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    Parks, Recreation and Trees
     West Rock Nature Center

    Entrance to West Rock Nature Center
    Entrance to West Rock Nature Center


    Wintergreen BrookBirth of the Center

    In 1946 Tony Cosenza was asked by the New Haven Board of Park Commissioners to run Scout camping on the current Nature Center site. He accepts, but asks that the land also be designated for a nature oriented sanctuary. The Park Commission agrees, and The West Rock Nature Center is born. The Center is believed to be the first urban nature center in the country.

    From 1946 until his retirement in 1977, Tony Cosenza and his wife Virginia worked tirelessly to marshal the resources of local teenagers, college students and community lenders to energize The Center as a focus for outdoor learning. Tony Cosenza passed away in July, 1998.

    On June 4, 2003 the West Rock Nature Center was listed on the State Register of Historic Places by The Connecticut Historical Commission.

     

     

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    Center Amenities

    The Center consists of 43 acres of upland woods and fields at the northern base of West Rock Ridge. The property contains in excess of 300 different plant species, many of which can be observed along interpretive trails that have been strategically located.

    • Wintergreen Brook meanders along the property. The waterfall and gorge are of particular interest. The stream and pooling areas assist students and their teachers involved with aquatic investigations.
    • Enjoy the woodsy setting at The Centers picnic grove, which will accommodate birthday parties and other special occasions for groups of up to 25.
    • There are ten acres of open fields adjacent to the more heavily wooded portions of the land. This interfacing of trees, berry laden brushy plants and open fields provide ideal habitat support for birding.

    Picnic Grove and Huff Puff Hill
    Picnic Grove and Huff Puff Hill

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    General Information
    Park hours Sunrise to sunset
    Parking There are ample free parking areas in the lower lot,
    upper lot open by appointment.
    Telephone number 203-946-6559
    Outdoor Adventure Coordinator Martin Torresquintero 203-946-6768

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    Directions
    FROM NEW HAVEN;
    1. Follow Whalley Ave. to Fitch St. (Exxon gas station on right).
    2. Turn right onto Fitch St. and follow to third stop light. (just under Southern CT State University walkway).
    3. Turn left onto Wintergreen Ave. Follow road to fork.
    4. Bear right at fork and proceed to stop sign.
    5. Turn left at sign, still Wintergreen Ave., and follow up hill. Nature Center is on right just before overpass.
    6. Drive up driveway and park in lot on the right.

    FROM 91 or 95;
    1. Get off New Haven exit 1 onto Frontage Rd. Follow to the end.
    2. Turn right at stop light onto Ella Grasso Boulevard.
    3. Follow to corner of Boulevard and Whalley Ave. (Duncan Donuts on right).
    4. Turn left onto Whalley Ave. and follow above directions.

    FROM RTE 15 (MERRITT/WILBUR CROSS PARKWAY) SOUTH;
    1. Take exit 59. Turn right off exit onto route 69. Follow to stop light.
    2. Continue straight onto Amity Rd. Follow Amity Road for about 1.4 miles.
    3. Amity Rd. is now Whalley Ave. Stay on Whalley Ave. to fourth stop light (Exxon Gas Station on left).
    4. Turn left at light onto Fitch St. and follow above directions from New Haven.

    FROM RTE 15 (MERRITT/WILBUR CROSS PARKWAY) NORTH;
    1. Get off Hamden exit 60. Turn right from ramp onto Dixwell Avenue.
    2. Follow Dixwell approx. 3 miles to Wooden Street (Hess Gas station on right).
    3. Turn right onto Wooden St. Road partly splits, so stay to your right. Follow Road to the end (stop sigh). Turn left onto Wintergreen Ave.
    4. Go to Parkway overpass. Immediately after overpass, turn left onto Nature Center parking or drive into driveway to upper lot.

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    West Rock Nature Center
    Visitor Center

    Nature House
    Nature House

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    West Rock Nature Center Map

    West Rock Nature Center
    Click on Map for Printable PDF version of map

    Note: To view PDF files you must have installed a free copy of Adobe Acrobat® Reader

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