Community Programs

Halloween
Spooktacular

October 29

Friday, October 29th
5:30-7:00pm OR 7:30-9:00pm

Get into the Halloween spirit by joining us for this spooktacular celebration, NCNC-style. Learn about and meet some fiendish friends who remind us of All Hallows Eve (spiders, snakes, owls, & more), enjoy making some creepy crafts, and roast a marshmallow while sharing spooky stories around a cackling (erm, we mean crackling) campfire! Top off the evening with our one-of-a-kind jack-o-lantern experience and you will be destined to have a dreadfully wicked evening! 

Costumes encouraged & welcome!

Choose from 1 of 2 available time slots:
Session A: 5:30pm-7:00pm
Session B: 7:30pm-9:00pm

*COVID-19 Update: Please refer to the current Connecticut Department of Health & CDC guidelines. The New Canaan Nature Center has no additional COVID-19 regulations at this time.

Rain or shine.

Members: $10/person 
Non-Members: $15/person 

All attendees (children + adults) must purchase a ticket.

Online registration: coming soon!

Awesome
Autumn Day

November 2

Vote for Nature on Election Day! Come on over to NCNC to enjoy a beautiful autumn day with your kids and the NCNC naturalists. Frolic in the leaves and take part in field games, such as pumpkin ring toss, corn hole, and parachute games, anytime from 1-3pm. Naturalists will also be leading autumn-themed relay races (like pumpkin broom ball) across the Green! At 1:30 and 2:30, get up close and  personal with several of our awesome animal ambassadors.

Thanksgiving
Weekend Waddle

November 27

Grab the entire family (and any lingering holiday visitors too!) and head on down to the New Canaan Nature Center! Embark upon a healthy, invigorating Trail Trek to work off that holiday meal. While “waddling” the trails, try your hand at our “Weekend Waddle scavenger hunt.” Search our property for clues that will help you solve a fun holiday riddle, while also enjoying some Nature Center trivia. As an extra Thanksgiving bonus, share your answers with us for a chance to win a special prize.

Winter
Wonderland

December 11

Come and be transported into a whole new world as the New Canaan Nature Center transforms into a Winter Wonderland filled with fun and exciting winter holiday activities for the entire family. We hope you will join us to enjoy the warm festive feel the Nature Center puts on this time of year!

You won’t want to miss:
  • Socially distanced visits & photos with Santa
  • Holiday Trains – our giant model train depicts the town of New Canaan and more!
  • Campfire complete with chestnut & marshmallow roasting
  • Holiday Crafts for kids
  • Reindeer Games: ring the reindeer antlers, feed the snowman, and more!
  • Wacky Winterland scavenger hunt
  • “Red & Green Cafe” with grilled cheese, soup, & hot beverages (such as cocoa & coffee) available for purchase!

Holiday
Break Programs

December 2021

Perfect for children, ages 3-5! Come on down the hill and join other enthusiastic kids as our expert staff lead a variety of wintry adventures throughout our 40-acre preserve and celebrate the holiday season in true NCNC fashion as nature intended.

Owl Moon
Night Hike

 January 2022

Let the light of the FULL moon be your guide as we explore magic in the woods and unravel the mysteries of our nocturnal neighbors, the owls. We’ll discover how owls use their keen senses to navigate the night and learn first-hand how they can hunt in the dark. We’ll even “give a hoot” and see if we can identify owls by their tell-tale calls, before getting to meet a couple owls up close & personal.

Adopt-a-Tree:
Maple Syrup Program

January 2022

Don’t get stuck indoors this winter! Get outside for some quality family time by adopting a tree for maple syrup season! Through this ongoing seasonal program, learn about and participate in the entire syrup making process, from tapping a maple tree to sap collections and boil downs. You’ll even get your very own bottle of NCNC-made maple syrup at our end of season pot-luck dinner in March.

Winter
Break Programs

February 2022

Out of school and looking for some wintry fun in the great outdoors? Come down the hill and join other enthusiastic kids as our expert staff lead a variety of winter-themed adventures throughout the 40-acre expanse of NCNC. Partake in nature games, crafts & activities!

Syrup Saturday:
A Pancakes & PJs Party

March 2022

Bring the whole family and join us for our annual syrup season celebration – you won’t want to miss our famously delicious Pancakes & PJs party, complete with TONS of fun syrup-related activities! We’ll be serving up flapjacks, syrup, and an array of tasty toppings. The day will also include tree tapping demos, a real maple sap “boil down,” sweet maple-inspired crafts, campfire with marshmallows, and a real v. fake syrup taste test.

