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Outdoor Activities & Exhibits

Tenafly Nature Center has so much to offer visitors! Whether it's your first or one of many returns, you will find information about activities to enjoy on your next visit.

As an member supported, non-profit organization, membership is critical to our mission. Help us protect this "hidden gem" while enjoying exclusive member privileges. Enjoy the benefits of membership today.

Exhibits to Visit

Pollinator Garden


Visitors are welcome to explore the nature center's Butterfly and Pollinator Garden.

Butterfly House


Learn More Today!

Aviary


Visitors are welcome to visit our resident birds of prey at the aviary.

Birdfeeders


Several differnt types of birdfeeders are on display in front of the visitors center, outside. These feeders are kept filled October-June and are visited regularly by several native avian species (and the rogue squirrel or chipmunk). Species such as goldfinches, Red-winged Blackbirds, Woodpeckers, Chickadees, and Nuthatches can all be easliy identified using the exhibit display and visitors can pick up a TNC Bird checklist to start keeping track of their annual and life birds. Guests often ask why the feeders are strung up with a number of recycled plastic bottles? These are there to prevent squirrels and other non-avian species from utilizing the bird feeders. The feeders are filled with a variety of seeds so that we may attract an assortment of birds and so those that do utilize the feeders can find appropriate food.

Consider setting up a birdfeeder in your own yard! The experts at Wild Birds Unlimited in Paramus, NJ are always happy to help (Tenafly Nature Center members get a 10% discount at that location).

Frog & Salamander Pond


Seasonally visitors are sometimes able to get a close up look at our frog and salamander pond. In early spring, members can join a TNC educator for a salamander count as we search for breeding spotted salamanders.

Nature Playscape


Have you seen our outdoor play area? Created as an Eagle Scout project, a playscape (or natural playground), was placed off of the yellow trail. A playscape is an outdoor play space with minimal man made components. Playscapes are designed with the intent of bringing children and people back to nature.

The space features a small play area out of natural materials consisting of a sandbox, a balance/jumping path, and a messy materials area. This area was created with the intention to give young children a safe spot to run, jump and dig. A perfect space for children to play “floor is lava” and get their wiggles out!

Walking & Hiking


Tenafly Nature Center is a sanctuary for human visitors - an island of green where bonds with nature can be renewed. Whether you have an hour or a day, our woods offer a peaceful respite from the rush of daily life. We welcome visitors to take a leisurely walk to Pfister's Pond or enjoy a hike along our 7+ miles of trails.

Trail Running


Trail runners are welcome to train and enjoy a sprint through our woods along the 7+ miles of trails. In early spring, experienced trail runners are invited to discover the native terrain of the Lost Brook Preserve while participating in our annual Lost Brook Trail Race.

Learn more about the next race

Snowshoeing, Cross Country Skiing & Ice Skating


Cross country skiing and snow shoeing are among the activities which you may enjoy here, with Mother Nature’s cooperation, of course! Even when covered by snow, visitors are welcome to bring their own equipment and explore the trails of the nature center.

Ice skating on Pfister's Pond has been enjoyed by many in the past. For ice skating, visitors should call to learn if the ice is safe; ice skating is allowed only when the ice exceeds four inches. Some years there are no safe days; thick enough ice for safe skating usually takes several days of sustained below freezing weather.

Clear ice is stronger than white (bubble filled) ice. Four inches of clear ice will support 2000 pounds in a 30’ by 30’ space while it takes 8 inches of white ice to do the same thing.

You are reminded, however, that even in the safest conditions, there is always a chance for weak spots and/or that conditions could deteriorate without warning. Thus - anybody wishing to access either location at any time must USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.

If after considering the risk you choose to ice skate on the pond please follow the following safety guidelines:

  1. Skating is permitted only during regular business hours and everyone must be off the ice and the trails by dusk.
  2. Check in at the office and let a staff member know that you will be out.
  3. No skating alone.
  4. Bring rescue equipment – a rope that will float and a pole just in case of an emergency.
  5. If the ice is wet stay off until it has frozen again. Stay off ice that isn’t flat. For example if the pond level drops the ice will sink too but the ice touching the shoreline will be tilted and may not be able to support weight.
  6. Beware of areas with moving water such as inlets and outlets of the pond where the ice may be thin.
  7. A snow covered pond should be studied for wet spots in the snow. If there are none, clear the snow and skate; however if there are wet areas, they indicate that the ice beneath has been pushed down and submerged in water. Skating must wait until the slush has frozen adding more white ice to the pond.
  8. No ice hockey.
  9. Don’t throw sticks or stones onto the ice.
  10. Youth under 16 must be supervised by an adult at all times.

