Science & Nature - RI Statewide

Rhode Island has many places and opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy nature (maybe learn a little, too) at wildlife preserves, bird santuaries, nature trails,and state parks.

 Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge - Photo Credit US Fish & Wildlife Service
Kids with Turtle Roger Williams Park Zoo Providence Rhode Island
Roger Williams Park Zoo

1000 Elmwood Avenue Providence, RI, 02907 Phone: 401-785-3510

Zoo’s many experiences designed to exhilarate, engage and educate visitors

For 150 years, the Roger Williams Park Zoo has created experiences that both thrill visitors and educate them about the need to conserve wildlife and wild places. It starts with the animals, from giant anteaters and African elephants to Chilean flamingoes, giraffes and cheetahs. You’ll travel from Africa to the Amazon rainforest, learning about more exotic inhabitants, then to North America where harbor seals swim and bison graze and where you can learn how species have been saved from extinction. A World of Adaptations exhibit shows what it takes to survive in the wild, the Feinstein Junior Scholar Wetlands Trail lets you see native wildlife in the state’s most endangered habitat, and the Alex and Ani Farmyard lets you participate in the work that goes into a typical farm.
Watson Farm Jamestown RI
Watson Farm

455 North Road Jamestown, RI Phone: 401-423-0005

Started in 1796, this working farm is set on 265 acres and features cattle, sheep, horses, chickens, and a garden. Trails and self-guided tours take visitors on a trip through the history and seasonal cycles of the farm. School programs and demonstrations are available. Open seasonally.

Rodman Hollow  trail on Block Island-credit-credit-RI Commerce Corp
Rodman's Hollow

Black Rock Road Block Island (New Shoreham), RI, 02807 Phone: 401-446-2129

This 230-acre glacial outwash basin, located in the southwest part of the island, is considered the birthplace of conservation on Block Island. Walk down Black Rock Road off of Cooneymus Road. About 0.25 miles down on your left, you will see a wooden gate and turnstile marking the trail entrance. Bear left, where the trail splits to traverse the bottom of the Hollow (where you can also access a trail leading to Fresh Pond); bear right to ascend a knoll with a wonderful panoramic vista. The trails intersect again to return to Black Rock Road. If you turn left and continue down the road, you can access the beach via a trail down the bluff.
Directions: Turn onto Walk down off of Cooneymus Road. About 0.25 miles down on the left there is a turnstile at the head of the trail. The trail soon splits. Bear left to traverse the bottom of the Hollow; walk right to ascend a hill with a giant vista.
Information: https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/places-we-protect/rodmans-hollow/
Roger Williams Park Botanical Center - Providence, RI
Roger Williams Park Botanical Center

Floral Avenue Providence, RI, 02905 Phone: 401-785-9450

The botanic garden is housed in a glass-and-steel-edged conservatory on the southeastern side of the park. Seasonal plants, delightful getaway. The park also features a rose garden which is located on the western side near the Elmwood Ave. entrance.
Kid Fun, Unique Cuisine, Ocean View - Stay in Warwick, See Rhode Island!
Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge

Sachuest Point Road Middletown, RI Phone: 401-364-9124

Very near to Newport, this national site is a haven for many types of shore birds, and very popular with Southern New England bird watchers.
Black Hut Wildlife Management Area

Spring Lake Road Burrillville, RI Phone: 401-568-4300

This preserve covers 1,548 acres of forest, wetlands, and farmland. The area contains many observation points.
Sapowet Marsh Wildlife Management Area

Puncatest Road Tiverton, RI Phone:

This typical coastline habitat is home to several species of game birds and is stocked with ring-necked pheasant. The area also supports a wide variety of songbirds, shore birds, and wading birds. Great spots for bird watching.
Tunipis Pond

Another good bird watching spot, particularly for the wide variety of duck species that collect there.
Guide Hawk - Norman Bird Sanctuary - Middletown, RI
Norman Bird Sanctuary

583 Third Beach Road Middletown, RI, 02842 Phone: 401-846-2577

This 450-acre refuge includes several wildlife habitats and seven miles of trails. The site also houses an on-site museum, educational area, and small gift shop. Spring and fall bird walks are held. Lots of activities for kids and families in the outdoors and in nature. - Trail Map (PDF)
Hours: Open Daily 9am - 5pm. Closed Thanksgiving & Christmas.
Sunbathing Seals - Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Refuge - Prudence Island, RI
Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

