Explore Native Wildlife
Did you know that seahorses can camouflage with their surroundings? You can examine it for yourself and learn more about it in the current gallery of the institution. Seahorses are not as strange as they may seem. Instead of visiting the tropical reefs to catch a glimpse of these unique sea creatures, just travel all the way to Bristol. A row seahorse, from Vogland Beach in Tiverton, was found in a net by Roger Williams University students and brought to the Audubon Society for the public to learn more about them.
Two species of turtles, the diamond-back turtle and the eastern painted turtle, also call the Audubon community their home and are paired together for comparison. The diamond terrapin is endangered and is currently protected by the state of Rhode Island. They live in the brackish waters of estuaries, a mixture of salt and fresh water, which makes Narragansett Bay an ideal home. The eastern painted turtle is more common and, unlike its aquarium neighbor, prefers fresh water and can be found in ponds and lakes in Rhode Island.
The natural history of Narragansett Bay
The nature center and aquarium is home to a large collection of marine fossils as well as unique shells, bones and skulls. While you can get a closer look at these artifacts with the insertion of a digital microscope, whale skulls may be too large to be examined. Check out a natural history exhibit featuring the skulls of a giant humpback and minke whale that washed up on the beaches of Rhode Island. Believe it or not, the state’s waters are home to many types of whales. In addition to humpback and minke whales, North Atlantic right whales are common in Rhode Island and, unfortunately, are one of the most endangered species of whale. The Audubon Society can help you learn more about these marine mammals and how we can protect them.
Other notable things to explore
David M.Bird, a photographer and game designer from South Kingstown, recently appeared in the February 2022 feature for… People Magazine For his unique visual art. The bird uses natural materials, such as acorns and sticks, to make objects, which it calls “bad guys.” Bird puts his creations in nature to be photographed with real animals. His works are on display in the aquarium until July 2 to showcase his unique work and immersion in nature.
Palmieri Pollinator Garden thrives in great summer weather. With native flowering plants and trees, and a small pond and herb garden, the space provides food, shelter, water, and habitat for a variety of pollinators and wildlife. The park is so attractive to local wildlife that it has created an insect hotel, called Bojingham Palace, filled with holes, hollows, and tunnels that bees, other pollinators, and insects can use for nesting and year-round shelter for protection in the colder months.
Apart from nature fairs, the Audubon Society offers summer nature programs that allow people to have a more immersive and practical experience in a nature haven. These programs explore a variety of topics, such as edible plants, identifying mushrooms, learning about birds, and much more.
The Audubon Nature Center and Aquarium are open in summer hours Monday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
1401 Hope Street, Bristol, 949-5454, asri.org