Meadowlands Environment Center
(previously) Hackensack Meadowlands Environment Center
Two DeKorte Plaza
Lyndhurst, NJ 07071
(201) 460-8300

Places Nearby:
Meadowlands Museum
Montclair Museum
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The product of a partnership between the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and Ramapo College of New Jersey, Meadowlands Environment Center is a unique facility which offers comprehensive environmental education programs for schools and the general public.

A long network of boardwalks winding through the cattails and salt marsh of the Meadowlands serves as an outdoor classroom, while indoors participants can enjoy the Interactive Learning Center. The main lobby of the building features a 30' x 7' diorama depicting an Urban Salt Marsh.

A Bird Watcher's Bulletin tells about the most recent sightings of area birds. More than 200 species have been sighted in this area, a vital migratory rest stop for thousands of ducks, geese, and shorebirds.

The glass-enclosed Visitor's Center extends out into the marsh to offer a panoramic view, perfect for viewing wildlife feeding and resting in the water below, while the Boardwalk Trail offers a quiet stroll through the mist and the reeds. It's quite beautiful and offers great opportunities for photographers, bird watchers, and nature lovers.

The site also includes the William D. McDowell Observatory, which features a 20-inch research-grade telescope. The observatory is open to the public on a schedule available at the Center's website.

Education Programs

Meadowlands Environment Center offers a wide range of hands-on programs, most of which include an outdoor component to augment the indoor study. There are programs for every grade level and for adults. The following is a small sampling of programs for grades K-12 that have been available. Visit the Center's official website, linked above, or call for a current schedule.

  • Story of the Sun (K-1): An interactive experience where students track the Sun across the sky and learn the important role this apparent motion plays in the life cycles of plants and animals.
  • Paws and Claws, Beaks and Feet (1-3): A hands-on exploration of plant and animal adaptations in the salt marsh.
  • Worms and Friends (4-6): Students discover how worms convert scraps and yard trimmings into nutrient-rich soil.
  • Scientific Drawings (6-12): To strengthen their science observation skills, students are guided in capturing their observations on paper accurately.

Many other great programs are available. Some are seasonal. All must be scheduled in advance and paid for at least two weeks before the program date. Class size may not exceed 27 students. Call for further details or download a brochure from the official website.

Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM. Trails open daily from 8:00 AM - dusk.
Admission: Admission to grounds is free. School programs cost about $5.00 per student, with a 15 student minimum. Small fee for family or adult programs.
Group Reservations: Make reservations as early as possible. School groups can make reservations in early September, concurrent with schools opening.
Lunch: Eating area available.
Handicapped Access: Partial. Call with your needs.
Directions: I-95 South. From West Spur take exit 16W, from East Spur take exit 17. Follow Rt. 3 West to Rt. 17 south (Lyndhurst exit). At light (Quality Inn on left) turn left onto Polito Ave. At the end of Polito Ave (stop sign) turn left onto Valley Brook Ave. Go about 1½ miles to end, cross tracks and bear left to HMDC Environment Center. 30 minutes from the George Washington Bridge.

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