Montshire Outside

Welcome to Montshire's 100-acre museum. Explore the varied landscape and several dozen exhibits in Science Park and along our trails and Woodland Garden.

Among our many outdoor exhibits, you’ll find a Wind Wall that changes color with the breeze, a walking tour of the solar system, a Musical Fence created by artist Paul Matisse (grandson of the painter Henri Matisse), several miles of trails, and a woodland garden.

And, in warm weather, the Montshire runs the most intelligent water exhibits in New England, where hands-on exploration of hydraulics truly becomes an immersion experience!

Science Park

Science Park is a revolutionary concept in the world of science museums: using the outdoors as a living laboratory for visitors to experiment with science and appreciate the surrounding natural beauty. Science Park, which opened in 2002, features dozens of ingenious hands-on exhibits, including the Water Rill, Mist Fountain, and other educational — and fun — water play. The water exhibits in Science Park are open early May through mid-October. 

Hughes Pavilion—Purchase lunch or a snack, or enjoy your own picnic in the Hughes Pavilion overlooking Science Park. Food service is offered late June through Labor Day. Restrooms are conveniently located near the Hughes Pavilion.

Woodland Garden

An outdoor exhibit showcasing native plants, trees, and flowers in a wooded setting.
The Montshire worked with New England Wildflower Society (NEWFS) to establish Woodland Garden in 2008 helps visitors identify and protect native New England wildflowers and shrubs.

Nature Trails

Appreciate the natural beauty of our 110-acre woodland setting on our nature trails. Our trailside exhibits explore the ecology of the Upper Connecticut Valley, from seed dispersal and migration patterns to geology, native plants, and land-use history. The Planet Walk even takes you on a scale-model journey from the Sun all the way out to dwarf planet Pluto!

“There is plenty for budding naturalists. An animal-song kiosk plays recordings of New England bird and insect noises, helping hikers recognize the real thing on nearby trails.” -The New York Times

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The Montshire’s outdoor exhibits can be reached from inside the Museum through the doors near the first floor elevator. An underpass leads from Science Park to walking trails and exhibits in the Quinn Nature Preserve.

Use of our outdoor exhibits and trails is free with Museum admission. Please stop by our admissions desk at the main entrance before exploring Montshire Outside.

Several outdoor exhibits and walking trails in the Quinn Nature Preserve are wheelchair accessible. Most indoor exhibit spaces and all restrooms are wheelchair accessible.

Except service dogs, pets are only permitted in designated parking lot areas, and only on leash or harness. Dogs are not permitted in Science Park or on the nature trails.

The Montshire’s outdoor exhibits have the same hours as the rest of the Museum. The Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, 363 days a year. (Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas.) The gates to the Museum entrance close at 5:15 p.m.