Stamford, CT

Best Day Trip In FAIRFIELD COUNTY!

Taylor Keating

I cannot believe that I have lived so close to such a wonderful place and never visited until quarantine this summer. Stamford Nature Center is a gem and if you’re close by and have children especially, I urge you to visit. I first found this location by my son wanting to go see some animals. We had jumped into the car with my mom and the two kids and were headed to go see the ducks at Stew Leonard’s. however, my son was hell bent on seeing some pigs. We were already driving and my mom and I looked at each other and said, if Lincoln wants to see a pig, we’re going to find a pig. The rest is history!

We ended up heading to this nature center thinking it would be a little farm in the middle of the woods and when we got there, we were so pleasantly surprised. We loved it so much so that we bought the family pass back in June and went weekly for most of the summer!

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Located in the back woods of Stamford, this was a quick drive for us. Due to COVID they do have some safety guidelines, but because the farm is primarily outside, their main rule is that if you’re near someone else, wear a mask. In all of the six months we’ve been frequenting the farm, I’ve never worried there were too many people or felt unsafe being there. They’ve set up a bunch of different handwashing stations throughout as well so it’s super easy to stop really quick and wash without having to go into a building or bathroom to do so.

My children are young so I haven’t done any of their special events or activities yet, but one visit to their website will show how amazing they are. They had two weeks of Halloween festivities where you could explore the animals with fun crafts. We did go to a Fall Festival one weekend there and my children were too small to get most of the activities but it was still a blast.

They had two different areas where children could do activities. Some of these included pumpkin carving and decorating. At one area they had small animals that a worker was talking to the groups with and telling facts. It was really cute!

There was a large tent with food trucks near by and seating with tables where you could have lunch. A local children’s musician was there too hosting the event and singing fun songs. It was honestly a great time and completely free for us because we are members. I would’ve gone more if I didn’t miss out and get tickets!

I really loved that the entire farm is open. It doesn’t have a set pathway or make you feel like you’re quickly being ushered through. Some zoos have that feel that you go on a single path and aren’t really supposed to stop and enjoy. The farm is completely open with wooden fences for the animals. You can pick where you’re starting, up the hill is a large barn and horses, and down is the donkey and cows. Lincoln ALWAYS wants the cows first so we personally have a pretty set path.

One thing that’s a little bit of a negative is that they have a farm map that is confusing. Our first few times, we had never been obviously and we didn’t really know where we were going. They have wonderful hiking trails and we didn’t discover that for a long time. They also change where the farm animals are from time to time to allow grazing areas to grow and that wasn’t reflected on the map. Really not a big deal, but it was confusing to get around at first and find everything.

The best part is that you go and you feel good. It’s not cages and containers that the animals are kept in. They are large and strong and look happy and healthy. Of course, that’s just my perception, but still. The experience there is very laid back and go with the flow. There’s no large gift shop or continuous food areas to try to get more and more money. It’s just about the animals and I really loved that.

Toward the middle of the fall, there was an entire bee keeping area that was a bit in the distance but you could still see it. There are crops and different farming plots. I know that right now they have a maple syrup exhibit going on and workshops where you can tap various trees if you want to. It’s free for members but extra if you aren’t on.

The best part for us, especially during quarantine, was the playground. We hadn’t been to one in forever and this one was massive! It’s all wooden. We’ve gone to the farm about a million times, some in the morning, some in the afternoon. It has never been crowded before. The entire area is wooden and tucked into the hillside with natural rocks and roots and wood within in.

There’s a pirate ship that’s fully open that kids can crawl throughout and climb to the top. Over on the other side there’s a huge slide with a tall tower that takes a bit of work to get up to. The rest of it has different stair areas and slides, some small some long. It’s really a great playset to explore and has a lot of different options depending on where your child is developmentally. Lincoln now loves the largest area whereas before he was a little afraid.

We’ve only done one of the hiking trails, the red trail. In total it was a quarter of a mile and it was beyond beautiful. The trail began with a board walk and you cross over a small stream that has a lot of rock and wildlife within it. On that one trail alone there was two different bird watching stations that seemed to get a lot of visitors. We heard so many different birds and frogs and crickets.

We passed one family the entire time and it’s never been to the point where you’re worried you’re going to bump shoulders with someone. This specific trail was very easy to navigate and get out of it and looped us right back to the playground.

If you live in this area and love the outdoors, farms, hiking, or a quick day trip, The Stamford Nature Center is a sure pick. Would recommend it to anyone visiting!

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An early childhood educator at heart, now raising two toddlers with big feelings and writing about mom life through a real lens.

Ridgefield, CT
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