Rancocas Nature Center
GOOD FOR: Ages 5-8
RATING:


Source:Outdoors with Kids Philadelphia (AMC Books)
Address:794 Rancocas Road, Mount Holly, NJ
Hours:9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday
Fee: Free
Contact:

njaudubon.org, 609-261-2495

Bathrooms: At visitor center
Water/Snacks: Water fountain at visitor center
Map:

njaudubon.org (click on Centers, then Rancocas)


This small nature center features easy trails designed for young children.

Rancocas Nature Center
Photo by: Susan Charkes

Rancocas Nature Center, on the grounds of Rancocas State Park (but operated by the New Jersey Audubon Society as an independent site), is a natural area near the Rancocas Creek. With easy, well-maintained interpretive nature trails in a variety of habitats, this is an ideal spot for young kids to explore the Pine Barrens close to Philadelphia.

Rancocas Nature Center is an environmental education center that focuses on introducing children to nature. At the visitor center, in a nineteenth-century farmhouse, a small natural history museum features live animals, a “please touch” table, and wildlife exhibits. The staff is happy to provide guidance. Just outside the building are both a Children’s Garden, for very young kids, and a Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden for all ages.

On the grounds, well-marked trails loop through the nature center’s 58 acres of mixed deciduous and evergreen woods, old fields, meandering streams, and marshes. The trails are all easy and short, and are mostly level. The woods and fields are open and quiet, giving the trails a safe, peaceful character.

Take Orange Trail to get to the creek through the wetlands, which can be muddy. Yellow Trail, close to the visitor center, goes by the small Dragonfly Pond. Blue Trail leads through wetlands and a mixed hardwood and conifer forest. From Blue Trail you can cross over a small, clear stream by a footbridge into the Rankokus Indian Reservation; it is not part of the nature center, but has a short nature trail open to the public (please stay on the trail). 

Picnic tables are in two areas: near the entrance to the Children’s Garden, and in the wooded area near the trailheads.

The nature center offers a variety of educational programs and field trips. Check the website or call ahead for details.

Remember: No dogs are permitted at the nature center. Hunting is regularly conducted in fall; trails may be closed.

Plan B:

Rancocas State Park is a 1,252-acre park with trails for hikers and bikers, with a separate entrance, though the trails connect to the trails of the nature center. No staffed facilities are on the site. For more information, see nj.gov/dep/parksandforests.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Restaurants and shops are located in Mount Holly on High Street, Washington Street, and other streets.



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