Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center
247 Southern Boulevard
Chatham Township, NJ 07928
(973) 635-6629

Places Nearby:
Raptor Trust
Somerset County Environmental Education Center
Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
Leonard J. Buck Garden
More in:

Other States:

Adjacent to the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge (see separate listing), the 40 acre Outdoor Education Center has been serving the public since 1963, offering a growing number of activities and programs for individuals, families, and school groups.

With two classrooms for formal learning, a large auditorium, a natural history library, natural history displays, and two miles of natural trails, the Center is well equipped to deliver a number of interesting, fun, and informative programs. A portion of a trail is covered by boardwalk for access to the handicapped.

A sampling of recent Family Programs includes:

  • Beat the Bugs! (all ages): An educational nature stroll with a focus on insects.
  • The Birds Are Singing (ages 10 and up): Birdwatching in the perfect habitat.
  • Wild Edibles! (ages 12 and up): Examines some common wild edible plants and some tasty recipes for them.

Many of these programs are seasonal, with the right subjects presented at the right time. Many others are available.

Other activities include special events for children and, in the spring, a great celebration of Earth Day.

School Programs include, among others:

  • Lenape Life (grades 3 - 8): Explores the culture of the Lenape Indians of New Jersey through their food, medicine, shelter, tools, and beliefs.
  • Nature Nuts (grades pre-K - 2): A great introduction to the natural environment with hands-on activities.
  • Fantastic Forest (grades 1 - 4): The forest habitat and its inhabitants are examined in this program, with a focus on trees.
  • Maple Sugaring (grades 3 - 12): Students discover history of maple sugaring, observe the evaporation process -- and taste the results!
  • Great Swamp Ecosystems (grades 9 - College): This in-depth study of the fauna and flora of the Great Swamp can be adapted to fit class needs.

Many other programs are available. Many are seasonal and most take 1½ - 2 hours.

The area of the Great Swamp is beautiful, there is much to do and learn here, both at the Outdoor Education Center and at the other great facilities nearby. It's an hour from the George Washington Bridge, and worth every second of the trip.

Hours: Daily, 9am - 4:30pm. Individual and family programs at scheduled times. Call for details. School Programs conducted at 10am and 1pm (take two!).

Admission: FREE to grounds. Some family programs are FREE, some cost nominal fee ($3 - $5, or so) and require pre-registration.

Groups: School Programs cost about $125.00 per class (up to 30 students). Call to confirm pricing.

Group Reservations: At least 2 weeks in advance.

Lunch: Bagged lunch can be eaten in designated areas (indoors).

Handicapped Access: Center is accessible. Trail partially accessible.

Directions: I-80 West to I-287 South. Take the Madison Ave. exit and stay left. At light turn left onto Rt. 24 east. Follow 24 until you enter Town of Madison. Go under small railroad bridge. At second light turn right onto Green Village Rd. Pass 3 lights and continue straight for 1 mile. Look for Great Swamp sign on right and turn right into driveway.

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