It has a new pollinator garden, a recently built rustic meadow pavilion, a redesigned universally accessible trail and A NEW NAME!
The Audubon Environmental Education Center is now called
The Audubon Nature Center and Aquarium.
It’s a more welcoming name that better describes the exhibits, activities and visitor experience offered at the Audubon Center in Bristol. “Over the years we realized that many people didn’t know the Center was a place that visitors could just drop-in, or that it contained state-of-the-art aquarium exhibits that the public could enjoy,” explained Audubon Executive Director Lawrence Taft. “While we will continue to offer many environmental programs and classes, we also want people to know that the Center is here to enjoy on a daily basis. Why not visit the new pollinator garden, stop by to say hello to the Red-tailed Hawks, and bring a picnic to enjoy under the meadow pavilion? Come spend a morning and stroll the boardwalk to Narragansett Bay, catch the current art exhibit and discover the marine life in our aquarium exhibits. The new name better reflects what we offer to the community.”
The New Pollinator Garden is Underway
Watch it grow! Visitors will enter through an elevated walk and find a central gathering place filled with wildflowers, a native vegetable garden and a cove of apple trees. They will sit on a rustic wooden bench and observe wildlife under a rose-covered Black Locus arbor. People of all ages will discover the world of pollinators, learn about their current crisis and find out how they can help support these insects at home. This new pollinator garden, soon to be surrounded by a matrix of tall wild grasses and meadow wildflowers, is the most recent attraction being installed at the Audubon Nature Center and Aquarium.
Under the direction of renowned garden designer John Gwynne (pictured in the second photo) of Little Compton, Audubon Board Member and Master Gardener Terry Meyer (pictured in the middle; top photo) led Audubon staff, members of the Bristol Garden Club, Master Gardeners and other volunteers for phase one of the planting process on May 2, 2018. They donned their gardening gloves and dug in as select perennials and shrubs were planted with the hope to entice both pollinators and visitors. Work will continue throughout the summer as additional plantings and elements of the new garden are installed. Audubon encourages visitors to drop by the Nature Center and Aquarium and watch as the new pollinator discovery garden takes shape.
A Rustic Meadow Pavilion has Recently Been Constructed
Perfect for shade-seekers in summer, classes for school children, picnic lunches and small gatherings such as weddings, the new Audubon meadow pavilion is a rustic wood-frame shelter next to the meadow for all to enjoy.
The Redesigned Universally Accessible Trail Will Open This Summer
A new universally accessible trail will meander through the meadow behind the Nature Center and Aquarium, eventually connecting with the boardwalk that leads to Narragansett Bay. It has been redesigned to be less steep, with switchbacks that provide easier access for all. Created with a permeable surface, it is environmentally friendly and less prone to erosion, but smoother for wheelchairs and strollers. Audubon began work on this ADA-compliant trail last fall to ensure that it would be ready for visitors to enjoy during the summer months.
And while there are new and exciting projects happening at Audubon, some things will never change. Friendly and knowledgeable staff, quality programs and the winding boardwalk through beautiful, natural habitats to Narragansett Bay will continue to engage and educate visitors of all ages. From the new pollinator garden to shore explorations, bug hunts and wild plant and mushroom hikes, Audubon has something for all ages this summer. Go ahead, get outside and join the fun!
For details and to register for programs, visit the events calendar.
The new garden, trail and pavilion are made possible through support from The Champlin Foundations, Vivian J. Palmieri Charitable Trust, and Audubon supporters.