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    Parks, Recreation and Trees
     Barnard Nature Center at West River Memorial Park

    Nature Center
    Barnard Nature Center is the newest building in the New Haven Parks System. The Nature Center features a state-of-the-art classroom, green roof and park ranger office. The building also houses numerous amphibians and reptiles for educational programs. The Center has a partnership with the Barnard Environmental Magnet School across the street. The nature center allows access from the school to the park using a walking bridge that goes over one of the busiest roads in New Haven. This allows students access to play fields and ability to study the unique ecosystem that is the West River Watershed.
    Wreath Workshop inside Barnard Center
    Kids at the Turtle Tank - Barnard Nature Center
    Park History
    • Originally inspired by the Mall in Washington, what is now West River Memorial Park was acquired by the city after World War I to create a park in honor of New Havenís war dead. An ambitious plan for a towering monument reflected in the waters of a lagoon was conceived but never realized.
    • A lagoon was dug, providing the fill necessary to construct Marginal Drive, which parallels the river above its west bank and runs from Orange Ave to Derby Ave.
    • Frederick Law Olmstead Jr.

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    Park Amenities
    • Basketball Court, Soccer Fields, Rugby Field
    • Canoe/Kayak Launch Sites
    • Fishing, crabbing
    • Hiking Trails

    West River Court and Fields at Barnard Center

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    Osprey Platforms

    There are three osprey platforms in West River Memorial Park. All three nests are currently active nesting sites. One of them (pictured on right) can be observed from the Nature Center.

    Osprey Platform

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    • A memorial statue stands at the northern entrance to the park, dedicated in 1937 to Corporal Timothy Ahearn, a native hero of World War I. This was sculpted by Karl Lang under the Works Progress Administration Famous Artists program of the Depression era.
    • Originally the sculpture was erected on Route 34, near the Yale Bowl, which was appropriate, since it was in that area, known as Camp Yale, that Timothy Ahearn and 3,500 members of the Army National Guard, 102nd Infantry Division, left New Haven for active duty in Germany. The sculpture was later moved to West Memorial Park.

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    Map of West River Memorial Park

    PDF iconTo download the map of West River Memorial Park - Click Here

    Driving Directions

    From I-95 (NYC & points South of New Haven):

    • Take exit 44 toward CT-10
    • Merge onto CT-122/Kimberly Ave
    • Turn left at CT-10/Ella T Grasso Blvd
    • Turn left at Derby Ave/CT 34
    • Nature Center is on Left

    From I-95 (Rhode Island & points North of New Haven):

    • Take exit 47 to merge onto CT-34 W toward Downtown New Haven
    • Exit onto CT-34 W/ North Frontage Rd
    • Turn right at CT-10/CT-34/Ella T Grasso Blvd
    • Turn Left at Derby Ave/CT-34
    • Nature Center is on Left

    From the Merritt Parkway/Rt. 15:

    • Take exit 57 to merge onto CT-34 E/ Derby Ave toward New Haven
    • Continue to follow Derby Ave (4.6 mi)
    • Nature Center is on right, before the CT-10/Ella T Grasso Blvd intersection



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    Click To Visit Department
    Canoeing at East Rock Park
    Polar Plunge at Lighthouse Point Park
    Winterfest at West Rock Nature Center
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