Earthplace
Earthplace, The Nature Discovery Center is a natural history museum, nature center and wildlife sanctuary located at 10 Woodside Lane in Westport, Connecticut.

Features
Natureplace is the museum room that features interactive nature displays, hands-on activities and a small video theater. Five large wildlife dioramas depict animals and plants found in various seasons and ecosystems in Connecticut. The adjacent Smilow Family Ecology Resource Lab houses live insects, amphibians and reptiles, as well as nature exploration activities and a diorama of backyard birds. Earthplace houses a large collection of rescued wildlife that are exhibited as species ambassadors, including bald eagles, hawks, turkey vultures, a black vulture, a kestrel, several types of owls, a black rat snake, and little brown bats. Several domestic animals are used in public programs, including rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, a Burmese python and Madagascar hissing cockroaches. Earthplace maintains a 62- acre (24.8 ha) sanctuary, which is the largest open-space area in Westport. Trails cross areas of wetlands, ponds, streams, hardwood forests and meadows. Sightings of rabbits, chipmunks, deer, box turtles, wild turkeys, mink, bullfrogs, wood frogs and many birds are regularly made on the trails. The Native Plants Courtyard was designed in 1960 by landscape architect Eloise Ray to highlight plants native to southwestern Connecticut. Species include bloodroot, trillium, jack-in-the-pulpit, wild ginger, Solomon's seal, yellow lady's slipper and prickly pear cactus. The Bird and Butterfly Garden was created in 1985 and has been accredited by the National Wildlife Federation as a certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat that is designed to provide food, shelter, water and nesting sites for wildlife. Birds seen include hummingbirds, American goldfinches, cedar waxwings, Robins, and cardinals. Visiting butterflies include monarchs, Eastern tiger swallowtails, black swallowtails, skippers, and painted ladies. A large bronze statue of a mother bear and two cubs by noted animal sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington is placed near the entrance to two major trails.

Environmental activities
The Mary Eason Swett Wildlife Rehabilitation program rescues hundred of local animals each year, with the goal of releasing each animal back into the wild. Harbor Watch / River Watch is a water quality monitoring program supported by Earthplace. Staff scientists work with volunteers to take water samples from area streams and rivers, which are then analyzed in the center's state-certified laboratory. Harbor Watch also monitors the population of juvenile benthic fish in the Norwalk harbor.

Education
The Earthplace Nursery School has been operating on the grounds since 1967 and is licensed by the state of Connecticut. Founded in 1960, the Junior Staff program for middle and high school students focuses on natural science education, community service and personal growth. Earthplace operates an accredited summer camp program, and offers after-school, school and scout group programs.

History
Earthplace was founded in 1958 as one of the many science and nature museums being developed around the country by groups led by naturalist John Ripley Forbes. The Mid-Fairfield County Youth Museum opened in 1961. In 1973 the organization changed its name to the Nature Center for Environmental Activities. In 2002 the name was changed to Earthplace, The Nature Discovery Center. The museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums.