Specialty & Seasonal Programs

Our Specialty Programs highlight some of the best the Nature Center has to offer through uniquely designed, seasonally themed programs. Programs can take place on our 40-acre sanctuary or at a natural location near you.

Apple Cider Making*

All Ages — Nature Center only

Students will learn first-hand all about the traditional making of cider as they help us pick apples from our orchard and use our old-fashioned cider press to squeeze the final product. This time honored tradition also includes activities related to pollination and tree life cycle. Students will even have the opportunity to taste pasteurized apple cider.

  • CT social studies standards 1.2, 1.3, 1.5/ NY social studies Standard 1
*Program available at New Canaan Nature Center from September to October.

Bees & Pollination*

Preschool – Grade 2

Learn all about the life cycle of our local bees by visiting our active hives at the center! Through our interactive displays of real hives and the use of pollination activities students can learn why our "local" bees are so important to just about every flower and fruit that is grown.

  • CT science standards PK.2, K.2, 1.2, 1.3, 2.2/ NY Living Environment 3.1, 4.1, 6.1
*Program available Spring and Summer only.

Low Ropes Course / Team Building*

Grades 4 and up

"Teamwork doesn't seem like work when it helps to make the dream work." Your adventure guide will lead and motivate your group through our low ropes initiatives and team building exercises designed to build cooperative spirit and confidence while creating a sense of connection with everyone in the group regardless of skill, ability or strength. This program can be tailored for groups of all ages and skill levels from young students to a corporate retreat.

*Low Ropes is held at the Nature Center. The Team Building program may travel to your location.

Maple Syrup Making*

All Ages — Nature Center only

As we hike the trail from Maple Avenue to our Sugar Shack, your class will discover how trees make their own food, how we extract this food (in the form of sap) and what we do to the sap to turn it into maple syrup. Traditional Native American stories and activities, such as hot rock boiling, are also a great part of this program. We'll even sample the finished product!

  • CT social studies standards 1.2, 1.3, 1.5/ NY social studies Standard 1
*Program available at New Canaan Nature Center from February to March.

Native American Culture & Customs

Grades 2 – 4

Students will take a trip back in time using the Nature Center's live animals, Native American artifacts, games and stories. We'll discover how Native Americans sharpened their hunting skills and passed down their culture and stories. We'll experience artifacts relating to Native American life and play a Native American game.

  • CT social studies standards 1.3, 1.5, 1.12, 1.13/ NY social studies Standard 1

Night Hike Adventure

Grades 4 and up — Nature Center only

Night is a magical time in nature that people often never experience! Dispel your fears of the woods at night with this fun and interactive program that takes place on the Nature Center grounds after dark! No flashlights allowed as your naturalist guides your group through the woods with a series of exciting activities designed to help students explore nature with all of their senses. If we are quiet enough we might even hear some wild nocturnal animals! A visit by one of our nocturnal animal ambassadors, such as an owl or opossum, will give the group an up-close look at these night-time animals and their adaptations.


Orienteering (Compass & Map Skills)

Grades 4 and up

There is nothing more fun than wandering in the woods - IF you know where you are! Students will learn about different types of maps and how to read them in order to successfully navigate the wonders of our world. Younger students will use skills to complete a series of fun map-related challenges and tasks. Older students will also learn how to use a compass and combine their new-found map and compass skills on an outdoor orienteering adventure!

  • CT social studies standards 1.4, 2.1, 2.2/ NY social studies Standard 3

Service Learning Projects

All Ages

Are you interested in a community service project in your area but are having trouble coming up with an idea? If you have an idea do you need assistance planning? This program is a great way for the New Canaan Nature Center to support you and your students! We can help formulate your ideas into realities and provide knowledge, support, and education. Past topics have included:

  • Re-establish gardens in the school yard
  • Introduce a composting program for school lunch
  • Park clean ups in the community
  • Invasive species removal
  • Beach clean up

Contact us to discuss your ideas and how we can help! Call our Education Program Director, Geoff McCann at (203) 966-9577 x38.