EcoTarium is the science and nature museum in New England. In fact, prior to 1998 EcoTarium was called New England Science Center. While the name is different the mission to stick to its roots in the natural sciences with a focus on hands-on exploration and discovery is stronger than ever. Here is a breakdown to help you plan your visit.
Science and Nature Exhibits
Hands-on investigations for all ages. The EcoTarium’s museum building features three floors of hands-on, interactive exhibits that explore the natural and physical sciences and our New England environment. Each year, the museum welcomes dynamic traveling exhibits, as well as houses permanent installations that make creative use of the museum’s natural history collection and living wildlife. Our exhibits make learning fun and are designed to engage a family audience.
Featured exhibits include:
- The Arctic Next Door: Mount Washington
- Nature Explore® Outdoor Exhibit
- City Science: The Science You Live
- Did Dinosaurs Poop?
I already know my son’s favorite area with be the Preschool Discovery Area. A kid-sized hammock, a giant cube to crawl through, playhouses and buildings to climb, peek and even slide.
Alden Digital Planetarium: A National Geographic Theater
Part of a 5yr partnership with National Geographic, The Alden Digital Planetarium is truly cutting edge. The first completely digital in the state and one of the few selected for this partnership.
Prepare for a multi-sensory experience with images to create a three-dimensional solar system projected onto a 40-foot dome, surround sound technology from Bose, and of course a 360-degree view.
Tickets for the Planetarium are not included with museum admission and can be purchased at the Tickets and Information Desk on the day of your visit.
- $5 per person (plus museum admission)
- $4 per person for EcoTarium members
This is my favorite feature as I have always been drawn to anything and everything to do with animals. On a visit to the EcoTarium, you’ll encounter a wide variety of animals, from owls to turtles to bald eagles. Some of the animals live on the grounds while others due to injuries, illness, human socialization, or other issues which make them unreleasable to the wild; live on exhibit or take part in special animal programs.
Multi-Species Animal Exhibits:
- Animal Corner
Meet native animals you rarely see. Several have come out of hiding to live in the Animal Corner building on the museum’s Lower Courtyard. Drop by to see our personable porcupine and skunks.
- Tide Pool
Check out the tide pool tank on the lower level of the museum. It’s full of crabs, sea stars, mussels, and other shoreline creatures. Take a seat to watch how New England’s coastal critters feed, crawl, and interact.
- Our wild friends
The EcoTarium is set on 55 acres of land that includes woodlands, ponds and marshland, and meadow habitats. It’s a popular spot for native New England wildlife.
With 55 acres of land, would only seem natural to include some outdoor fun and learning. Nature trails and interactive play exhibits are sure to extend your day of fun.
This is sure to be a family favorite as so many of the trails and even Siegfried the Stegosaurus remind us of our favorite museum back in Atlanta.
- Vibram Walking Trail
This scenic trail loops our secluded Lower Pond. Stop at a pier and scan the shoreline for native wildlife. From sunfish to turtles basking in the sun, and even an occasional visit from a Great Blue Heron, our Lower Pond attracts a variety of animal inhabitants and visitors. A Japanese-style water pavilion at the opposite end of the pond provides a perfect spot to rest and reflect. Wheelchair accessible to the pier, past the pier terrain is uneven.
- Timescape Trail
Trace thousands of years of history in geologic, lichen and human time in this short walk in the woods on the edge of our site. Then cross the driveway to the Meadow Trail to compare the two habitats. Do you hear different birds? See different insects?
- Meadow Trail
Stroll through a native New England meadow, filled with the plants that grew in the area before European settlement. Keep a sharp eye for wild butterflies, birds, bugs and other creatures that live there. The meadow, planted in summer 2000, is a healthy example of a southern New England meadow ecosystem.
Siegfried the Stegosaurus
Siegfried can be found on the Lower Courtyard on the way to the museum’s Lower Entrance. And don’t let his quiet demeanor fool you as he is quite the celebrity around Worcester. He’s starred in two storybooks where he’s made the rounds in Worcester, traveling to Mechanics Hall, Worcester Art Museum, and other local hot spots, and being treated by the physicians at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.
Tree Canopy Walkway
While currently under reimagining, it was first in the area to have a 40 foot above ground playground with swinging bridges, platforms, and zip line. I can’t wait to see the changes!
Explorer Express Train
Explorer Express Train is a replica of the 1863 C.P. Huntington steam locomotive and a favorite attraction for many EcoTarium’s visitors. Open-air passenger cars take visitors on a scenic 12-minute ride; a relaxing and fun way to see the museum grounds.
Explorer Train tickets are an additional cost to general admission. Tickets are available at the train station on the day of your visit and are not stamped for any particular time; train seats are filled first-come, first-served, for each departure.
- $3.00 per person
- $2.00 for EcoTarium members
Great Pumpkin Nights
Starting this weekend you can join EcoTarium for The biggest Halloween celebration for families in Central Massachusetts!
Join us for an all-ages Halloween spectacular with more than 3,000 professionally carved pumpkins lit up in stunning displays, take a train ride on the Explorer Express Train presented by the Worcester Railers HC (additional ticket required, purchase at event), plus, enjoy traditional trick-or-treating, entertainment, and more. These striking pumpkin displays of dinosaurs, safari animals, and beautifully carved jack-o’-lanterns will captivate you as you stroll the EcoTarium’s gorgeous grounds.
Friendly Halloween costumes are encouraged! Bring a flashlight to light your way at night and be sure to dress for the weather. This event takes place rain or shine.
WHEN: October 19-22, 26-29 | 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
- $16 general public
- $12 EcoTarium Members
- Children under 2 free
- $12 Group rate tickets are available for 20 or more, please call EcoTarium Reservations at 508.929.2703
Proceeds benefit EcoTarium. No passes, coupons, or discounts apply. Great Pumpkin Nights is a special event fundraiser to support the museum.
For advanced ticket purchase and full schedule of events, please visit: ecotarium.org/events-activities/great-pumpkin-nights