The 10 Best Nature Centers in Rhode Island!

Rhode Island’s stunning natural landscape extends well beyond beautiful beaches. The state has done well to preserve so much of its natural beauty. Take a day to explore some of the nature you might not have realized was in your own backyard. Here are our 10 favorite nature centers in the state. 

1. Frosty Drew Nature Center and Observatory, Charlestown, RI

This property was given to the town of Charlestown after a U.S. Naval Landing Field was closed in 1973. It now serves to educate community members of all ages about nature, in particular marine wildlife and the night sky.

2. Biomes Marine Biology Center, North Kingstown, RI

Though this location may look rather understated from the outside, you’ll love the large site and all of the hands-on activities at this nature center! Ask the staff as many questions as you want—they are all incredibly knowledgeable about the variety of animals there. You can even pet a sand shark!

3. Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge, Charlestown, RI

This nature center is a wonderful location for hiking and kayaking. Take your kayak around the marinas or the marsh, and when you’re back on land enjoy viewing the wildlife on a nice, slow bike ride or by foot.

4. Audubon Environmental Education Center, Bristol, RI

This nature center is tailored to younger kids, but it will provide great memories for the entire family! Visitors love watching trainers work with the falcons and spotting new birds along the shores.

5. George B. Parker Woodland, Coventry, RI

Owned by the Audubon Society of Rhode Island, this nature center is home to lots of great trails for all levels. The hikes highlight Rhode Island’s ecological diversity, all within an impressively historical region!

6. Goosewing Beach Preserve, Little Compton, RI

Bring a chair to this pristine beach and enjoy the sound of the ocean waves! Locals love the soft sand beaches lined with ocean pebbles. Right along the dunes, you may even get the chance to spot some piping plovers or ospreys. 

7. Save the Bay Exploration Center and Aquarium, Newport, RI

Enjoy getting close to all the marine creatures you can imagine. Reach into a tidal pool and touch a baby shark, sea urchins, crabs, and starfish. A real local gem—enjoy the beautiful views of Easton Beach right from this great Newport spot. 

8. Tri-Pond Park Nature Center, South Kingstown, RI

A moderately trafficked trail, this path is best around fall. Hike across beautiful bridges, large rocks, and lots of roots, all passing along many small ponds. More of a biker? Perfect—this path also loops up with the South County Bike Path and is ideal for a nature walk. 

9. Norman Bird Sanctuary, Middletown, RI

With so much space, you’ll feel safe letting your pets and little ones run wild in this well-maintained sanctuary. It’s the perfect place for relaxing, and if you’re lucky you might even spot some frogs and deer. 

10. W. Alton Jones Environmental Education Center, West Greenwich, RI

The University of Rhode Island maintains this environmental center, which boasts 2,300 acres of forestland, wetlands, and even farmland. They host many school field trips but are also the perfect setting for a day trip with the family. 

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