Upon entering the park, you’ll be greeted by the Kimberlin Nature Center, the welcome center for the Audubon Connecticut staff. Opened in 2003, it was built with green technology and environmentally friendly materials that includes a number of recycled materials as well as a geothermal HVAC system. Inside, there is a learning center with interactive exhibits and a gift shop. There is even an observational honeybee hive!
All of the trails begin near the nature center, and a kiosk provides some information about the regional flora and fauna. The Hillside Trail heads north and parallel to Riversville Road. It meanders through a wonderful wildflower meadow and eventually dips into the hardwood forest. Here, Dogwood Lane will pass through a serene marsh area populated with skunk cabbage and connect with Beach Hill Trail through some glacial erratic. A gorgeous boardwalk spans the length of the Boardwalk Trail as it winds through tall grasses and vernal pools. Lookout for frogs and turtles in the water below! The Lake Trail circles Mead Lake, passes bird blinds, and crosses a dam at the southern end that was constructed in the 19th century over Byram River to create this shallow pond. As this trail continues back to the Nature Center, you will pass orchards, beehives, butterfly gardens, and several research areas. It’s best to check with a park employee before you begin your hike to learn about which areas should be avoided in consideration of nesting birds.
The park became public in 1942 with a generous donation of land by Eleanor Clovis Reese and H. Hall Clovis. The park’s employees are naturalists, and there are typically a number of volunteers who are happy to show you throughout the exhibits. If someone is not available, you are welcome to contact the Nature Center and schedule a tour. Adults and high school students are welcomed to donate time during the week and on weekends to assist guests and give back to the community. Teacher naturalists, citizen scientists, trail tamers, photographers, curators, and greeters all make up an important part of this community that you are welcomed to participate in!
The Audubon Center requests that you stay on the trail, leave pets at home, take only photos, and only leave footprints.