Cultivating Environmental Understanding

Trailside Museums & Zoo is the nature education center of Bear Mountain State Park in New York’s Hudson Highlands, home to injured and orphaned native wildlife. Trailside provides memorable, meaningful and fun experiences in the outdoors. Children learn about ecology and natural history while walking the Appalachian Trail through the forest and overlooking the Hudson River. See what Trailside has to offer.


School Programs and Field Trips

Explore, Discover, Learn

Trailside is booking weekday school and group visits for Spring 2024!!

Trailside Museums & Zoo welcomes your class to see local wildlife up close and to experience the beauty and wonder of the dramatic Hudson Highlands and River landscape. Students will explore, discover, and learn about native animals, plants and natural systems and history. They will learn about the challenges facing wildlife. The wildlife residents are orphans or permanently injured and unable to live independently in the wild. The field trip to Trailside will take the students along the historic Appalachian Trail.

5 Reasons to Choose Trailside for Your Field Trip

  1. Students will observe native, non-releasable wildlife in exhibits and see other wildlife, such as squirrels, birds and reptiles, as they walk the trail.
  2. They will experience interpretive outdoor activities in an outdoor setting.
  3. Trailside Museums & Zoo is an unsurpassed outdoor classroom with numerous science concepts on full display.
  4. Trailside Environmental Educators & Interpreters may serve as your students’ knowledgeable guides to the native wildlife and plants, history & geology.
  5. Trailside Museums & Zoo is open year-round, every day (may close during high winds & electrical storms for the safety of visitors).

Before or after the visit to Trailside, your class may picnic at Bear Mountain State Park, enjoy the Merry-Go-Round and other opportunities.

Schedule Your Field Trip

Trailside Discovery Summer Program

Trailside Discovery Summer Program 2024

Environmental Education Summer Day Program

Trailside Discovery is a Summer day program for children (rising 1st Graders through rising 8th Graders) to experience the outdoors and make cherished memories!

Children get up-close to local ecology and history. They get their hands dirty and have fun. Through hands-on activities and exciting games, children are immersed in nature. Middle-school youth learn about and participate in the care of exhibit wildlife and conservation management.

Registration for 2024 Open Now! 

Seasonal Public Programs & Events

Trailside’s seasonal public programs and family-friendly special events highlight the wonders of and interconnections of nature, science and history. 

Nature Education Resources

Trailside invites teachers, families and group leaders to utilize these resources for guiding exploration of Trailside Museums & Zoo and the surrounding parks and engage in outdoor education at home, schools, and parks.  

Nature Journal Observation Sheet

a plant, an animal, an insect, a mountain, a stream. Describe it in as much detail as you can and then sketch…


Nature Sense – Hearing

In nature, many animals make sounds for other animals to hear. Those sounds may tell another animal where they are or what they are doing. And, animals aren’t the only things in nature that make noise…

Outdoor Scavenger Hunt

Explore Nature and see how much you can find. This handout shows what to look for…

Leaf and Bark Rubbing Sheet

Go outside and find leaves of different sizes and shapes, and trees with bark of different textures. Make observations and record what you find by making a rubbing! Place the workskeet over a leaf on a hard surface and rub the side of a crayon until the pattern shows…


Harriman Nature Museums

Summer welcomes youth from urban New York and New Jersey to the Group Camps in Harriman State Park. The Group Camps provide children recreation, education and connection to the natural landscape. Trailside’s Harriman Nature Museums serve Group Camps with hands-on nature education to enhance awareness, appreciation and engagement. The Nature Museums employ aspiring environmental educators and scientists as nature museum educators and give them outdoor education training and experience.

Nature Educator showing a small snake to the group.

Trailside Talks

Animal Spotlight – North American Porcupine

Animal Spotlight – North American Porcupine

In this Trailside Talk, learn about the North American Porcupine. Zookeeping Interpreter Mal Muratori takes you up close and personal with the prickly but cute Rosie, the North American porcupine!