Choose Your Own Nature Adventure
Nature lovers can explore sandy beaches, woodland trails, salt marches and experience the thrill of a lifetime on a whale watch all in one weekend.
Nature lovers can explore sandy beaches, woodland trails, salt marshes and experience the thrill of a lifetime on a whale watch—all in a weekend!
Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Barnstable, features butterfly-filled meadows, farm animals and easy trails leading to Barnstable Harbor, flanked by the dunes of Sandy Neck Barrier Reef. Kids (and adults!) will love the live animal exhibits in the Nature Center where they can learn about the conservation projects currently in place to protect local, rare species.
Walk the Butterfly Mosaic trail to observe various species of butterflies in their natural habitat. Another great feature is Long Pasture’s Nature Play Area. Perfect for young children, the Play Area was constructed with a 250-year old tree that fell in Barnstable Village, and allows children to crawl through the “stump tunnel”, climb branches, and test their balance on a “branch bridge”.
Maybe you’re interested in birds such as herons or egrets, or perhaps you’ve always wanted to explore the wetlands in search of toads and turtles. Choose your own adventure with any one of the six trails, each unique with an endless variety of flora and fauna.
The next day, discover more of Cape Cod’s natural beauty with an ocean adventure. Head on over to Millway Marina to Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises. Here, you can board The Whale Watcher, a vessel, designed specifically for New England waters and has three viewing levels and over 650 feet of rail space for viewing, sun decks and bench seating. Grab lunch in the galley with a full-service snack bar.
Seeing whales, dolphins, other rare species of fish, and sea birds in their native habitat of Stellwagen Bank, is a great way for children to get a feel for the natural world and learn why it is so important to protect the environment. This year will be extra special, as there will be right whales with their calves. (Twelve baby right whales were born this year!) Naturalists on board are available to answer any questions, as well as share their extensive knowledge and tell stories about all the wildlife you’ll see from scientific—and even personal, standpoints.
Prepare for your North Atlantic adventure by dressing warmly- it’s always 10 degrees cooler out on the water than on land. Wear sunglasses and sunscreen. (Insider Tip from Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises’ Melissa Marchand: The seas may not for everyone- but there is Dramamine available for purchase in the gift shop. For those who think they might feel a little queasy, it is always better to be prepared!)
Finish the day with dinner at Captain Parker’s Pub, a restaurant overlooking the picturesque Parker’s River in West Yarmouth. Captain Parker’s features award-winning clam chowder and a relaxing patio complete with a firepit—the perfect place to reflect on your day of nature-filled experiences.
The Nature Center at Long Pasture is open Tuesday – Friday, 9:00am – 4:00pm, Saturday – Sunday 10am – 3:00pm. The trails are open daily, from dawn until dusk.
- By Ettractions Digital Content Coordinator, PAULA ALVARADO
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