Hudson Highlands Nature Museum
We love how living in Westchester provides easy access the Orange County and its incredible access to nature. One place to get on your radar for a day trip or a weekend away is the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum. Comprised of two locations with the Outdoor Discovery Center and Wildlife Education Center, families can enjoy a range of programs — both dedicated to connecting kids to nature through hands-on education and play.
This includes a focus on the natural wonders of the Hudson Highlands and an appreciation for the natural world. Programs for families include a preschool program, weekend nature programs, summer camp, school programs, and more! Discover more about what you expect during a visit to this immersive and educational nature center.
Psst…Looking for more outdoor adventures? Check out the Best Westchester Winter Hikes
Things to Do at the Outdoor Discovery Center
Located on 177-acres, the Outdoor Discovery Center offers visitors access to 10 miles of trails and a five-acre mitigated wetland.
The Outdoor Discovery Center also includes a natural play space called the Grasshopper Grove. Here, kids can use their imaginations, have fun, and get dirty as they play with natural materials. This includes building and playing in their ‘loose parts’ area, configuring slate, playing with rainwater, playing with sand and dirt, and much more.
Come and play in Grasshopper Grove, the first nature play area in the Hudson Valley, at the Outdoor Discovery Center, 120 Muser Drive, Cornwall. Grasshopper Grove is a ‘bridge’ between a mowed lawn and the wild woods, that encourages children to discover nature play spaces in their own backyards and the wider world. Children can use their imaginations to build in the ‘loose parts’ area, hop from stump to stump, play in the sand and dirt pile, paint with water and much more!
Families can also enjoy exploring a range of hiking trails at the Outdoor Discovery Center. This includes stroller-friendly options to more challenging trails. However, dogs are not permitted on the trails. Click here to see the full map of trails.
Additionally, the facility is home to the Young Naturalists program, a science and nature-based preschool. Designed for three-and-four year-olds, the program focuses on science and nature-based activities, outdoor experiences, and social skills to get kids ready for kindergarten.
Things to Do at the Wildlife Education Center
You’ll find a range of things to do at the Hudson Highlights Nature Museum. Located in the Joseph F Maloney III Hall of Animals, families can enjoy access to animals including, rabbits, turtles, frogs, toads, salamanders, snakes, owls, and fish. Through the “Stomping Grounds: Habitats of the Hudson Valley” exhibit, you and your kids will have the opportunity to learn more about beavers, the Hudson River, migratation, and more. Families will also have the chance to “meet the animals” every Saturday and Sunday at 1:00pm and 2:30pm.
You can also enjoy a range of special events throughout the year at the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum.
Wine and Spirits Ghost Tour (for ages 21+) – Friday, October 20, 7pm-9pm
For a fun night out/date night idea, check out their upcoming wine and spirits ghost tour. Held in their 160-year-old farmhouse, the event includes wine tastings, stories, and a spooky tour. Museum members are $75 per person and not-yet-members are $90 per person.
7th Annual Meadows & Trails 5K Run/Walk – Saturday, October 21st at 11:00am
Families will have the opportunity to run or walk the trails in this annual race. Participation in the race supports their nature-based education programs, events, and their animal ambassadors.
iSPY Halloween Nature Trail– Saturday, October 28th, 11:00pm-3:00pm
Enjoy some spook-tacular family fun with the no-scare I SPY Halloween Trail. During this special self-guided scavenger haunt, families will work together to find hidden items and receive a prize. Additionally, costumes are encouraged. All tickets are $10 for kids ages three and up.
Wilderness Survival – November, 11th from 10:00am-12:00pm
During this special program, kids ages 8 and up will learn skills for outdoor survival. Interestingly, this includes long-term survival skills such as bushcraft tool making, foraging, water purification techniques, and wilderness first aid. Admission is $12 per person for members and $15 for non-members
Outdoor Discovery Center Museum Details
120 Muser Drive
Cornwall, NY (off Angola Road.)
Grasshopper Grove is open on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00am-4:00pm
Museum members are free and not-yet-members are $5 per person.
Wildlife Education Center Details
Museum members are free and not-yet-members are $5 per person (ages 3 and up).