Planning Your Program

When to Visit the New Canaan Nature Center

School and group program field trips are available year-round at the New Canaan Nature Center. Whether it is fall, winter, or spring, each season offers its own unique experience for you and your group. In fact, we highly encourage program series which allow your group to experience our 40-acre nature sanctuary across the seasons (e.g. In Depth Habitat study in fall, winter, and spring). During the summer months, other camp programs, scout groups and summer classes are welcome to visit and enjoy our special blend of education and fun in the summer sun.
Can't make it to the Nature Center? No problem. Our team of professional environmental educators will come directly to a location of your choice. If your location is near woods or fields, we can easily adjust and take your group on an outdoor odyssey of learning and fun right at home or work.

Program Lengths and Times

Programs run approximately 60 minutes in length and work great around most school and scout schedules. Programs can be adjusted or extended into longer segments (eg. 90 minutes, 120 minutes) to accommodate different ages, create space for "teachable moments" while on the trail, or simply better meet the needs and educational goals of your group while allowing participants time to delve even deeper into topics of particular interest.
Programs are available weekdays, evenings and weekends. The majority of programs run within our traditional program hours of 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday through Saturday. Additional charges may apply for programs that are booked outside of these business hours.

During Your Visit

Your program isn't the only exciting and educational part of your visit to the New Canaan Nature Center. Make sure to schedule extra time during your visit because there are so many exciting and engaging things to discover. Your group will want plenty of time to explore our outdoor and indoor wildlife exhibits plus our trails, Greenhouse, ponds and more. Below is a sampling of the extras we have to offer your group when you are here with us.
  • Experience life around Kiwanis or Marsh ponds
  • Trek nearly two miles of trails
  • Catch the buzz of our interactive World of Bees exhibit
  • Spy live animals in our Discovery Room.
  • Observe raptors in action at our outdoor Birds of Prey exhibit
  • Excite your green thumb in our gardens & Greenhouse
  • Get active while adventuring through our Children's Play Garden.
  • Climb our Bird Tower to spy birds and other wildlife.
  • Navigate through clues on a Letterboxing adventure.
  • Relax and play on beautiful grass of the Green.
Ask for one of New Canaan Nature Center's "Group Quests" when you reserve your program. These are age-appropriate scavenger hunts and guides to exploring the nature trails.

Picnics

Outdoor picnics on our grounds are encouraged for all groups who come and visit the Nature Center. Picnic tables on the Green, Picnic Circle and at the Children's Play Garden are available on a first come, first served basis. Also, enjoy the shade of our Apple Orchard or feel free to dine in our Sugar Shack during the Maple Syruping off-season.

Peanuts/Tree Nuts

The New Canaan Nature Center is a peanut/tree nut aware campus. We respectfully request that visiting groups do not bring peanut products onto campus and appreciate your assistance in keeping the grounds safe for everyone. We kindly ask that you dispose of all trash and recyclables in the appropriate receptacles when you are finished with snack/lunch.

Lunch/Snack

Please notify us at the time of registration if you know that you are planning to stay on property for lunch or snack so we can better accommodate your group and assist you in making the most of your time here with us. If you require an indoor space for lunch/snack, please reserve this space in advance at the time of registration as access to indoor space is limited.

Discounts & Transportation Assistance

The New Canaan Nature Center is proud to offer discounts to help ensure that all groups who desire programming can have access to quality nature-based education throughout the year and to say thank you to organizations who book multiple programs and series with us! Let us help your group experience a unique and life changing adventure into the natural world. If you feel your group qualifies for a discount, please mention this at the time of registration so we may best assist you and make our programs available.

  • Title I School Groups = 35% off (also inquire about transportation assistance)
  • Multiple Programs (five or more) = 15% off
  • Local Community Groups = 10% off
  • Extra Afterschools (two or more afterschool series) = 15% off

Chaperones

We are happy to have chaperones join in the learning and the fun of your program. As we know the value of chaperones to the overall educational experience, we encourage their participation in accompanying your group at no additional charge. We recommend one chaperone for every 8-12 students.