Nature Studies
The study of nature is appealing to people of all ages. It is easy to incorporate nature studies into your homeschooling approach. Some homeschooling methods focus very strongly on nature studies, including the Charlotte Mason method. Learn why it is so important and some great approaches to learning from nature.
Things to See & Do in New York
Central Park Zoo
From a steamy rain forest to an icy Antarctic penguin habitat, the zoo leads visitors through tropic, temperate and polar regions to encounter fascinating animals - from tiny leafcutter ants to tremendous polar bears. The Tisch Children's Zoo lets little animal lovers meet gentle creatures up close. Year-round education classes and innovative public programs - including the zoo's "Wildlife Theater" -- encourage all ages to learn more about our natural world, and become involved in its protection.
Prospect Park Zoo
At the Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn, naturalistic habitat exhibits feature many different animal species. Three major exhibit areas were designed to engage children: The World of Animals, Animal Lifestyles, and Animals in Our Lives. In the World of Animals, youngsters can meet prairie dogs nose-to-nose, and walk among wallabies. The Animal Lifestyles building's centerpiece is a spectacular habitat for hamadryas baboons. Animals in Our Lives exhibits encourage children to observe and draw wildlife; outside, visitors can interact with friendly, touchable species in an inviting barnyard.
Staten Island Zoo
The Staten Island Zoo exhibits animals in a variety of settings, including the African Savannah at Twilight exhibit, a Tropical Forest, the Aquarium, the Serpentarium, the Children's Center, and various outdoor exhibits. Also offers special exhibits and an educational program.
Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park
The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is located in Syracuse. Central New York's embraceable Zoo boasts youngsters that are endearing to kids of all ages; elephants youngsters who love to play in their pool, two year old lion cubs who hone their instinctive hunting skills through their play and the young siamang whose athletic antics are favorites in the social animal world. The Zoo is open year round and offers educational programs as well.
North Country National Scenic Trail
The North Country National Scenic Trail links scenic, natural, historic, and cultural areas in seven northern states. The approximately four thousand mile long trail incudes a variety of hikes from easy walking to challenging treks. When completed, through the efforts of many people, the trail will become the longest continuous hiking trail in the United States. From the Missouri River in North Dakota to the shores of Lake Champlain in New York, the trail allows hikers to experience a variety of features, from clear-flowing streams, to thick Northern woods, from vast prairies to clean lakes.
Seneca Park Zoo
Located in Rochester, the Seneca Park Zoo offers animal exhibits, educational programs, and special exhibits. Highlights include the Genesse Trail and Discovery Center and the Rocky Coasts exhibit.
Fire Island National Seashore
Pristine ocean shores, an ancient maritime forest, legacies of lighthouse keepers, and the historic estate of William Floyd are just a few of the recreational, natural, and cultural resources of Fire Island National Seashore. Located only one hour east of New York City, this park offers visitors many types of relaxation and educational opportunities. Fire Island National Seashore was established "for the purpose of conserving and preserving for the use of future generations certain relatively unspoiled and undeveloped beaches, dunes, and other natural features ... which possess high values to the Nation as examples of unspoiled areas of great natural beauty in close proximity to large concentrations of urban population."
New York Aquarium
Located in Brooklyn, the New York Aquarium offers exhibits featuring over 8,000 animals. Learn about animals living as far away as the Southwest coast of Africa and the Arctic to those found locally in our own Hudson River. Hightlights include the Alien Stingers exhibit, Sea Cliffs exhibit, and Aquatheater presentations, featuring California sea lions.
Gateway National Recreation Area
Gateway NRA is a 26,000 acre recreation area located in the heart of the New York metropolitan area. The park extends through three New York City boroughs and into northern New Jersey. Park sites offer a variety of recreation opportunities, along with a chance to explore many significant cultural and natural resources.
New York State Living Museum
Located in Watertown, the New York State Living Museum is committed to zoological excellence and passion for New York's wild things and wild places while instilling new depths of curiosity and knowledge for visitors and the community.
Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo is the flagship of the largest network of metropolitan zoos in the country, with exhibits featuring over 4,000 animals. View Western lowland gorillas in the Congo Gorilla Forest , snow leopards in the Himalayan Highlands Habitat, and almost an acre of an indoor Asian rain forest. Offers educational programs and special exhibits.
Trevor Zoo
The Trevor Zoo is located on Millbrook School Road, six miles east of the village of Millbrook and four miles west of the village of Amenia. It accommodates more than 120 exotic and indigenous animals on six acres.
Explore & More Children's Museum
Over two decades ago, Explore & More opened in a 500-square foot room in a school basement. The idea of having high-quality play-based learning for children from all over Western New York had been cultivated in the minds of a small group of dedicated parents, educators and toy designers. The museum with its all-volunteer staff saw 1,000 visitors that first year. Flash forward 21 years later, to Explore & More today, currently housed in a space 14 times that size, serving over 60,000 children and their family members each year. Several national and international studies since have continued to confirm the idea on which the Museum began—that play is essential to healthy brain development in children. With nationally recognized and award-winning programs and exhibits, the most generous free admission policy in the area, and a mission to provide critically important informal learning experiences for all, Explore & More has become an important asset to the well-being of children and families in Western New York.
Niagara Falls State Park
America’s oldest state park, Niagara Falls State Park stands today as an American icon and enduring legacy of the visionaries who worked to save it for generations to come. Today, the park’s signature attraction, majestic Niagara Falls, is the dramatic apex of the free-flowing waters of the Niagara River Gorge. Visitors from around the world are entranced by the thundering wonder of Niagara Falls, a gradn tribute to the men and women who fought to preserve it for all.
Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River
As a part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River stretches 73.4 miles (118.3 km) along the New York-Pennsylvania border. The longest free-flowing river in the Northeast, it includes riffles and Class I and II rapids between placid pools and eddies. Public fishing and boating accesses are provided, although most land along the river is privately owned. Wintering bald eagles are among the wildlife that may be seen here. This unit of the National Park Service is also home to John Roebling's Delaware Aqueduct and the Zane Grey Museum in Lackawaxen, PA.
Utica Zoo
Located in Roscoe-Conkling Park, the Utica Zoo is part of a recreational complex featuring over 200 animals. Of the 80 acres of land set aside for the zoo's use, 35 are presently developed. Also offers educational programs.
Queens Zoo
The Queens Zoo features exhibits of wild habitats, from the Great Plains to the rocky California coast to a Northeast forest. At home in these naturalistic settings are American species of American bison, mountain lions, California sea lions, American bald eagles, Roosevelt elk, and more. South America is represented as well and the Queens Zoo is also the only New York home to spectacled bears, endangered natives of the Andes Mountains. The aviary is a geodesic dome, designed by Buckminster Fuller and used in the 1964 World's Fair in Queens. And the zoo's animal residents include "Otis," the famous coyote rescued in Manhattan's Central Park in 1999.
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is a 2,180-mile footpath along the ridgecrests and across the major valleys of the Appalachian Mountains from Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in northern Georgia. It traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Conceived in 1921, it was built by private citizens and completed in 1937. The trail traverses Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia.
Buffalo Zoological Gardens
The Buffalo Zoological Gardens is the nation’s third oldest zoo. Located in 23.5 acres of beautiful Delaware Park, the Buffalo Zoo exhibits a diverse collection of wild and exotic animals, and more than 320 different species of plants. Animals on exhibit include the lowland gorilla troop, rhinoceros, hyenas, polar bears, and many more.
National Parks of New York Harbor
The National Parks of New York Harbor represents a collaboration, or organizational network, of these parks: Gateway National Recreation Area, Governors Island, Manhattan Sites and Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island, as well as one affiliated site, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. These remarkable places include Jamaica Bay, the largest continuous piece of open space in all of New York City and icons such as the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, recognized the world over. The parks also include the cradle of our nation at Federal Hall on Wall Street, places in Manhattan where Presidents have lived and breathed and been interred and memorialized, and Governors Island, the newest national park on New York Harbor.
MOST Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology
The Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology is a hands-on science and technology museum for people of all ages and includes the Silverman Planetarium and the only domed IMAX® theater in New York State. Discover, learn & play!
Ross Park Zoo
Ross Park Zoo sits tucked into the northern face of Binghamton's South Mountain. Highlights include Cat Country Complex, the Spectacled Bear exhibit, and Our Changing World and Penguin Exhibit.
Resources
Field Trips: Bug Hunting, Animal Tracking, Bird-watching, Shore Walking