55 S. Reserve Drive Prudence Island, RI, 02872 Phone: 401-683-6780

National environmental preserve with a self-guided hiking trail and guided nature walks. The park has a picnic area, swimming, and boating areas. Prudence Island is accessible via a ferry from Bristol, RI (dock is off Thames St. near Rockwell Park).
Hours: Memorial Day-Labor Day, dawn to dusk.
Greenway Trails of Block Island with the Block Island Nature Conservancy

Office at 352 High Street Block Island, RI Phone: 401-466-2129

Formed by glaciers nearly 10,000 years ago, Block Island features a diverse array of habitats. Maritime shrubland, beaches and open morainal grasslands support more than 40 state and federal rare or endangered species, including the globally endangered American burying beetle. Birds stop here while migrating in the spring and fall along the Atlantic Flyway. There are approximately 25 miles of walking trails on Block Island open to the public, free of charge. Places of interest on Block Island include Clay Head Preserve off Corn Neck Road, the Fresh Swamp Preserve, off Lakeside Drive, Hodge Family Wildlife Preserve, off Corn Neck Road, Nathan Mott Park off Center Road and Turnip Farm off Old Mill Road, and Rodman's Hollow, Black Rock Road off of Cooneymus Road. Information: http://bit.ly/FPYM3m
Buck Hill Management Area

Buck Hill Road Burrillville, RI Phone:

This wildlife management area offers observation of birds, fox, coyote, and others. Parts of the area are designed specifically for wildlife farming fields and food growth regions. Map of Buck Hill Management Area.
Prudence and Patience Islands Wildlife Management Area

Narragansett Bay Bristol, RI Phone:

While smaller areas are part of both parks listed above, Prudence and Patience Islands are a refuge for a wide variety of bird and mammal species. Prudence Island is known for its popularity for migrating birds and presents excellent opportunities for bird watching. Ticks are plentiful on these islands so use insect repellant and dress accordingly. Accessible only by boat.
Sakonnet Point

Sakonnet Point is an ideal location for bird watching. The Sakonnet Point Lighthouse can be seen from the beach at the point, but is not open to the public.
Museum of Natural History and Cormack Planetarium

Roger Williams Park, 1000 Elmwood Avenue Providence, RI, 02907 Phone: 401-680-7221

Rhode Island's only natural history museum and home to the state's only planetarium make this a great place to visit and thing to do, especially on your next family vacation with children. The museum offers regular exhibits, events, and attractions. The Planetarium features a state-of-the-art Zeiss star projector and an enlarged domed ceiling on which the stars are projected. Children under age 4 are not permitted into the planetarium.
Hours: Museum open Friday - Monday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., with last admission at 3:30 p.m. The planetarium is open on Saturdays and Sundays, and the show is at 2 p.m.
Admission: Museum admission is $2 (does not include planetarium; free for members and children under age 4); planetarium tickets are $5 and must be purchased online (ticket sales are final and ticketholders cannot enter the planetarium once the show has begun).
Information: www.providenceri.com/museum.
Durfee Hill Wildlife Management Area

Route 94 Glocester, RI Phone:

This wildlife area is home to both game and non-game wildlife, including deer, rabbits, muskrat, and coyote. Hunters will find wild turkey, pheasant, and more in season.
Aquarium - Beavertail State Park - Jamestown, RI - Photo Credit RI Division of Parks
Beavertail State Park

Beavertail Road Jamestown, RI, 02835 Phone: 401-884-9834

This beautiful park on a high promontory overlooking Narragansett Bay is hemmed by a rocky coastline and lots of opportunities to study life of the tide pools. The Park operates a naturalist program for adults and kids to learn about tide pools and local geology, intertidal ecology, fish life and marine mammals.
Dutch Island Wildlife Management Avenue

This island's 94 acres of scrub and forest provide an opportunity to observe the coastal ecosystem. Several species of waterbirds, shorebirds, and wading birds can be found there. Access to the island by boat only.
Purgatory Chasm

Purgatory Road Middletown, RI Phone: 401-847-7565

A geological phenomenon caused by a thin crack in the ledges on the east side of Easton Point. The fissure has formed over the centuries due to erosion from the sea.
Watchamocket Cove

Another area bird-watching site, ideal for winter spotting of gulls and widgeons.