Young Naturalists in The Hamptons, NY

What did my kids need for their adventure as young naturalists? A backpack provided and filled by Hamptons’ own Nature Museum (SOFO) with a pair of binoculars, magnifiers, a compass, sample containers, scavenger hunt cards, sketch pads, bottles of water, a spade and nature guides! young naturalists backpackfield guide young naturalists backpack

And an enthusiastic expert from SOFO – Crystal – to teach them, point out to them, and guide them through their exploration of nature. And, of course, curiosity.sofo expert child nature walk

My children were going on an excursion as young naturalists. Like early pioneers who explored the country using only what they could carry in a pack.

scavenger hunt sheets

Young Naturalists moss findingInstead of trying to find the largest stick to play with, my kids began searching for plants, leaves, lichens and trees on their scavenger sheets.

Young Naturalists moss tree rootsThey noticed moss growing like slippers on the roots of trees.

earth pulled up fallen tree

trees growing fallen trunk

Or  were shown how trees could grow from fallen trunks.

I had brought my two to explore Sagg Swamp before. It’s in a nature preserve near Sagoponack in the Hamptons, NY.  As you follow the boardwalk through the swamp you would never guess that beautiful wide beaches are only a few minutes drive away.


British soldiers were here too, clinging to the boardwalk.  A lichen named after the red coats worn by the British army during the American Revolutionary War.

sagg swamp boardwalk

studying swamp mud

kid naturalist digging up sample

And to teach them about their surroundings and biodiversity, the children in the group took samples and compared the dirt from the wood’s path and the mud from the swamp.

young naturalists swamp hunt

And as my two young adventurers marched excitedly in front of me, I knew that the next time we went for a walk in nature, they would be looking around us with a new perspective. I love taking them to natural history museums, but there’s something special about them becoming real naturalists.


The South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center (SOFO), located between Britdgehampton and Sag Harbor in Long Island, NY, has outdoor and indoor events all year round for children.

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Find out the latest events on SOFO’s website calendar.  All the childrens’ events are included as part of the annual family membership ($60 annual fee) or you can pay for individual visits and trips. This was the first of their “backpack adventures” for young naturalists.

19 thoughts on “Young Naturalists in The Hamptons, NY”

  1. Oh what a great day out, they look like they’re loving it! I used to love looking at all things nature when I was younger and can’t wait until my two are old enough to appreciate it too! x

  2. Nice walk. The information card looks impressive. So many items to spot. I like the fungi. It looks like a red version of candle snuff. Wonder if we get it over in the UK.

  3. Looks like such a fantastic walk and adventure. They must have learnt so much and discovery and exploration is definitely the best way to learn. 🙂

  4. I love that we both did scavenger hunts this week, albeit very different ones! Once we’re all fully fit again I can’t wait to get back out into the woods around us and do something like this.

  5. Looking at those lovely photos, you guys could actually have been in the UK! It’s great to get them interested in nature at such a young age, isn’t it? Little T is the same and she loves wild flowers! Soon she’ll be able to tell the names of the different wild flowers 😉 #CountryKids.

    1. Actually a bit of rain – like we had on the day – can often be better on these sort of outings as chances are young naturalists will see more critters!

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