With Jim Arnosky as your guide, an ordinary hike becomes an eye-opening experience. He'll help you spot a hawk soaring far overhead and note the details of a dragonfly up close. Study the black-and-white drawings -- based on his own field research -- and you'll discover if those tracks in the brush were made by a deer or a fox.

In his celebrated style, this author, artist, and naturalist enthusiastically shares a wealth of tips. Jim Arnosky wants you to enjoy watching wildlife. He carefully explains how field marks, shapes, and location give clues for identifying certain plants and animals wherever you are. He gives hints for sharpening observational skills. And he encourages you to draw and record birds, insects, shells, animal tracks, and other finds from a busy day's watch.

Nature Studies Homeschool Curriculum
Considering God's Creation
Life science truly comes alive with this 270-page lap-book style notebook for 2nd-7th graders. A Charlotte Mason type discovery approach is easily implemented with creative activities, music and topical Bible studies, making this program a perfect choice for a homeschool family or a classroom. It may be used as a stand-alone science course or as an invaluable supplemental resource for any other program. 
Nature Studies Activities & Experiments
How I Teach a Large Family in a Relaxed, Classical Way: Science
Family style learning is a great way to tackle lots of different subjects, including science.
Arbor Day National Poster Contest
Join over 74,000 fifth grade classrooms and home schools across America in the Arbor Day National Poster Contest. The theme chosen will increase your students’ knowledge of how trees produce and conserve energy. The free Activity Guide includes activities to use with fifth grade students to teach the importance of trees in producing and conserving energy. These activities correlate with National Science and Social Study Standards. The Guide also includes all of the information you need for poster contest participation.
Handbook of Nature Study
Based on Charlotte Mason's method of education, this website offers ideas and resources for incorporation nature study into your homeschool.
Featured Resources

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