The Environmental Education Center
Come visit the Plainsboro Preserve and explore the Environmental Education Center. Climb the indoor tree house, enter the "under the pond" room, or sit back and enjoy the view of the lake from the deck. And don't forget to pick up something in the nature gift shop for the nature lover in your life. Look though the Calendar of Events to find up coming events at the center or check out the educational programs listed below.
The Plainsboro Preserve
The Plainsboro Preserve is a collaboration with the Township of Plainsboro, the County of Middlesex, and New Jersey Audubon. Close to 1,000 acres of lands were preserved by the County of Middlesex and the Township of Plainsboro that supports a diversity of habitats and wildlife, with one of the largest lakes in the area. New Jersey Audubon manages the Preserve and Nature Center, providing year round environmental education opportunities for the local community. The Preserve is a lasting ecological legacy for current and future generations. The Nature Center houses a variety of exhibits, live animals, a reference library, a Nature Store, and several miles of trails.
Enjoy over five miles of trails meandering through mature beech woods, wet meadows, and the shoreline of scenic 50-acre McCormack Lake. Walk the floodplain of Devil's Brook in search of the more than 150 species of birds that call the preserve home during the year. Plants on site consist of a diverse showing of spring wildflowers and also include over ten species of rare or endangered plant species found sparingly elsewhere in the state including the majestic southern Twayblade orchid. In addition to the trails, we are running programs on some weekends.
Check out our Trail Maps Here.
Check out our Calendar of Events.
We work with Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts of all levels, to provide badge work and special projects. We love working with Scouts, and offer a variety of badges that relate to the Plainsboro Preserve and Central New Jersey wildlife and natural environments. We also work with individual Scouts on Bronze, Silver and Gold Star Awards, and community service and Eagle Scout projects. If you have a troop, or are a Scout, call for more information.
- Programs are 90 minutes unless otherwise noted.
- Cost is $100 for the first 10 Scouts, and $10.00 per additional scout or sibling up to a total of 20 participants. There is no cost for leaders or chaperones.
- $50 deposit will hold your reservation. Payment of balance is due upon arrival on the day of your program.
- Deposits are non-refundable within 14 days of your scheduled program.
Yes, we love to party, but even more so, we love to take partiers out on our trails and into the fields to learn about our wildlife while having a fantastically fun time. Meet small live animals in the classroom, go on scavenger hunts or fun bird walks, explore vernal pools for tadpoles and frogs, or learn to read the signs and track our local wildlife.
Parties are held all year long, with winter parties being extra fun! Do something different to celebrate the nature lover in your family.
- Parties are booked for a two hour period on Saturdays: either 11:00 am – 1:00pm or 2:30pm – 4:30pm
- Sunday parties 1:00pm – 3:00pm may be booked by special arrangement.
- $250 for a party of up to 20 children. There is no cost for adults, but there is a maximum of 36 people allowed in each party room. Larger parties may be booked by special arrangement.
- Parties are a NJ Audubon member privilege, and an active Family Membership is required.
- Parties are appropriate, with different themes, for children turning 4 years old to 10 years old.
- $50 deposit and your membership fee will hold your reservation. Payment of balance is due upon arrival on the day of your party.
- Deposits are non-refundable within 14 days of your scheduled party.
New Phone Number: 609-427-3052
Mailing Address: 80 Scotts Corner Road, Cranbury, NJ 08512
GPS Address: 80 Scotts Corner Road, Plainsboro, NJ 08536
Nancy Fiske, Sanctuary Director
Anna Wright-Piersanti, Teacher-Naturalist
Scott Barnes, All Things Birds
John Milne, Grounds and Maintenance
Tom Boyle, Kathy Easton, Carole Hughes, Linda Mack, Chris Magarelli, Heidi Mass, Kris Miller, Arlene Oley, Vicki Schwartz, and Lloyd Shaw.
Trails are open every day from 7:30 a.m. until the posted closing; 6:00 during the Fall, 5:00 p.m. during Winter Hours. Check the sign at the gate for daily closing times.
Center Building Hours of Operation
Tuesday – Saturday 9:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Starting November 6th Winter Hours:
Tuesday – Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
Center Building Closed Mondays
The Plainsboro Preserve is a collaborative effort with the Township of Plainsboro, the County of Middlesex, and New Jersey Audubon. The Preserve is a 1,000 acre natural area that supports a diversity of habitats, wildlife, has one of the largest lakes in the area, and several miles of walking trails. In addition, you will find a Nature Center with nature exhibits, a reference library, and a nature store. Stop by today and put a little nature in your life.
Nature Store: We have a selection of field guides, bird feeders and bird seed as well as children’s gifts, housewarming presents, and stuffed animals, all with a New Jersey nature theme. Our expert staff can answer your questions and offer advice.
Reference Library: Are you planning to travel? Want to find out about the caterpillars in your backyard? Have a school project due on bats? Come use our Reference Library, available whenever the building is open.
Hiking Trails: Open daily 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. in October, and until 5:00 p.m. in the winter. Times are posted by the Township Rangers. Over 5 miles of trails traverse an interesting variety of habitats.
The following regulations are in effect at the Preserve:
- No smoking, except in the parking area.
- No picnicking, fires, camping or woodcutting.
- No alcoholic beverages on the property.
- No vehicles, bicycles, skateboards or horses on the trails.
- No hunting or fishing.
- No collecting of plants or animals.
- No pets.
- Leave only footprints -- Take only pictures and memories.