Ecotarium, Worcester, MA (Update)

Our recent visit (June 2009) was a lot of fun. I found that exhibits had been changed/renewed since our last visit, sometime in the midwinter of 2008-2009.
We got to see the polar bear. The tree canopy was still not open. The person I spoke with said that there are pretty strict weight and height limits so my kids might not be eligible to do that yet anyways. We'll be back there soon - after several visits I am even more convinced of it's lasting interest. The boys played on the pirate ship in the toddler area for a good 45 minutes, a feature that had barely caught their eyes previously. There are plenty of corners to discover here.

Original Post:
We are very happy to have discovered the Ecotarium. Our admission is free with our membership pass to the Springfield Museums. After gaining admission at the front gate, the parking is free.
The museum itself is an interesting building with an eclectic array of exhibits. You'll enter at the top level, right by the gift shop. The shop is nice and they do have some smaller items. When we get our kids a treat we tend to want to spend $1 or so.
Walk down a curved staircase to the second level. More animal stuff, some dino stuff, a presentation area - on our first visit we saw an excellent owl presentation.
On the ground floor, there are live animals in the aquarium/terrarium area, lots of fun weather related exhibits. My husband's favorite feature is a tidal pool camera; by turning a dial you can watch hours of sea activity in mere moments. It is really cool to see the starfish and sea urchins moving in time lapse.
From the ground floor you exit to the grounds. This is the reason that the compound is such a wonderful destination. There are more animals in small, self contained buildings and environments throughout the grounds. We haven't seen the polar bear (!) but it has been fun to explore the trails.
The playground is fine - the rope ladder is an interesting feature & the sandbox is large.
There is a train - tickets are several dollars. We haven't gone yet.
The snack bar that is open only a few hours a day, so bring your food.


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