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Region Nine Nature Centers

Niagara, Erie, Wyoming, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties

Region Nine includes the counties of Niagara, Erie, Wyoming, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Allegany. Varied opportunities to learn about nature abound in the region, which includes a major flyway for migratory birds and a butterfly garden.

DEC encourages visitors to call ahead to confirm directions, hours of operation and/or user fee information.

Note: By clicking on the links for these environmental centers, you will go off DEC's website.

Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve and Environmental Education Center

NYSDEC
93 Honorine Drive
Depew, NY 14043
716-683-5959
Fax: 716-686-0210
Reinstein Woods's website

Erie County

Program Description: Reinstein Woods is a unique 292-acre complex of wetlands and old growth forest in the heart of suburban Cheektowaga. Spectacular beech, maple, and cherry trees abound in a forest that is interspersed with 19 ponds, wetlands and wet meadows. While walking through several miles of trails you may catch a glimpse of the beaver, muskrat, turkeys, white-tailed deer or waterfowl that make their home in the preserve. The Environmental Education Center holds offices, a library, classrooms, meeting room, nature viewing area and exhibit space. Other features include an herb garden and a boardwalk leading to an overlook of Lily Pond. The Preserve is managed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Environmental educators provide age-appropriate outdoor education programs for school children and guided tours for other organizations. Special programs such as bird watching, wildflower walks and owl prowls are offered monthly. Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing tours are offered during winter.

Public guided tours offered every Saturday at 10:00 AM

Hours:
Environmental Education Center: Mon. - Fri. 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM and Saturdays 1:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Self-guided Interpretive Trails: Regular Hours: Mon. - Sat. 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM and Extended Hours (May - August): Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM, Sundays 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Closed state holidays

Fees: No

Buildings: Comfort Station and Environmental Education Center.

Wheelchair access: Boardwalk overlooking the lily pond and buildings are wheelchair accessible

Visitor Focus: General public, school groups, scout troops, other private groups

Picnic Area: None, however, picnic shelters can be reserved in nearby Stiglmeier Park

Beaver Island State Park Nature Center

Niagara Region Park Interpretive Office
PO Box 1132
Niagara Falls, NY 14303-0132
716-278-1728
Fax: 716-278-1739
Beaver Island Nature Center Website
Beaver Island State Park Website

Niagara County

Program Description: Beaver Island State Park is located along the Niagara River. The Niagara River has been classified as a nationally significant bird migration area. Every spring miles of wetland trails turn into a beautiful combination of bird songs and wildflower blossoms. Migrating Tundra Swans annually visit the park shoreline in search of food, and local Niagara River Islands are home to the area's most incredible Great Blue Heron rookery.

A trained State Parks naturalist is available to answer questions, present nature programs, provide children's activities, or lead nature walks. The nature center includes displays about the natural world, live animals, wildlife gardens, and interactive exhibits, and special guest presentations. Program topics include birds, insects, wetlands, pond life, mammals, wildflowers, local geology, fishing, endangered species, and nature study. Special guest presentations from local organizations occur regularly throughout the summer. Beaver Island State Park patrons can also enjoy biking, golf, hiking, fishing, disc golf, sledding, cross-country skiing, and a sand-covered beach on the shore of the Niagara River.

Our goal is to reveal the wonders of the natural world to people through fun, interactive activities and events. Visitors can get a close look at local wildlife and spectacular opportunities for bird watching, wildlife photography, and nature study.

Hours: July - Labor Day: Wed. - Sun.: 12:00PM - 5:00PM // Programs during nature center hours can be arranged any time but advanced registration is requested.

Fees: Nature Center: No; Park admission fee: Yes

Buildings: Interpretive center and restrooms

Wheelchair access: Yes

Visitor Focus: Schools, General Public, groups, Scouts

Picnic Area: Yes

Beaver Meadow Nature Center

Buffalo Audubon Society
1610 Welch Road
North Java, NY 14113-9713
585-457-3228
Fax: 585-457-1378
Beaver Meadow Nature Center Website

Wyoming County

Program Description: Operated by the Buffalo Audubon Society, the Beaver Meadow Audubon Center offers indoor and outdoor programs for all ages, covering a wide range of topics. Visitors can take part in traditional nature programs, such as tree, wildflower, and bird ID classes, or experience more unique programs, such as our wilderness survival class, Native American lore sessions, or programs focusing on edible plants. Winter experiences include snowshoe programs (snowshoes available for rent), animal tracking workshops, Maple Sugaring programs, and winter birding.

