15th Annual Audubon Nature Festival Topsfield, Ma

It’s like Burning Man for your kids

If you were born between 1950 and 1980 and grew up in greater Boston, you probably met Spooky the great horned owl at the Museum of Science. Always perfectly perched at the entrance to the museum, you could say ‘Hi’ to him while you waited forever in the line to enter the main exhibit halls. Who didn’t love that owl? There is something innately otherworldly about owls that we didn’t need David Lynch to help us realize(but it didn’t hurt either). Seldom heard or seen, but always around, each time you are lucky enough to see one is a memory building event.

This week, make the trek to the 15th Annual Audubon Nature Festival in Topsfield, MA. There will be face painting, fun and games, food, nature walks, lots of opportunities to learn about and explore a beautiful sanctuary, and yes, owls galore. In short, this event will be long on memories.

About the Festival

Outdoor fun for kids from 8 – 88
From 10-4 on Sunday, the sanctuary grounds is the place to be. Just $12/car gains you admission to the grounds for the day. There will be simple festival food and drink on site and loads of outdoor fun to be had by all. We could copy and paste the festival’s published list of events planned for the day, but they did such a good job that it would just be silly of us.

Pro Tip: When you park, mention the phrase “paperless coupon” to the attendant and you will receive a $2 discount off the already reasonable entrance fee.

About The Sanctuary

Regardless of the date, outdoor adventures are plentiful in the sanctuary. Here are a few or our favorites:

Photo Credit: Chris Crandall

Photo Credit: Chris Crandall

Lunch in the Grotto

Pack a lunch and take a short but scenic hike on the Rockery Trail to the Rock Grotto. It’s an easy hike and a great place to sit and eat with lots of nooks and crannies for kids to climb and explore. Little ones 3+ can handle the hike and if they have energy to burn after lunch you can extend the hike by taking the longer part of the Rockery Trail loop back to the parking lot.

Pro Tip: Pack some birdseed, a quiet kid will have nuthatches and chickadees eating out of his or her hands.

Photo Credit: Chris Crandall

Photo Credit: Chris Crandall

Lunch in the Grotto

Are your kids a little older and into a treasure hunt? Download and print this quest before you head out. You’ll spend about an hour solving the nature-themed riddles and finding clues that will eventually lead you to the treasure chest, er, box.


Canoe and Camp

Do you prefer to view nature while silently paddling through the water? If so, this is the plan for you. There are 8 miles of the meandering Ipswich River contained within the sanctuary. They have canoes and all the gear you’ll need for rent on site; it’s one stop shopping.

Pro Tip: Bring your camping gear and rent a camp site on Perkins Island. It’s managed by the sanctuary and accessible by canoe. This time of year you’ll be serenaded by peepers all night long and when you wake up you’ll feel like you are a lot farther than 35 minutes from Boston.

The Details

email: ipswichriver@massaudubon.org
web: Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary
phone: (978) 887-9264
map: 87 Perkins Row, Topsfield, MA 01983


One Last Thing

If you like what you see, consider buying an annual family membership - $32 gets you a family membership and access to all MassAudubon locations statewide.

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