New Canaan Nature Center Reconnect to your GREAT OUTDOORS


Join us for programs that explore the best features of the New Canaan Nature Center! From dipping in our pond to trekking through the forest to meeting one of our live animals, NCNC offers a variety of fun, interactive and unique of programs for children and family throughout the year.

Upcoming Programs

OWL MOON Night Hike
Saturday, January 31
6:30 - 8:00 P.M.

Let the light of the FULL moon be your guide as we explore magic in the woods and unravel the myriad mysteries of our nocturnal neighbors – the owls. Owl Moon is what we call the full moon nearest start of the mating season for Great Horned Owls who typically start their calling in late January when the end of winter seems so far away. 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 try our luck at some owl call-ins to see if we can bring our feathered friends in closer for observation.

Program will include an interactive night hike and live owl presentation. Participants will have a chance to interact with naturalists and ask questions with a warm cup of cocoa after the outdoor walk.

Check-in at the Visitor Center front desk.

Come dressed for the cold night weather & able to be outdoors for at least 1 hour.

Please no flashlights (they lessen the impact of the night-time experience). For safety, staff will have emergency lights.

Space is limited - register in advance to guarantee your spot!

Please call 203-966-9577 x20 to register by Thursday, January 29 @ 4:00 P.M.
Ages: All ages.
Members: $7/person / Non-Members: $10/person

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Community Sugaring Program
Saturday, February 7 Kick-off
10:00 A.M. - 2:00 P.M.

This is the seventh year for this program and has fast become a community favorite.

Families/individuals/groups get a chance each year to adopt the New Canaan Nature Center’s sugar maple trees and enjoy the nature center from a unique and exciting perspective where they actually participate fully in this time honored tradition of New England. The New Canaan Nature Center taps nearly 50 trees throughout the property with some trees being robust enough to handle 2-3 taps each!

Program begins with Adopt a Tree Kickoff on Feb. 7th. Syrup families/groups come for one time block to learn the process and take part in choosing and tapping a tree for the season (takes approx. 45-60 minutes).

Participants collect sap 1-3 times a week (depends on sap flow conditions) for the syrup season (4-6 weeks typically) and take part in boil downs where REAL maple syrup is made right here at NCNC.

At the end of the season, all participants will be invited to our Maple Syrup Pot-Luck Dinner on a date to be determined, where each family or group will receive their own bottle of New Canaan Nature Center maple syrup. We will also showcase participants’ culinary prowess and creativity as everyone is encouraged to bring a maple syrup themed food item to the pot-luck.

Participants in this unique program will also be invited to attend our March 21st Syrup Saturday Festival - a pancake brunch, plus tons of fun syrup-related activities!

Please note, due to the nature of the syrup season, sap collection can last 4-7 weeks typically. It all depends on the weather conditions!

The cost to participate in this program is $75 per group/family. Multiple families can adopt the same tree and share the cost. However, at the end of the program, only one jar of syrup is provided.

Please call 966-9577 x20 with questions or to register and reserve your maple tree and bucket. There will be three tap times on Saturday, February 7 at 10:00 A.M., 11:30 A.M., and 1:00 P.M.. Please sign up for a tap time in advance.

Ages: All ages.
Members: $75 per family / Non-Members: $75 per family

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Winter Break Program Ages 3-8
February 18, 19 & 20 (Wed,Thur,Fri)
9:00 A.M. - Noon
Noon - 1:00 P.M. Lunch Bunch

Out of school and looking for some wintry fun and adventure in the great outdoors? Come on 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.

Each day campers will discover different wonders of the winter season while they traverse the property and let nature surround them. Daily activities are subject to change based on daily weather forecasts. Program emphasizes hands-on outdoor activities and educational nature games and art experiences that engage the mind and body.

Themes include:
· Mitten Mania & Winter Survival
· Winter Woods & Animal Tracks
· Frosty Friends & Their Frozen Homes

As weather permits we will also have sledding adventures & good old fashioned fun in the snowy powder (ie. snow forts, snowmen building). We will keep a close eye on whatever weather Mother Nature has in store for us and adjust our adventures accordingly.
Healthy snack will be provided. Please dress appropriately to be outdoors in the winter weather (snow suits, boots, jackets, hats, mittens, layers, etc).

Extend your stay and join us for Lunch Bunch each day from Noon-1:00 A.M. for $15/day (bring your own lunch).

