Take a Hike! Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center and Wildlife Sanctuary

Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary is an urban park in Worcester, Massachusetts, run by Mass Audubon. Many of the trails run adjacent to private backyards and join up with city streets. There’s a modest fee to use the facilities and trails, but I thought it was worth it. We’ve been doing so much hiking, I bought a Mass Audubon family membership, which gets us free admission to any of the sanctuaries.

We’ve already used it three times and we’ve had it just over a week.

The nature center has displays which caught my children’s attention, and there are bathrooms (which I always like) and bird blinds and interpretive placards.

I saw one dad pushing a toddler in a jogging stroller on the trail. He was having some trouble, but he had one of those with the smaller wheels and the swivel wheel in the front. I think that with a stroller with 16″ wheels and a fixed front wheel, it would be easier going. It might be challenging to cross some of the streams where you have to go rock to rock, but I think it would be possible with a jogger stroller (I’ll note here that I’ve never hiked with a jogging stroller. I wear my kids on my back until they’re almost four, then I let them walk). Most of the rest of the trails are wide, pretty smooth, and basically flat.

Rocky Crossing

Another Rocky Crossing

This is another hike we did more than once in one week. On August 5th, we went with our Friday homeschool hiking group. We had a wonderful turnout with, I think, five little boys, four moms, one dad, and then me and my kids.

My daughter was the only little girl on the hike. She was not thrilled with this turn of events.

My daughter likes things quiet and calm. Often when we have boys along, our hikes are not quiet and calm.

“Mommy, all of the shouting is giving me a headache,” she would say.

“Mommy, I like to have one or two boys around, but more than that is too much.”

At one point, she fell over a log and hurt her knee. Later, she dropped her special flat rock between the boards of the boardwalk. The dad with our group reached under the boardwalk and retrieved it for her. I said thank you for my daughter who was now too surly to respond.

Purple Flowers

With the large group, we managed to go one mile in about one hour. It was a lovely trail, though. We passed by the Frog Pond, which, true to its name, was home to dozens of frogs. We observed fallen trees and piles of large rocks. We crossed streams and creeks. We played at the natural “playground” (branches and bricks and hills of dirt and wooden swings).

Frog Pond

The following day we returned with my husband, the kids, and me, and it was much quieter. We didn’t see anyone else on the trails. My daughter seemed to enjoy that quite a bit more than the previous day’s hike. We spent more time in the nature center where my children enjoyed pushing buttons to hear bird calls and looking at the models of baby muskrats and butterflies.

Our family on our own ended up hiking about three miles. We went by the Frog Pond as we had the day before, then we headed into the woods and then along the brook for a ways.

Toad

On our second day there, my kids and I saw three wild turkeys, tons of frogs, three toads, one tiny snake, and a heron.

Spring Peeper

And because I let my children choose their own snacks that morning, they were happy with their food options so we were spared the complaints about those.

It was a great hike, and not far from our home. It’s one we will definitely do again.

2 comments

  1. Heidi L · August 15, 2011

    I love frogs more than anything! Looks heavenly!

    Like

    • CJ · August 17, 2011

      Frogs pretty much rock. I do wonder if that tannish creature I labeled a “toad” might actually be a spring peeper. Any idea?

      Like

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