Getting Back to Nature at the DPNC

Through A Child’s Eyes

I remember, as a child, waking up early eager to go to Nature Camp. Every day was a new adventure at the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center. Camp days were spent exploring both the local trails and those in neighboring towns. If we were well-behaved we would get to meet the animals rescued by the Nature Center. My favorites were Sally the Black Rat Snake and the tiny Eastern Screech Owls. Those Summer days at the Nature Center are some of my fondest memories as a child.  As a result, this exposure to nature fostered a true love of animals and the outdoors.

Getting Back to Nature

Owl at the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center    First opening in 1946, the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center is located on the outskirts of Mystic. It boasts 10 miles of mostly flat hiking trails, taking you from meadows to deep woods and following along ponds and streams. If you are more “indoorsy” the Nature Center has a wonderful Natural History Museum. This collection features a collection of pinned insects and over 200 species of bird specimens along with live exhibits showcasing local fish and reptile species. Not too far from the main building sits the outdoor flight enclosures which are home to native birds of prey.

Rehab and Rescue Center

The Nature Center rescues and rehabilitates birds of prey native to New England. Barred, Great Horned and Eastern Screech owls, a Peregrine Falcon, Red Tailed Hawks, a Broad Wing Hawk, and an American Kestrel call the Nature Center their home after being deemed non-releasable. If you are in the Mystic area and find any injured birds, reptiles, amphibians,
or mammals contact the Nature Center at (860)536-1216. As a result of their top-notch rehabilitation team, countless lives of fauna who call this area home have been saved.   

Giving Back in the Giving GardenTrails at the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center

Most notably, in 2013, the center brought back to life the historic Coogan Farm located on Greenmanville Avenue close to the center of Mystic. The 45-acre Coogan Farm Nature and Heritage Center educates the public on conservation and the history of the area through sustainable tourism. In the continued efforts to give back, the Giving Garden was established in 2014. This 30,000-square foot plot of land dedicated to helping the less fortunate in South Eastern Connecticut. The Farm encourages residents to stop by and volunteer any amount of time to help work on the garden. In 2016 Coogan Farm harvested more than 6 tons of produce consequently helping nearly 30,000 residents in New London County who needed help.  This heroic act was all thanks to the hard work and dedicated staff and volunteers.

The Details

The Nature Center is located at 109 Pequotsepos Rd in Mystic. Open year-round; hours are 9am-5pm Monday-Saturday and 10am-4pm Sundays. Children 12 and under and Seniors 65 and older are $5, and those ages 13 to 64 are $8.   

Coogan Farm is located at 162 Greenmanville Avenue in Mystic. For volunteer opportunities, sign up online through the DPNC’s website or contact Chelle Farrand at or call 860 536-1216 x22153.

Be sure to add tickets to the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center when booking your next Whaler’s Escape!

A special thanks to Jackie Johnson.  Jackie is a Mystic native and front desk associate here at The Whaler’s Inn.  Be sure to ask Jackie for more area recommendations during your next visit.