Your access to nature experiences.

Located at 175 Shrub Road, Bristol, Connecticut, the Harry C. Barnes Memorial Nature Center serves as Bristol’s public nature center. The original 40-acre parcel, purchased in 1969, and where the Harry C. Barnes Memorial Nature Center now sits, was the first landholding of ELCCT. The Nature Center was built in 1972 and additional property was acquired in 1974, increasing the preserve to 68 acres.

In 2022, ELCCT successfully preserved the NTH property, also known as Pigeon Hill. The Pigeon Hill Preserve is directly adjacent to the existing Barnes Nature Center property. Preserving this land not only saves it from mining and development, but doubles the nature center property. Upgrading the preserve to a combined total of 132 acres.

The original goal of the nature center, and one that continues today, was to be a community center where people of all ages learned about the importance of the natural world. It’s a community space that is open to the public on a regular basis with exhibits and activities facilitated by a knowledgeable cadre of staff and volunteers; and a place that inspired conservation and the love of nature.

While visiting the Barnes Nature Center you can be sure to visit with and learn the natural history of many reptile, amphibian, and bird of prey species on exhibit. We’d love to host your next birthday party or special event, too! The BNC also offers private and public education programs.

Open Building Hours

Saturdays 10:00am to 4:00pm

Sundays 12:00pm to 4:00pm

The BNC trails are open seven days a week, sunrise to sunset, free of charge.


Children (12 & Under): $3/child

Adults: $5/adult

Seniors (65+): $3/adult


miles of hiking trails
Enjoy quality time outside with friends or family.

Hiking the trails at BNC are free of charge. Trails are open dawn to dusk, 7 days a week! The trails vary in lengths and terrain and wind through a number of different habitats for your enjoyment.

indoor nature exhibits and live animals
Inspiring learners of all ages to appreciate nature.

Learners of all ages will appreciate the indoor nature exhibits depicting Connecticut’s native flora and fauna.

The reptile and amphibian room features Connecticut natives as well as domesticated, exotic species. These full-time residents are cared for by BNC staff and volunteers.

nature themed gift shop
There’s something for everyone.

Find a wide selection of natural products and nature-themed gifts in our shop. Products range from books and puzzles, bird houses and feeders, to stickers and games. Kids toys too!

Let’s get hiking!

When you come to explore nature at Barnes, please be respectful of the native habitats. All dogs must be on a leash. Please pick up after your dog. Thank you for your cooperation.

The Harry C. Barnes Memorial Nature Center trails are open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from sunrise to sunset.
Phone: (860) 583 – 1234
175 Shrub Road
Bristol, CT 06010
Open Facility Hours
10 am – 4 pm
12 pm – 4 pm