Ashland Nature Center
PO Box 700 
Hockessin, DE  19707 
(302) 239-2334 • 239-2473 Fax

Places Nearby:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
Hagley Museum
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Operated by the Delaware Nature Society, the Ashland Nature Center offers four self-guiding trails that wind through 600 acres of meadow, marsh, pond and forest.  The Center also features a Native Plant Garden, a variety of Habitat Exhibits, and a Children's Discovery Corner.  Educational murals depict changes in the landscape over the past four centuries.  And with a 5,000 volume natural history library, the Center is an invaluable resource for students. 

The Butterfly House, open from June through September, displays an array of live butterflies in different stages of development -- egg, caterpillar and adult -- along with their food and host plants.  The Nature Store offers a variety of instructional and gift items for children and adults at very reasonable prices. 

Throughout the year Ashland Nature Center hosts numerous activities, programs and field trips conducted by the Delaware Nature Society.  Many programs are conducted outdoors, especially during the warmer months, and include activities from nature hikes and bird watching to sea-kayaking in Rehoboth Bay.  Programs are offered for all age groups, from the youngest toddlers through adult.  Some children's programs that do not require parent participation are conducted concurrently with adult programs, so everyone can have something fun, exciting and educational to do. 

During the summer children can enjoy overnight and week-long programs and away trips.  Interested parents should note that many of these programs fill up far in advance.  Make your plans early!  A fee is charged for programs.  Call for a calendar and details. 

The Delaware Nature Society is a membership organization.  Members can take advantage of special members-only programs, some of which are conducted at the Society's limited access preserves:

Burrows Run 
This 110-acre preserve features one of northern Delaware's finest quality streams and is known for its abundant bird, butterfly and wildflower populations. 
Flint Woods 
Featuring the largest remaining old growth hardwood forest in Delaware, Flint Woods provides habitat for neotropical songbirds and rare wildflowers.  It even includes a colonial road.  The Society owns 35 acres here and has access to an additional 123 acres of adjacent private land, extending this outdoor classroom to 158 acres. 

In addition to having access to members-only programs, members receive a discount on general public programs. 

School Programs 
At Ashland Nature Center, school groups can choose from 34 different hands-on lessons about our native plants and animals.  Here are a few examples: 

Animals grades pre-k - 6 
Includes a discovery walk as well as live and taxidermied specimens to illustrate animal lifestyles and adaptations. 

Birds grades k - 3 
An interpretive walk focuses on identification techniques and helps students tune into songs.  Live and taxidermied birds as well as nests, feathers and other props are used to demonstrate adaptations and habitats. 

Insects grades 4 - 12 
Features sample collection, examination and release of eight different orders of insects.  Students compare and contrast various insect adaptations and habitats. 

Springs & Streams grades 6 - 12 
Students use scientific equipment to compare the physical, chemical and biological features of a spring and stream at the Society's Burrows Run Preserve. 

Reading the Forest grades 6 - 8 
Students hike the trails and colonial roads at the Flint Woods Preserve and use the technique of nature journaling to record observations, interpretations and impressions of this unique woodland. 

Nature Photography grades 4 - 12 
Each student uses a camera to compose instant photos and creates a poem to describe its image. 

Other programs cover topics from animals to plants to ecology and history, including the life of the Lenape Indian.  Overnight programs are available and a Nature Society naturalist can visit the classroom to deliver any of a number of programs as part of the Society's Winter Outreach.  Teachers should call for program pricing and details.  And call early!

Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30am - 4:30pm, Closed Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. Call to confirm and for Butterfly House hours.

Admission: Small fee for non-members. Fee charged for most programs. Call for details. 

Groups: Small fee for non-members. Fee charged for most programs. Call for details. 

Group Reservations: Required for all family and group programs. Register as early as possible. Not required for individual visits without program. 

Lunch: Bagged lunch can be eaten on premises. 

Handicapped Access: Call for information. 

Directions: Located at the junction of Brackenville and Barley Mill Roads. See map below

Ashland Nature Center Location Map

Copyright © 1996-2014 by Patrick Tadeushuk. All Rights Reserved.