The Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) in Quechee, Vermont is a 47 acre complex that includes indoor and outdoor exhibits, the Forest Canopy Walk, three hiking trails, a Meadow Walk, a Center for Wild Bird Rehabilitation, adventure playscape, and plenty of classrooms and exhibition spaces. Opened in 1972, the programs featured at VINS focus on conservation, preservation, and rehabilitation of wildlife. The center is the perfect, family friendly way to explore nature and learn about the local wildlife.
10 Ways to Have Fun at VINS:
- Meet up to 30 raptors, many of whom are injured, including hawks, owls, falcons, and eagles in the Raptor Enclosures. Each raptor has their own space with various structures for exercise and engagement. There are signs explaining the biography of each raptor and their personal history. Be sure to grab a scavenger hunt to complete .
- Test your grip strength against various birds (owls, eagles, and hawks) and compare your wingspan against a raptor.
- Hike one- or all- three hiking trails, totally over 1.5 miles. The trails guide visitors to great views of Ottauquechee River and Dewey’s Pond. Some of the trails also connect to trails that are part of Quechee State Forest that lead to Quechee Gorge. See the trail map here.
- Follow the Meadow Walk and learn about flowers and plants that grow on the property.
- Get up close to wood turtles and corn snakes in the Reptile Room.
6. Act like a spider and spin your own web in the giant rope web suspended in the Forest Canopy Walk. There is even an additional platform six feet above to look down into the web.
7. Climb 99 steps to the very top of the observation tower in the Forest Canopy Walk and check out beautiful views of Dewey’s Pond. At the highest point, guests are 65 feet above the ground, truly making it a birds eye view of the landscape. The entire boardwalk is handicap and stroller accessible, remaining fairly level even as the land slopes.
8. Check out the indoor Forest Exhibit, which includes interactive quizzes, a leaf rubbing station, costume corner, and a second floor slide that takes kids (and kids at heart) outside to the lower ground.
9. Play aboard the outdoor Adventure Playscape and create your own adventure.
10. Check out the daily calendar for activities like Raptors Up Close.
Looking for more fun in Woodstock? Check out our full Woodstock City Guide, our dining guide to Woodstock, and our post featuring the Montshire Museum of Science. And follow along on our adventures on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest
Disclaimer: My family was given a media pass to explore VINS- All opinions expressed are my own.