If I had to choose the best place to visit with kids in the Hamptons it would be SoFo …
SoFo – the South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center. Why?
Here are my reasons why this is such a special place for children:
Outdoors wild life
Last week we even went there twice. We spotted wild rabbits grazing and a Red-winged blackbird with its elegant epaulettes hiding in a tree.
Once a forest, then a farm field and now the Old Field. A rare habitat and preserve for wild life and plants just behind SoFo’s state-of-the-art natural history museum building.
My son went searching for snakes under wood boards spread across the Old Field. And found Northern Black Racers flee and twirl.
Just like last summer. Don’t worry these snakes in the Hamptons have no venom.
And earlier this month basking turtles sat in the sun by the pond. While in recent visits Tree Swallows relaxed on their nest box then showed off their aerial skills. Like the red-winged hawks above the tree lines. While Purple Martins hung out together on their community nest pods.
But even in the winter there are birds to be fed at SoFo.
Change of Seasons
Winter, summer, spring or fall we’ll be there. My children have learnt about the changing seasons by watching the landscape transform behind the Hamptons’ Nature Museum.
A canvas of autumn shades. A land enveloped in mist while covered in winter snow. Shrubs turning greener and greener as spring turns into summer with splashes of color from all the wild flowers.
Even a garden to attract butterflies in the summer. While grasshoppers rest on Milkweed seed pods in the fall.
All outdoors fun for kids located halfway between Sag Harbor and Bridgehampton. There are also nature trails that you can follow which join the hiking trails around the Long Pond Greenbelt. Nine miles and 1,100 acres that link Sag Harbor to the Atlantic Ocean.
Kids nature adventures in the Hamptons
But you don’t have to stay just here. With SoFo’s nature educators you can…
Become a young naturalist by a swamp.
Turn into a nature detective in a Pitch Pine and oak forest.
Catch and release Tiger and Spotted Salamanders at night in a vernal pond.
Find out about nature’s caretakers.
Or – for me – just enjoy a soothing walk in a nature reserve.
The list goes on and on if you check out SoFo’s calender of events for kids of every ages indoors and out-of-doors and all year round. So now you know there’s always something to do with kids in the Hamptons.
Indoors SoFo hands-on
Whether rain, sun or snow you can also stay indoors in the nature museum and center. Upstairs – the main floor – they have interactive habitat exhibits, hidden doors and drawers, sounds, smells, to take your child on an indoor nature “discovery walk.” A chance to learn how to be a young naturalist before hitting the field.
But my children never tire of visiting the lower ground floor. There’s always a nature educator at hand who guides them through a hands-on experience.
A chance to discover up close the natural world that exists along side us in the Hamptons. They can watch live salamanders and other native reptiles and amphibians peeking out of their burrows and logs. Hold starfish in their palms, feel tiny fish nibble at their fingertips or get a close-up view of crab roe.
And there’s a panoramic deck where kids and adults can gaze out through binoculars or telescopes.
Favourite place in the Hamptons for kids
So, yes, this is our favorite place to visit in the Hamptons. Whether you’re on a beach vacation in Montauk or Southampton, spending Thanksgiving in East Hampton or on a Easter Hunt in Amagansett, it’s worth a short drive to SoFo with your kids. It’s outdoors fun with kids that’s educational. It’s indoors hands-on experience of the natural world to amaze your children. And it teaches them that wild life, the seasons, under the water creatures and botany are the most beautiful sights for children to see amidst the playground of celebrities and Ferraris. I remember having fun as a teenager playing tennis at The Meadow Club and hanging out at the Southampton Beach Corp club but I was clueless that I was near “one of the most biologically diverse and ecologically significant areas in New York State” according to the museum. Now my children are learning. A perfect place for kids to visit in the Hamptons all year round and every season.
SoFo family membership
In case you’re wondering, I am not sponsored, paid or affiliated to SoFo. We have a family membership which gives us access to indoors and outdoors at SoFo as well as all their events and activities. If anything, this is my way of saying thank you to their directors and educators for helping me teach my kids about the wonders of nature and the incredible native habitat and wild life in the Hamptons. Find out more on SoFo’s website.
17 thoughts on “SoFo So much nature fun for kids”
Love the look of this place. Looks so hands on and obviously your kids are little naturalists in the making – Can’t imagine a lot of kids purposefully lifting rocks to look for snakes-non venemous or otherwise! What a lot of ways they have too for getting children involved. Love the winter pic btw-beautiful. #countrykids
My son absolutely loves snakes – when there was about 4 underneath one board he just kept holding it up and watching them quietly!
such beautiful photos of a really beautiful looking place to visit. i have to say that your son is very brave – there is no way i would want to lift up wood to find snakes – eeeeek! he is very brave! SOFO offers so many things to see and do – well worth the $60 annual fee i would think x
Not brave – just obsessed with snakes! Thank you for your lovely comments.
Love places like this one. It gives children permission to learn. The snake area alone gets the thumbs up from me. We have one in the garden and the children love creeping up and lifting it. They count themselves lucky if they find grass snakes or slow worms. #CountryKids
My children would love having a board in the garden – how cool! And yes the great thing about SoFo is that they’re learning while exploring.
That looks like such an amazing place to visit. Beautiful and so full of learning for everyone. My kids would love that lower ground floor, too.
Thanks Jocelyn – my kids just love doing the hands-on-experience in the water tank with the nature educator teaching them and showing them how to handle the underwater creatures.
An amazing place that you could never tire of and wonderful throughout the seasons. Not sure I would hunt for snakes though but I would definitely be entranced by the other stunning wildlife there. Thanks for linking up and sharing with Country Kids.
Thanks Fiona! It’s like having an amazing wild garden to explore whenever we want.
This is just such a lovely post, your love for the place shines through, and rightly so. I’m determined that next year, off season (!), we’re taking the kids to the Hamptons and I’m taking your blog as my guide x
Thank you Sara – we do love SoFo – my kids have learnt so much because of them. That’s absolutely lovely too that you now want to visit the Hamptons to explore nature with the kids.
That looks amazing there, so beautiful, lots of nature to see, explore and learn from. i would love to visit.
I can see why you’re fans of this place-how fabulous! And those snakes-my two would love that 🙂
Everything is in this place. Flora and fauna and the landscape is just perfect. Which justifies why this is your fave place. Thanks for sharing photos of the amazing place =) #countrykids
WHAT an amazing place. I love all of your photos particularly the ones that showcase all of the seasons. Wow it must have taken a long time to put this SUPERB post together – thank you so much for sharing.
Wow, this looks like a brilliant place to visit. So much to do and see, without it being forced. Great photos – love the comparison between seasons. I keep meaning to do a seasonal different picture of the farm, but always forget.
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