Programs can be scheduled for any community or private group in advance. Public programs are offered throughout the year, including monthly Full Moon Walks, Free Family Programs every Sunday at 3:00PM, and seasonal nature festivals. Overnight and outreach programs are also available. An Astronomical Observatory is also on site, giving visitors the opportunity to explore the night sky.

Visitors to the Center can also experience the Beaver Meadow preserve on their own. Eight miles of trails explore various habitats(upland forest and meadow, kettle ponds, and a 40-acre active beaver pond colony). Two self-guided interpretive booklets (available at the Visitor Center) provide a ecological and historical narrative. Self-guided activities are also available for children, as part of the Center's Junior Naturalist program.

Hours: Interpretive building: Tues-Sat 10:00AM-5:00PM, Sun 1:00PM - 5:00PM, Closed Mondays and major holidays.
Trails are always open
Observatory: Open 1st & 3rd Saturday evenings beginning at dusk in April thru October.

Fees: Donation suggested for admission. Fees apply for some programs

Buildings: The Visitor Center contains the nature gift shop, interpretive displays, live animal displays, bird feeder viewing area, beaver pond observation deck, nature art gallery, nature research library, restrooms, and a discovery room for children. The Astronomical Observatory houses a variety of telescopes and astronomy equipment. The Sugar Shanty is in operation during maple sugaring season. The Beaver Pond photo blind and picnic shelters are also on-site.

Wheelchair access: Visitor Center, Jenny Glen boardwalk, and Old Homestead Trail

Visitor Focus: Schools, general public, all community and private groups

Picnic Area: Yes

Fort Niagara State Park Nature Center

Niagara Region Park Interpretive Office
PO Box 1132
Niagara Falls, NY 14303-0132
716-278-1728
Fax: 716-278-1739
Fort Niagara State Park Nature Center Website

Niagara County

Program Description: Fort Niagara State Park is situated where the Niagara River ends it 36-mile journey at Lake Ontario. The Niagara River Corridor has been designated as a globally significant Important Bird Area (IBA). Thousands of birds pass through here during their annual migrations. Red-headed woodpeckers make use of old orchard trees, Bald Eagles search for food on the river, and waterfowl delight in the resources of Lake Ontario. The park's terrain is relatively flat with a mixed landscape of woods and field. Here you'll find such species as white-tailed deer, woodchuck, and coyote.

A state park naturalist is available to answer questions, present nature programs, provide children's activities, or lead nature walks. The nature center includes displays highlighting the natural world, live animals, Great Lakes ecology, wildflowers, interactive exhibits, and more. Program topics include birds, insects, trees, wetlands, mammals, aquatic studies, endangered species, local geology, and general nature study. Fort Niagara State Park patrons can also enjoy a measured walking course, soccer, historic tours, swimming pools, biking, a lighthouse, fishing, sledding, cross-country skiing, and more. A few minutes down the road campers can enjoy the beauty of Four-Mile Creek State Campground.

Our goal is to reveal the wonders of the natural world through fun, interactive events and activities. Visitors can get a close look at local wildlife and enjoy spectacular opportunities for bird watching, wildlife photography, and nature study.

Hours: July - Labor Day: Wed. - Sun.: 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM // Programs during nature center hours can be arranged any time but advanced registration is requested.

Fees: Nate Center: No; Park admission fee: Yes

Buildings: Interpretive center

Wheelchair access: No

Visitor Focus: Schools, General Public, groups, Scouts

Picnic Area: Yes

Jamestown Audubon Nature Center

1600 Riverside Road
Jamestown, NY 14701
716-569-2345
Fax: 716-569-2765
Jamestown Audubon Nature Center Website

Chautauqua County

Program Description: School and scout programs, Little Explorers - monthly Saturday programs for children aged 3-8 and their favorite grownups, summer day camps for children preK-high school, First Friday - monthly nature-related programs for adults, teacher workshops, festivals and fun events.

Hours: Trails and grounds: available to the public dawn until dusk
Building: Mon. - Sat.: 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM and Sundays 1:00 PM - 4:30 PM (closed Tuesday-Friday from November through March)

Fees: Trails, grounds, restrooms, store, Sundays - no charge
Building: Monday-Saturday - small fee for adult non-members
Fees for some programs

Buildings: Interpretive center, restrooms

Trails: 5.5 miles of well-maintained trails, mostly flat, that take visitors through forests and fields and near ponds and wetlands. A ¼ mile stretch which leads to an observation deck near Big Pond is asphalt-covered making it accessible for wheelchairs, strollers, and walkers.