Wildlife Watching


Wildlife enthusiasts can enjoy bird-watching and observe other wildlife on their own or join our educators monthly for guided nature walks, full moon hikes, or any of our other seasonal programs.

Learn more about the Plant, Wildlife and Ecology of Tenafly Nature Center

Learn more about our upcoming guided seasonal programs

Photography & Filming

Learn if a permit is required!

Picnicking


Individuals and families wishing to enjoy the trails and not reserve a space exclusively are welcome to use the picnic tables in and/or around the pavilion (whenever they are not in use by a reserved group) dawn to dusk everyday. A facility rental will be required for any interest in the use of the campfire ring or fireplace.

Learn more about reserving either the Education Pavilion or Campfire Ring.

We encourage all visitors to make a small donation (suggested at $2 per person), which can be placed in one of our donation boxes. Reservations are required for all self-guided groups of 10+ people to avoid conflicts.

Learn more about bringing a group for self-guided use of the preserve

Adventures in Reading


Visitors may enjoy our seasonal StoryWalk®, an interactive outdoor exhibit that turns reading into an adventure. Read a nature-themed story while walking in the woods. Designed for beginning readers, stories will appeal to all ages.

The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition and the Kellogg Hubbard Library.

Explore-a-bag Backpack


Enhance your exploration of nature with our Nature Explorer Backpacks. This self-guided, year round program is designed for families to learn together, at their leisure, as they explore the Tenafly Nature Center trails. To help you on your adventure, we provide a backpack with an easy-to-understand Exploration Guide and an activity kit, which children of all ages will enjoy. Current backpack themes are Rockin’ Geology, Incredible Insects and Forest Explorer.

Rental Fee:
Members: FREE/
Non-members: $5

Junior Naturalist Program

Letterboxing


Letterboxing is a “treasure hunt” style outdoor activity. Letterboxers hide small, weatherproof boxes in publicly-accessible places (like TNC) and post clues to finding the box online on one of several Web sites. However, clues to finding some of the most highly-sought boxes are passed around by word of mouth. Tenafly Nature Center has a letterbox listed on letterboxing.org titled Rock, Paper, Scissors. This and any other letterboxes at TNC were not placed by TNC staff, but are listed here because they may be of interest to visitors.

Please visit letterboxing.org to learn more about and get the clues for the letterbox hidden at Tenafly Nature Center.

Geocaching


Geocaching is an outdoor activity, in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", at specific locations marked by coordinates, shared on the internet, all over the world. Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. Tenafly Nature Center has a few geochaches listed at geocaching.com, there you can type in our zip code (07670) to learn more. The caches listed here were not all placed by TNC staff, but are listed here because they maybe of interest to visitors.

Please visit geocaching.com to learn more about and get the coordinates for the geocaches hidden here at Tenafly Nature Center.

Pokémon GO & Harry Potter: Wizards Unite


Tenafly Nature Center is home to a wealth of wildlife and Pokémon! Introductions to the wild have lead to a diverse group of Pokémon taking residence on the Tenafly Nature Center property. Pokémon have quickly established themselves and are attracting Pokémon Trainers. TNC welcomes you to play Pokémon Go on our trails and enjoy some of our natural preserve! There are tons of Pokestops can be found throughout our trails and a PokéGym at the entrance, which can be accessed from the Nature Center Visitors Center. Please note: Pokémon are the only creatures that are allowed to be captured on TNC property.

Calling all wizards! If are more familiar with a more magical world and you want to get away from all those muggles than we welcome you to enjoy Harry Potter: Wizards Unite here at Tenafly Nature Center. TNC is a great place to bring your friends and discover foundables! Our visitor center is a greenhouse and the purple & yellow trails have fortresses you can walk to while unlocking your portkeys. Enjoy the sights and sounds of nature as your avatar does some serious magic.

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