The Great Egg Hunt &
Spring Celebration

April 2022

Perfect for children, ages 2-10, our egg hunts are designed for smaller groups (approximately 25 per hunt). In addition to the hunt, enjoy an animal meet & greet and self-guided spring scavenger hunt. Just BYOB (bring your own basket) for collecting eggs (which contain nature-themed prizes and nut-free sweets).

Spring Fling
Break Programs

April 2022

Calling all children, ages 3-7! Out of school and looking for some spring fun and adventure? Come on down the hill and join other enthusiastic kids as our expert staff guide you on a variety of seasonal adventures throughout the 40-acres of forests, fields, and ponds at NCNC. Partake in nature games, crafts & activities!

Sounds of Spring
Night Hike

April 2022

Come explore the magic of spring and Earth Week with us! We’ll visit the Nature Center’s vernal pools and ponds to listen for the peeps and croaks of frogs and other amphibians that let us know spring has fully arrived! We’ll also journey through the woods and into the meadows in search of some awesome invertebrates, birds, and bats. If we’re super lucky, we might even get a chance to spot a critter or two! Join our Naturalists for this fun, interactive and earth aware hike to learn why these species are so important to our local ecosystem.

Program will include an interactive hike and hands-on exploration of the nature center’s ponds and vernal pools.

Community Garden:
Adopt-a-Plot

May 2022

“Adopt” a plot in our community garden for the growing season (May-November)! Our community garden provides a shared space in which local residents can tend a plot of land, learn together, and share in an appreciation of the outdoors and gardening. Each garden plot is located within a fenced-in area near the Herb Garden and all participants will have access to tools, watering facilities, and community guidance. The perfect opportunity for novices and experienced gardeners, alike!

Birds of Prey
Bonanza

June 2022

Join us to meet some of our favorite feathered friends and learn about their amazing journeys to and at the Nature Center.

All event proceeds will go directly to the care of our birds of prey and will help to provide food, healthcare, and enrichment for them.

Your Support Means the World: You can continue to support our birds and all of our amazing animal ambassadors in every aspect of their lives by making a donation to our Topper & Socs Memorial Fund or by checking out our Sponsor an Animal Program.

Great American
Campout

June 2022

Come and take part in our Great American Campout – NCNC’s 13th year participating in the National Wildlife Federation’s Great American Campout, a nation-wide celebration of camping as a way to connect to nature & wildlife. Join us for an evening full of fun, camp tunes, a night hike, s’mores, and the adventure of camping in New Canaan’s favorite backyard!

Participants are welcome to set-up their tents in the afternoon between 3:30-5:30pm. From 5:30-7:30pm, we’ll provide a classic camping-style BBQ dinner of hotdogs, grilled corn, & chips (with watermelon for dessert). Lemonade and water will be available for all ages; adults are welcome to BYOB. As folks are finishing up the tasty treats from the grill, all are invited to enjoy field games, music and all around fun on the Green!

As the sun begins to set, get ready for the night time adventure to begin. We’ll fire up the campfire ring and head off into the darkness for a special early summer night hike experience. Upon our return we’ll be sure to fill our bellies with some fireside S’mores before dozing off to sleep. In the morning, a light breakfast of bagels, juice, and coffee will be served.

Night of 1,000 Fireflies:
A Night Hike

July 2022

Come and enjoy the magic of the midsummer night at the Nature Center. Join our Naturalists as we search for woodland creatures (wiggly worms & aquatic amphibians) and other enchanted mysteries of the evening, before delighting in the awe-inspiring beauty of our meadows aglow with the soft light of 1,000+ fireflies!

Creatures of the Night…
Hike!

August 2022

How do your nighttime senses compare to those of the nocturnal animals that call NCNC home? Join us for an interactive sensory night hike adventure and try your hand at our naturalist-led challenges to find out! First, we’ll put your night vision to the test to discover if you can see as well as an owl in the dark. Then we’ll focus on your sense of smell, hearing, and touch! We’ll wrap up the night with one of our favorite summer activities… roasting marshmallows around the campfire!

Cider
Saturday

September 2022

Celebrate the fall cider season here at the New Canaan Nature Center!

Come and enjoy an early autumn afternoon of family fun with cider press demonstrations, apple slingshots, old-fashioned games, a pumpkin scavenger hunt, seasonal harvest crafts for kids, baked apples (one apple per person will be provided), and stories around the campfire. Fill your bellies with delicious corn dogs, grilled corn, fresh cider, and baked goodies, all available for purchase.

