Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Boston (AMC Books)
Address:280 Eliot Street, Natick, MA
Hours:Trails: dawn to dusk Tuesday through Sunday; nature center: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends and Monday holidays
Fee: Adults, $5; children ages 3–12, $4; Mass Audubon members, free
Bathrooms: At the nature center
Water/Snacks: Water fountain in the nature center

USGS Framingham;

Over the brook and through the woods, 9 miles of trails at Broadmoor will enchant kids with boardwalks, waterfalls, and wildlife.

Two friends look for turtles, frogs, and fish from the 430-foot long boardwalk along Indian Brook.
Photo by: Kim Foley MacKinnon

Your kids probably won’t want to leave the boardwalk sections of Broadmoor’s trails after spotting turtles, geese, frogs, and other wildlife. The promise of a waterfall should do the trick, though. From the Mass Audobon’s nature center, where you have to check in, start with All Persons Trail, a 430-foot-long accessible boardwalk along Indian Brook and over marsh, then head to Mill Pond/ Marsh Trail to see the waterfall. The water gushing down the chute was used for powering a wheel at the former mill site.

Though this is just a mile-long trek, be prepared for slow going because there’s so much to see. This is a hike not to get somewhere, but rather to enjoy the journey. You may want to explain to the kids that you have to return the same way so that they know they will get a chance to explore the same territory again.

The various habitats—wetlands, fields, woods, brooks, vernal pools—attract all sorts of animals, including beaver, otters, turtles, and more than 150 varieties of birds. A gristmill was once on the property, which you’ll see evidence of by the cascading waterfall that powered the saw for the mill. Other trails lead to the Charles River, open fields, and a drumlin (an elongated hill formed by glacial drift). The sanctuary is also a great place to snowshoe in winter.

Remember: Don’t skip the nature center, where you can learn about its green features, including solar panels for electricity and composting toilets.

Plan B:

Elm Bank Reservation (Trip 48) is in Wellesley, less than 3 miles away.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Natick’s Main Street offers a variety of places to eat.



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By: Guest
Posted: 02/24/2014 09:29
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By: ddrenik
Posted: 12/30/2013 12:02

Broadmoor is a family favorite for us. We spend multiple days/month exploring here.

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By: j_schuur
Posted: 06/28/2012 20:53

Wonderful hiking, birdwatching and reptile and amphibian viewing. Good for an hour or a day.

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By: letipearman
Posted: 06/28/2012 12:18

Scratch everything I wrote in the previous comment! We took our kids to Broadmoor this past June, and we all had a great time! The boardwalks right off the main building take you over wetlands that are teeming with frogs, turtles, and other great critters. The hike to the cascades was easy, and our preschooler got a kick out of climbing old logs and small rock outcroppings, checking out signs of beaver, and admiring the cascades. The babies (9 month old twins) seemed to enjoy the feast for the senses too.

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By: letipearman
Posted: 05/31/2012 11:42

We enjoyed our trip to Broadmoor but only give it 3 stars because it feels more suited to adult bird watchers, hikers/nature walkers, and other folks who might appreciate a more serene experience. There are some nice cascades not too far from the main building that a kid might enjoy checking out. To be fair, we went without our children, so I could be surprised by our child liking it more than I'd imagine.

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