It was a beautiful day for an adventure with the kids. My friend Nancy’s kids that is. I picked up Nancy and her daughter Dawn and son Alex at 11:15 for the drive to Worcester to the Ecotarium. We’d checked out the website but still weren’t sure what we would find.

When we reached Worcester we decided to stop for lunch before we went on to the Ecotarium. We had a nice (if slow) lunch at a Friendly’s Restaurant. They were doing a good business but were clearly under staffed. I have to give our harried waitress a pat on the back. In spite of being pulled in many directions she maintained her pleasant attitude.

Finally out of the restaurant we found we were just around the corner from the Ecotarium. Worcester streets are not easy to navigate but we finally found it.

You buy your tickets at the gate as you drive in. Then follow the signs to the parking area. There was ample parking while we were there. There were several trails out of the parking lot. The one we took led to the main visitor center. As we passed along the trail we stopped to look at the Bald Eagles and 2 Barred Owls. All of the animals here are rescues. They have some injury that has healed but was severe enough that it left them crippled. The Ecotarium tries to give their animals a good quality of life.

Eagles mate in the air but these two are unable to fly so it makes mating difficult. The female eagle is currently sitting on a nest and has laid eggs. This has happened before but the eggs have always been infertile. It is too early to tell about this year’s clutch.

The owls also have a handicap so will not be released and will live out their life here in their habitat.

At the courtyard in front of the Visitor Center there was a sundial and another sculpture made of different sized pipes. You can blow in the pipes or hit the tops of the pipes with an over-sized sandal to see how different sized pipes create different tones.

As we entered the Visitor Center we were assaulted by the noise. I think it would be safe to say we had found the other families! There were tons of exhibits ranging  from a terrarium where you can put you head in from he bottom to a hurricane wind chamber. There was a machine that made mini tornado and an interactive room for budding engineers.

There was a rock wall for climbing and at the top of the wall a mountain lion was waiting.

There were programs and presentations, a chess board, a live parrot, a huge taxidermy bear.

The Africa gallery was a beautifully done series of dioramas.

The kids were running from one exhibit to another. They were being exposed to science without even realizing it. Everything was interactive so they could try it and to them it was just fun.

Eventually we got outside to another walking path. The animals along this path were skunks, porcupines and a large ‘possum. Near the playground were two gorgeous red foxes. From the Red Fox enclosure we walked down to the “pond”. We could see loads of fish swimming in the tea colored water.

By now it was almost 4:15 and the last chance to grab a ride on the little steam engine so we hustled back to the station. That was a fun ride. It even went through a tunnel.

Ride over, we made a quick stop at the gift shop as they were getting ready to shut down. We took the long path back to the car so that we could go by the otter habitat. Unfortunately the otters were in hiding but as we crossed the wooden bridge over the marsh we could see loads of frogs. A lady was there with a net trying to catch tadpoles.

Our final stop before leaving was at the stegosaurus. What would a museum be without a dinosaur?

If you are looking for a Zoo you will be disappointed. There are only a limited number of “live animal” exhibits but if you are looking for a nice day with lots of “hands on” exhibits and some lovely walking trails I would give the Ecotarium a big thumbs up!

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