Similar to camp, kids are placed in groups based on age (ie. AGE 3, AGE 4-5, AGE 6-7) Placement is ultimately dependent upon enrollment demographics.

Enroll now – limited space available!

Please call 203-966-9577 x 20
Ages: 3-8.
Members: $45 per day; Lunch Bunch - $15 per day / Non-Members: $64 per day; Lunch Bunch - $15 per day

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Boil Down Fridays
Friday, February 20 - the end of Syrup Season
10:00 A.M. - 2:00 P.M.

Have you ever wondered where Maple Syrup comes from? Meet the NCNC Naturalists out at our Sugar Shack to learn how we make our very own Maple Syrup!

Learn about the history of this New England tradition, what syrup grades really mean, what causes sap to flow in winter.

Boil Down Fridays are a drop-in program open FREE to the public.

Ages: All ages.

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Saturday Boil Downs
Saturday, February 21 & 28
10:00 A.M. - 2:00 P.M.

Grab the entire family and come on down to the Sugar Shack to see how we turn Maple Sap into delicious Maple Syrup! Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the Green or stop by the Visitor Center to warm up.
Learn about the history of this New England tradition, what syrup grades really mean, what causes sap to flow in winter.

Saturday Boil Downs are a drop-in program open FREE to the public.

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Friday Family Fun Night: Boil Down Under the Stars
Friday, March 6
6:30 - 8:00 P.M.

Join us for a unique and one-of-a-kind Friday Family Fun Night… out at the Sugar Shack! That’s right, our Naturalists are hosting an Evening Boil Down, where you and the entire family will discover how we make delicious maple syrup right here onsite. We’ll challenge groups with fun, interactive maple-inspired games, before sharing native and traditional folklore stories around the campfire. You’ll even get to taste some sweet treats, so don’t miss out!

This family program is FREE. Just drop on by.

Donations are greatly appreciated.

Our very own NCNC Maple Syrup will be available for sale!

Ages: Perfect for ALL ages!.

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Syrup Saturday &
Pancake Brunch
Saturday, March 21
10:30 A.M. - 1:30 P.M.

Bring the whole family and join us out by the Sugar Shack as we celebrate the bounty from this year’s Syrup Season! The day will include tree tapping demos, a real maple sap “boil down” using sap from our resident Nature Center maples, plus a look into the past of historic and native methods of producing Maple Syrup.

Put your woodsmen skills to the test with our Second Annual Family Lumberjack Challenge! Try your hand at wood heaving (how far can you throw a log of firewood?), before tackling our firewood stacking competition. Does your family have what it takes to complete our entire log rolling obstacle course? Join us to find out!

And of course we’ll be serving up flapjacks, syrup and an array of tasty toppings (fruit, chocolate chips, and more!) at our famously delicious Pancake Brunch.

Take a Real v. Fake Syrup taste test, gather round the campfire to share tall tales of this winter’s adventures (and roast a marshmallow or two!), and try your hand at some maple-themed crafts.

In fine syruping tradition we’ll also have an assortment of delicious maple treats and bottles of NCNC Maple Syrup for sale in our Nature Shop!

This event is primarily outdoors, although brunch is indoors. Activities will run throughout the day.

Kids 2 & under are FREE!

Ages: All ages.
Members: $8/person / Non-Members: $12/person

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Year Round Family Fun!

Annual/Biannual Events include:

  • Syrup Saturday: a pancake brunch & festival celebrating the maple syrup season! mid March
  • Cider Saturday: a celebration of cider season including cider press demos, apple baking, crafts and more. September
  • Fall Fair: pony rides, apple slingshots, bounce houses and bungee jumps, pumpkin decorating, face painting, food, and fun October
  • Winter Wonderland: horse-drawn wagon rides, visits with Santa, cookie decorating, holiday trains, chestnuts on an open fire and more December


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> Special Events
> Early Childhood Programs
> Summer Camp
> Membership Information

Upcoming Adult Programs

Winter Farmer's Market in the Greenhouse
Every Tuesday
January 27- March 31
11:00 A.M. - 2:00 P.M.
> Learn more

NYBG: Perennial Plant Combinations
Saturday, February 7
10:30 A.M.- 3:00 P.M.
> Learn more

NYBG: Landscaping with Perennials
Tuesday, March 3
9:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M.
> Learn more

> View More Adult Programs