Earth Day
Celebration

April 22

Come celebrate Earth Day with us on April 22nd! An annual world-wide event, join us to learn what you can do locally to help protect the environment.

Connecticut Trails
Day Weekend

June 2022

Celebrate Connecticut Trails Day Weekend here at the New Canaan Nature Center!

Grab the entire family and head on down to the nature center to enjoy a special self-guided scavenger hunt around our 40-acre property: search our forests, fields, and ponds for clues that will help you solve a fun spring riddle. As an extra bonus, share your answers with us for a chance to win a prize.

Drop-in anytime from dawn to dusk!

Download your copy of our Connecticut Trail’s Day Scavenger Hunt today!

Virtual Animal
Meet & Greet Series

Wednesdays, through April 28th

Weekly on Wednesdays, March 3rd – April 28th (excluding April 7th)
3:00 PM

Join us for a FREE Zoom animal meet & greet program!

Each week, join an NCNC Naturalist to meet a couple of LIVE animals to learn about what makes them unique: where they live, what they eat, and how they are well-adapted to survive in their habitats. 

March 3 – Rabbit + Guinea Pig
March 10 – Hedgehog
March 17 – Chinchilla + Ferret
March 24 – Fantastic Frogs & Toads
March 31 – Box Turtle & Russian Tortoise
April 14 – Painted Turtle & Yellow-bellied Slider
April 21 – Snakes!
April 28 – Leopard Gecko & Bearded Dragon

Pre-registration begins Tuesday, February 16th and is required by 4pm on the Tuesday before each program.

Upon registration, a Zoom link will be emailed to you. 

Donations are greatly appreciated. 

Great American
Autumn Campout

Fall 2021?

Come and take part in our Great American Autumn Campout to enjoy an evening full of fun & adventure by camping out in New Canaan’s favorite backyard – the New Canaan Nature Center!

Participants will be welcome to set-up their tents in the afternoon between 3:30-5:30pm. From 5:30-7:30pm, we’ll provide a classic camping-style barbeque dinner of hotdogs, grilled corn, & chips. Lemonade and water will be available for all ages; adults are welcome to BYOB. All are invited to enjoy field games and all around fun on the Green!

As the sun begins to set, get ready for the night time adventure to begin. We’ll fire up the campfire ring and head off into the darkness for a special autumn night hike experience. Upon our return, we’ll fill our bellies with some fireside S’mores, before heading off to bed.

In the morning, awake to fog over the meadow, deer browsing nearby, and the promise of another magical day! A light breakfast of bagels, juice, and coffee will also be served.

Bring your own camp gear and snacks. Access to bathrooms will be available through the night.

Rain or shine.

Fall Family
Fun Day

November 2021

The 2020 Fall Family Fun Day is SOLD OUT.
Please join us next year!

Tuesday, November 3rd
10:00am – 1:30pm

Vote for Nature on Election Day! Come on over to NCNC to enjoy a beautiful autumn day with your kids and the NCNC naturalists. Take part in family-friendly field games (such as pumpkin ring toss, corn hole, sack races, and parachute games), enjoy an autumnal craft of two, roast a marshmallow over the campfire, and even get to meet some of our beloved animal ambassadors. You also won’t want to miss out on these traditional fan favorite activities: apple slingshots, the crazy maze, and our mini zipline! Refreshments (warm apple cider, hot cocoa, pizza, cider donuts, and popcorn!) will be available for purchase. This event is rain or shine.

Choose from 1 of 2 available time slots:
Session A: 10:00am – 11:30am (SOLD OUT!)
Session B: 12:00pm – 1:30pm (SOLD OUT!)

This fun and safe outdoor event is limited to 60 people per time slot to allow for social distancing. 

Face coverings are required for all guests over the age of 2, except when eating. 

Members: $10/person
Non-members: $15/person

Pre-registration by Friday, October 30th, at 12pm is REQUIRED. All attendees (children + adults) must purchase a ticket. 

Holiday Season
Scavenger Hunt

December 23 – January 4

Ongoing: Now through January 4th

Grab the entire family (and any lingering holiday visitors too!) and head on down to the New Canaan Nature Center! Enjoy a special holiday scavenger hunt around the nature center property: search our forests, fields, and ponds for clues that will help you solve a fun holiday riddle. As an extra holiday bonus, share your answers with us for a chance to win a special prize.

Drop-in anytime from dawn to dusk!

Download your copy of our Holiday Season Scavenger Hunt today!