Myrick Conservation Center
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Philadelphia (AMC Books)
Address:1760 Unionville-Wawaset Road, West Chester, PA
Hours:Trails open dawn to dusk daily
Fee: Free
Bathrooms: None
Water/Snacks: None

At parking lot kiosk

Take in long views, picnic by a shaded pond, or explore a small woods stream along a variety of trails in a peaceful Chester County environmental education center.

Myrick Conservation Center
Photo by: Susan Charkes

At Myrick Conservation Center, kids of all ages can explore a variety of trails that go through farm fields and woods along a stream and across rocky ridges. Trails are designed to lead kids through the diverse habitats of a typical Chester County landscape that is also a serene refuge for wildlife.

The Myrick Center is the headquarters for two watershed associations (Brandywine Valley and Red Clay Valley), which operate the site as an environmental education center for local schools. Converted from a historical farm, the center looks in some ways unchanged since the nineteenth century. The fields are still planted with row crops; the surrounding hills are largely undeveloped. The big, red bank barn, which has signs describing what the various sections were once used for, contains classrooms. The grounds extend on both sides of PA 842.

The west side, where the main office and parking area are located, is flatter and easier for young kids. The trails are well maintained and easy to follow, though not blazed. Follow the broad, unnamed, mowed-grass trail that branches off from the Farm Loop through wildflower meadows that are full of summer butterflies to the quiet, concealed Turtle Pond, hidden in the brush. Here you can enjoy a picnic while watching the frogs that seem to outnumber the turtles. South of the fields is a large, open woods with wide dirt trails; signs not only label different kinds of trees but also give some information about how to identify each tree, and what that tree is used for. 

On the east side, trails are a bit more rugged, suitable for older kids; they climb onto the top of a high ridge that provides beautiful long-distance views of the Chester County countryside.

Also on the east side is the Hill & Stream Interpretive Trail, which goes along and across a small stream. Pick up a brochure describing marked features of interest at the office. For school-age kids, this is a fun way to learn about different habitats and buildings as they walk along.

Remember: Dogs are not permitted on the grounds between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and some trails are closed to dogs.

Plan B:

Harmony Hill Nature Area has paved bike and walking paths, as well as more rugged hiking trails in woods, and also provides access to the East Branch of the Brandywine Creek for paddling and fishing.


Where to Eat Nearby:

It’s best to bring a picnic.


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