Wheelchair access: Yes

Visitor Focus: Families, general public, school and other youth groups

Picnic Area: Yes

Pfeiffer Nature Center

14 South Main St.
P.O. Box 802
Portville, NY 14770
716-933-0187
Pfeiffer Nature Center's website

Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties

Program Description: Environmental and interpretive education is a significant aspect of the mission of the Pfeiffer Nature Center. The Center presents nature-oriented programs to members and the general public; organizes workshops, teacher in service, youth day camps, and, provides field trip opportunities for school and community groups. The nature center also sponsors artistic and musical events throughout the year and is host to the annual Woods Walk & Trail Run, part of the Eastern Grip Trail Series. See the Calendar of Events on our website for details.

Hours: Open dawn to dusk, or by appointment for evening hours.

Lillibridge property: 1974 Lillibridge Rd, Portville NY. Open dawn to dusk, year-round, the property has188 acres of old-growth forest, a rustic American Chestnut log cabin listed in the National & State Registers of Historic Places, information kiosk stocked with trail maps, six miles of marked foot-trails that pass through a variety of forest ecotypes, such as coniferous and northern hardwood forests, two educational multistage geocaches, a self guided trail on the northern hardwood forest, and an accessible interpretative trail with a compacted graveled surface, benches, and interpretative signs on the old growth forest. Guided nature walks are offered periodically.

Eshelman property: 1420 Yubadam Rd, Portville, NY. Open dawn to dusk, January through September, the property consists of 460 acres and has an active sugar bush, on-going scientific research projects, and a small farm. There are three miles of trails through forests, meadows, transitional zones, and near ponds, bogs, and wetlands and an information kiosk stocked with trail maps. Guided nature walks are offered periodically. The Eshelman property is a local watchable wildlife site for native and migratory songbirds. Free bird walks are offered in May.

Fees: Both properties are open to the public free of charge. Donations are appreciated. Monthly nature walks are free. All other programs have fees.

Buildings: The Pfeiffer-Wheeler American Chestnut log cabin, listed in the National & State Registers of Historic Places, is located on the Lillibridge property.

Wheelchair access: The Lillibridge property has a compacted gravel and limestone accessible interpretative trails for those with limited mobility. Otherwise, all other trails are natural ground cover with differing levels of ease for walking.

Visitor Focus: General public, school groups, community groups, research interests.

Picnic Area: Yes

Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History

311 Curtis Street
Jamestown, NY 14701
716-668-2473 or 800-758-6841
Fax: 716-655-3794
Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History Website

Chautauqua County

Program Description: Natural History Museum: Enjoy Wildlife art and photography exhibitions or view the collection of this century's great naturalist, Dr Roger Tory Peterson.

Hours: Tues. - Sat.: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM and Sunday: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Fees: Adults: $3; Children: $2; Members: Free

Buildings: 27 Wooded Acre setting with natural history library and Nature Store

Wheelchair access: Yes

Visitor Focus: Schools, General Public

Picnic Area: Yes, small area

Tifft Nature Preserve

Buffalo Museum of Science
1200 Fuhrmann Boulevard
Buffalo, NY 14203
Preserve: 716-825-6397
Fax: 716-824-6718
Tifft Nature Preserve Website

Erie County

Program Description: Tifft Nature Preserve includes a diversity of habitats including cattail marsh, lakes, ponds, meadows, old fields and cottonwood/willow forest. Located along a migratory flyway, over 250 species of birds have been sighted at Tifft. A 1992 floral survey resulted in the identification of over 300 species of vascular plants. Environmental educators conduct environmental education programs for pre-scheduled school classes, civic groups, and other organizations. Nature programs for children, adults and families include bird study, nature photography, wildflowers, night programs, marsh and pond study among others.

Free nature walks are offered on Thursdays at 10:00 AM and Sundays at 2:00 PM, year-round or by reservation.

Hours: Trails: sunrise to sunset // Visitor Center: Wed. - Sat.: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM and Sundays 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM, closed national holidays.

Fees: Registration fees apply for registered groups and some public programs. Trails are free to the public.

Buildings: Visitor Center, restrooms

Wheelchair access: Yes

Visitor Focus: Limited. Please call for more information.

Picnic Area: Yes. No cooking allowed.