Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Boston (AMC Books)
Address:108 North Street, Norfolk, MA
Hours:Trails: dawn to dusk daily; nature center: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays in July and August
Fee: Adults, $4; children ages 3–12, $3; Mass Audubon members, free
Contact:; 508-528-3140

Bathrooms: At the nature center
Water/Snacks: Water fountain in the nature center

USGS Franklin

Walking along boardwalks that cross over marshland, you are likely to see lots of wildlife here, from swans to great blue herons to turtles to frogs.

Observing wildlife at Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary.
Photo by: Kim Foley MacKinnon

Much of this hike involves walking along boardwalks over and around Teal Marsh, Kingfisher Pond, and Stony Brook Pond. Take Pond Loop Trail, which starts at Sensory Trail (which is a wheelchair-accessible loop), and make sure you take the short detour along Beech Grove Loop. (You’ll also be crossing through some woods and fields along the way.) The whole trip is just over 1 mile and is suitable for snowshoeing.

On a recent visit, we searched in vain for otters that we were told swim here, but we were rewarded with a pair of swans that came to eat right below a section of the boardwalk. We watched quietly while the gorgeous creatures fished at a shallow part of the Kingfisher Pond and then swam off. Later, as we ate lunch at a picnic table near the nature center, we also spotted a great blue heron flying overhead. Clearly, the ponds and marsh are rich feeding grounds for birds at this Mass Audubon sanctuary.

Remember: Don’t forget binoculars and a camera when you visit. You’re bound to want a closer look at all the birds here.

Plan B:

Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary (Trip 55) and Moose Hill Farm (Trip 56) are both about 20 minutes away by car.

Where to Eat Nearby:

The town of Norfolk is north of the sanctuary on MA 115 and its main street offers a few options for dining. US 1 has plenty of mainstream chain restaurants too.


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