Located on 600 acres of land within the Wellesley Island State Park, the Nature Center was founded on the principles of environmental conservation and education. It is our goal to continue this tradition by offering diverse programming designed to educate our patrons about the environment around them.
Visitors to the Nature Center have the opportunity to explore numerous ecosystems as they travel the varied landscapes of Wellesley Island State Park. From the shores of Eel Bay, across grassy meadows, through wetlands and forests, and along the rocky outcrops leading to the cliffs above the Narrows, our nine miles of hiking trails offer something for everyone. Once snow falls, our hiking trails are transformed into wonderful ski and snowshoe trails. Ski and snowshoe rentals are available at the Nature Center.
Inside the Nature Center, our exhibits teach patrons about wildlife and habitats they might encounter as they hike our trails. Children will love exploring our Discovery room, which is full of books, games, and hands-on learning opportunities. The Nature Center is a year-round facility. Summer brings canoe trips, guided hikes, arts and crafts, the butterfly house and much more! In Autumn, it is hard to find a prettier place than Wellesley Island when the leaves start to turn. Winter brings cross country skiing, snowshoeing and the return of Bald Eagles. The Minna Anthony Common Nature Center has something for everyone! We hope to see you soon.
Mrs. Minna Anthony Common, wife of James A. Common, was a resident of Watertown, New York. She was the leading authority on the birds, flowers, trees, animals and grasses of Northern New York State. For 25 years prior to her death in 1950, Mrs. Common's pen and ink illustrations and written work on natural history were published in the "Farm and Garden" section of the Watertown Daily.
Minna Anthony Common was a life long summer resident of Thousand Island Park. She developed and maintained Rock Ridges Trail adjacent to her property. The one and a half mile wialk through the woods was popular with visitors and school groups who learned about the various natural history elements along the trail through markers designed by Mrs. Common. The Thousand Islands Park Commission voted unanimously to name the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center in her memory as a tribute to her pioneering work in the field of environmental education. The Nature Center was officially dedicated on August 4, 1969.