Outdoor Guide | Summer Fun

Up Close and Personal With Wildlife

Get cozy with local and exotic flora and fauna


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The Norman Bird Sanctuary offers novice birdwatchers a chance to observe native species in their natural habitat. The sanctuary has seven miles of trails on over 325 acres, offering resources for solo birders and guided walks for those who prefer to stay with the flock. The 19th century Barn Museum offers glimpses into Aquidneck Island’s ecosystems and history. 583 3rd Beach Road, Middletown. 401-846-2577, normanbirdsanctuary.org

Get In Touch With Nature

The Audubon Society of Rhode Island has an extensive network of nature preserves and hiking/observation trails throughout the state, but their showpiece is undoubtedly the Environmental Education Center in Bristol.

Part natural history museum, part aquarium, the center is located inside the McIntosh Wildlife Refuge along the East Bay Bike Path. Explore the inside of a 33-foot whale, plunge into tidal touch tank and explore the salt marsh trails throughout the property. 1401 Hope Street, Bristol. 401-949-5454, asri.org

Walk With The Animals

Okay, yes, it’s a given that you can see wild animals at Providence’s Roger Williams Park Zoo. What you might not know, though, is exactly how closely you can see them. The Zoo offers unique, unforgettable animal experiences on a limited basis, like camel rides and feeding the giraffes and the harbor seals. The Alex and Ani Farmyard has a petting zoo where kids (or, guys, girls on first dates who will be wildly impressed) can pet mini Nubian goats. 1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence. 401-785-3510, rwpzoo.org

Dive Into The Ocean deep

If you find yourself at the beach and in need of a little break from the sun’s rays, dive into the Save the Bay Exploration Center & Aquarium. Located in the rotunda at Easton’s Beach (also known as First Beach) in Newport, the center houses over 150 species native to Narragansett Bay. You can even get up close (maybe a little too close) to bamboo sharks in the touch tank. Easton’s Beach Rotunda, 175 Memorial Boulevard, Newport. 401-324-6020, savebay.org

Explore The Urban Jungle

Given the expanses of gorgeous open space throughout the state, you might be surprised to learn that the biggest botanical garden in Rhode Island – nay, in all of New England – is inside the Capital City’s limits. The Roger Williams Park Botanical Center is home to 150 plant species from around the world, inside two greenhouses totaling nearly 12,000 square feet. Outside, peruse the Perennial Garden, Pine & Hosta Dell, the Winter Garden, Wooded Hillside Garden, Overlook Terrace and the Rose Maze. 1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence. 785-9450, providenceri.com/botanical-center

Norman Bird Sanctuary, Audubon Society of Rhode Island, hey rhody, outdoor guide, Roger Williams Park Zoo, Save the Bay Exploration Center & Aquarium, Roger Williams Park Botanical Center


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