Silver Lake Nature Center
GOOD FOR: Ages 5-8

Source:Outdoors with Kids Philadelphia (AMC Books)
Address:1306 Bath Road, Bristol, PA
Hours:Trails open sunrise to sunset daily; nature center open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday
Fee: Free
Contact:, 215-785-1177

Bathrooms: In the nature center
Water/Snacks: Water fountain at nature center
Map: (click on About Us)

Flat, peaceful trails and small, sun-splashed lakes invite families to spend time together exploring nature.

Silver Lake Nature Center
Photo by: Susan Charkes

At Silver Lake Nature Center, families can enjoy a variety of activities suitable for different ages and interests, in a well-cared-for setting of woods, lakes, pond, and marsh.

The park’s landscape looks a lot like that of South Jersey and southern Delaware—flat and sandy, with lots of hollies and pines sprinkled in the hardwoodforests. There’s a good reason for the similarity: The park sits on Pennsylvania’s tiny sliver of coastal plain, so it is in fact the  same flat, sandy soil. This makes for easily walkable trails, which are natural footpaths or boardwalks in marshy spots. Two small lakes connected by the Mill Creek flank the nature preserve. Magnolia Lake was a by-product of Pennsylvania Turnpike construction, while Silver Lake is a descendant of a centuries-old mill pond.

Begin your visit at the nature center, which features small but fascinating exhibits about local plants and animals, as well as the coastal plain. Two miles of well-marked trails fan out from the center through 60 adjoining acres.

They include a handicap-accessible trail, a half-mile of stroller-friendly, paved trails, and a “Kids Krawl” designed to give children a close-to-the-ground experience of the woods. Adjacent to a picnic area is a children’s play area that encourages young kids to explore “off-trail” in a safe, contained space, featuring interactive natural apparatus such as a teetering bridge and a sand “fossil pit.” Older kids can watch for ducks, egrets, and occasional eagles from wildlife observation platforms that overlook the lakes along the stream. Young anglers will enjoy fishing in the lakes themselves, from boats or along the banks.

Across Bath Road from the nature center is the 175-acre Delhaas Woods section of the property. The 2.5 miles of trails here are not difficult, but they are more suited for the experienced trail walker. The trails are not quite as well marked or as open as those on the nature center side.

The nature center sponsors several hundred family-oriented programs every year. Visit the website or call for details.

Remember: No pets or bikes are permitted in the nature center. Nonmotorized boats are permitted; the best launch site is from the Silver Lake County Park parking lot. Fishing is prohibited in the stream and from the observation platform.

Plan B:

Silver Lake County Park, next to the nature center, has 200 additional acres of wide-open spaces, ball fields, and picnic areas.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Along PA 413 or US 1 are plenty of places to eat.


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