Visit the Nature Center

Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center

Mission Statement

Our mission is to foster environmental stewardship that will connect our communities to the natural world of the Lower Naugatuck River Valley, and balance the demand for recreation with the need for conservation

History

The Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center is a town owned and operated park located in Ansonia, Connecticut.

Once a small family-owned dairy farm, the park is laced with two and one-half miles of nature trails. The land encompasses almost 150 acres of wooded hills and grassy fields bisected by streams, a two acre pond, wet meadows, and an upland swamp.  The site is a wonderful microcosm of a typical Connecticut landscape which provides sanctuary to many species of New England flora and fauna (Download our  Trail Map here).    A portion of the park has been dedicated to recreational fields including soccer, baseball, and softball, as well as several acres reserved for community gardening and a large playscape for younger children.

Visitor Center

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The Ansonia Nature & Recreation Visitor Center  houses several exhibits, provides space for our animal ambassadors.  The unique visitor center, also know as the Schumacher Pavilion, was constructed in 1977 from Connecticut stone and glass is also the hub of the park with classrooms, a nature store, a small natural history library and office space.

Use of this facility is free and open to the general public year round from sun up to sun down.
Building hours vary with the season. Office hours are from 9 to 5 daily with the exception of major holidays.

Come meet our resident animals!

Most of the animals exhibited at the Nature Center are here because they are unable to survive in the wild. Some are domesticated animals that were surrendered by their previous owners, others are injured wild animals that are now unable to hunt or escape from predators. The ANRC views these animals as ambassadors of their species and displays them in settings so visitors can appreciate their beauty, observe their behavior, and better understand their lives.

Our Animal Ambassadors

E.T., our resident Ball Python
E.T., our resident Ball Python

E.T., our Ball Python, was found slithering down the halls of the Ansonia Middle School. These snakes–native to the savannas and grasslands of Africa–have become popular pets due to their docile temperament. Many people do not know that these snakes can live up to 30 years and often end up offering them up for adoption after having them for only a few years. E.T. is a huge part of our Animal Ambassador program and frequently travels with us to events! He’s the chillest animal here, at the Nature Center!

Mary, our Great Horned Owl
Mary, our Great Horned Owl

Mary, our Great Horned Owl (aka: GHO), came to us after having a rather unfortunate encounter with a barbed wire fence. One of her wings was shattered beyond mending and had to be amputated. While Mary escaped all of this with her life, having only one wing, she is non-releasable and is a permanent resident here, at the Ansonia Nature Center, and has been here for over 15 years! You can view her outdoor enclosure through a large glass window inside the Nature Center.

Red, the Screech Owl, one of our permanent, wild residents
Red, the Screech Owl, one of our permanent, wild residents

Red, is a Red-Phased Screech Owl. He was found standing on a street curb, exhausted, with his left eye closed. His encounter with a car left him blind in that eye. A one-eyed owl wouldn’t last long in the wild–not only would it be very difficult for him to hunt, he’d quickly fall prey to other predators. Red’s permanent home is here, at the Nature Center.

Sebastian, our Barred Owl
Sebastian, our Barred Owl

Barred owls are one of the most common owls in CT. In the woods surrounding the Nature Center, we frequently hear them hooting. Our staff have even sighted these owls in the early morning hours! Before being brought to us by Countryside Veterinary Hospital, Sebastian had received serious head trauma and a massive break in his left wing from a collision with a car. His wing could not be saved, so this lovely, one-winged barred owl’s permanent home is here, at the Nature Center. He lives on a healthy died of 3 frozen-thawed mice nightly, fed to him in his pine bough filled enclosure.  Sebby is a bit shy, so he doesn’t come out for a lot of programs, but when he does, his majestic presence is seldom forgotten.

Our other Animal Ambassadors

The Ansonia Nature Center is also home to Chuckles (a ring neck dove), Cutie (a guinea pig), Anson (an angora rabbit), a red eared slider turtle,  several hundred honey bees, salt water tide pool creatures,  three box turtles, three anoles, and a tarantula.

Want to meet some of our animal ambassadors up close and personal? Come to our Creature Features, every Saturday at noon. It’s then that we take out all of our tame animals to be petted and held!

Check out our Nature Store!

Looking for the perfect gift for your hiking or birding buddy? Have a child in your life that loves nature as much as you do? Check out our Nature Store! We have gifts for children of all ages. All of the profits from our store go towards the care of our animals!

Come stop by and take a look!

 

Book your birthday party at the Ansonia Nature Center!

Take your pick of the following programs:

Awesome Amphibians (Spring/Summer only)
Mad for Mammals
Reptiles Rule
Bird Brains
Creepy Crawly (insects and spiders)

And pick your time:

Saturday   or     Sunday
10:00am -12:00pm     or     2:00pm – 4:00pm

For $150 for FANCI members or $175 for non-FANCI members (includes 1 year FANCI Family Membership), you get a 45 minute live animal presentation.

The total time your have at the center is 2 hours. 15 minute setup time by family, 45 minute educational live animal presentation by FANCI, 45 minute food and gift time by family, and 15 minute cleanup by family.

Those booking the party are responsible for their attendees at all times. The Ansonia Nature Center does not provide staffing to watch children.

Payment is due with registration.  Fee includes up to twelve (12) children.  Additional fee of $5.00 for each additional child.  There is no fee for accompanying adults but total party participants cannot exceed 24.

Download the birthday party registration form here!

What We Do

Nature-oriented classes are provided to school-age children on weekdays.
We also offer scout programs call to talk to an instructor
We offer evening and weekend programs for adults and their families.

 If you’d like to receive a free copy in the mail, just provide us with your name and address by calling 203-736-1053.