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Walk on the Wild Side at Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

The Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is a must-see for outdoor lovers.

If you love observing the many charms of Mother Nature up close and personal and find that no amount of time spent outdoors in summer is ever too much, you’ll want to schedule a visit to the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.

About 150 years ago the area was covered by asparagus and turnip farms, open fields and salt hay meadows, and dairy cows grazed nearby. Today you’ll find there a variety of unique eco-systems plus five miles of scenic trails (one universally accessible) that wind through 944 acres of pine woods,  sand plain, grassland, salt marsh, freshwater ponds, tidal flats and barrier beach. Bring your bird ID books because you’re bound to see lots of songbirds and shorebirds.

You can participate in a naturalist-led bird walk on the property, natural history cruises, canoe trips, Monomoy Island tours, day camps and a host of other hands-on activities. Wear comfortable shoes and don’t forget to bring a picnic lunch! Audio tours are available to download to your iPod or MP3 player. You even can borrow a player at the nature center.

Inside you’ll find exhibits, a habitat mural and two 700-gallon aquaria that introduce visitors to the sanctuary’s salt marsh tidal organisms as well as freshwater life.

The nature center and trails at Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary are open year-round but closed Mondays off-season. Admission is very reasonable: Mass Audubon members are admitted free and its $5 for adult non-members and $3 for non-member children ages 2 to 12 as well as seniors. Rain or shine, this is a must-see.

(Photograph: MassAudubon.org)

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