Exploring the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History
By Mary Moran | Photos by Pat O’Connell
Continuing on to the lower cape area of the Cape Cod Museum Trail will lead you to the exquisite Cape Cod Museum of Natural History. Originally created in 1954, the museum members met at Brewster Town Hall. From there, the museum’s directors established themselves in a small building on an 80-acre area of salt marsh on Cape Cod Bay in 1960. Today, the museum has expanded into a 17,000 square foot building that sits adjacent to over 400 acres of magnificent conservation land, This preserve includes, salt marshes and pristine beaches. All of this beautiful property is owned by the museum itself.
The 400-plus acres that are owned by the museum is located in Stony Brook Valley and the town of Brewster. The conservation land includes: Wing’s Neck Island, a salt marsh and the beach along Cape Cod Bay between Quiett and Pain’s Creeks.
The mission of the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History is to inspire appreciation, understanding and stewardship of our natural environment through discovery and learning.
Here, at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, visitors of all ages can engage in a variety of workshops, classes, lectures, exhibits, walks, films, field trips, panel discussions, interactive exhibits and tours. The goal is to teach visitors to explore the diversity of the natural world here on the Cape. At the nature center, one can explore his/her potential as a citizen scientists or amateur naturalists.
Exhibits currently at the museum include Archaeology, Honey Bees, Biomimicry, People of the Land, Preserved Bird Collection, the Marsh View Room, Natures-cape Gallery, Butterfly House, and more. The grounds also have a wildflower garden and three separate nature trails to explore and learn about the abundance of plant, animal, and marine life existing in the region. Interactive exhibits and educational films are two more exciting options to explore while visiting.
The museum has collections based exhibits, that include live marine science exhibits that include whales and birds. There are also many off-site nature tours. The grounds of the museum include in addition to the three nature trails a wildflower garden.
The most popular field walk is the “John Wing Trail”. It is 1.3 miles in length and passes through a coastal pitch pine woodlands, across the salt marsh to Wing’s Island and goes down across a salt marsh swale to a barrier beach with tidal pools on Cape Cod Bay.
The butterfly house opens on June, 1 and closes on September 3. There is an additional charge to go into the house and to participate in the feeding.
For reservations call: 508-896-3867 X 133
The museum also focuses on the interactions and impacts that humans have upon nature and vice versa. The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History is a “must-visit” while sightseeing through the breathtaking areas of the lower cape.
This museum is located on the Kings Highway, Route 6A, about a ninety minute drive from the Palmer House Inn. It is a wonderful place to spend a afternoon while visiting the Cape.
For business hours and admission information:
Visit their website at www.ccmnh.org or give them a call at 508-896- 3867.
While all of our guestrooms have their own charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day exploring this Cape Cod museum, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs and a relaxing stay before and after your day.
Mary Moran is a Falmouth native and knowledgeable about Cape Cod. In addition to writing for the Palmer House Inn, she’s also frequently at the inn and available to answer quest’s questions. She enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time exploring Falmouth’s coastal waterways.