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NY DEC Watchable Wildlife

Outdoor Discovery

Beaver Lake Nature Center
Description: The rich mix of forest, wetland, meadow and open water at this nature center in central New York attracts more than 200 species of birds and nurtures more than 800 varieties of plants. The landscape is dominated by Beaver Lake, a large kettle hole where the remnant of a glacier from the last Ice Age rested, leaving the impression made by its massive weight filled with meltwater.

During spring and fall, 200-acre Beaver Lake is a resting spot for thousands of migratory waterfowl. The lake has a fen on its southern shore where visitors can find cranberries and insect-eating plants such as sundew, pitcher plant and bladderwort.

Wildlife to Watch: As the lake’s name suggests, beavers can be found here, industriously creating wetlands that serve as habitats for mink, muskrats and many other plants and animals. Bald eagles and ospreys search the waters for fish, as do doublecrested cormorants. Sharp-eyed great horned owls prowl for prey as evening’s shadows lengthen. In summer, bats swoop after flying insects. Canada geese by the thousands assemble in spring and fall on their long migratory journeys. In the warmer months, look for snapping and painted turtles in the bog, as well as water snakes, bull and green frogs, and great blue herons wading in shallow water. Belted kingfishers noisily make their presence known, too.

Special Tips: The nature center is open daily at 7:30 a.m., except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Contact the center for closing times and fees.

315-638-2519, 8477 E. Mud Lake Rd., Baldwinsville, NY 13027


Other Activities: More than 9 miles of maintained walking trails cross gentle terrain and include an observation tower, overlook deck and observation blind. Several boardwalks, one nearly a mile long, take you through wetlands for a close look at their unique flora and fauna. A canoe trail makes a short loop through a wetland area on the west side of the lake, giving you a great view of wildlife from the water.

Ownership: Onondaga County Parks 
Size: 671 acres 
Closest Town: Baldwinsville

ParkingCross Country SkiingHikingVisitor CenterFeeSmall Boats

Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

Racoons - Photo by Bill Banaszewski
Please see map link below

Driving Directions:
From the NYS Thruway westbound/I-90, take exit 39 to NY 690 north toward Fulton. After 6.2 miles, take the exit for NY-31 west/NY-370 west/W. Genesee Rd. Turn right, and follow NY-370 west for 1.8 miles. Turn right onto County Rd. 180 east/E. Mud Lake Rd. Beaver Lake Nature Center is on the left.

From the NYS Thruway eastbound/I-90, take exit 40 to Weedsport/ Auburn. Turn left onto NY-34 north. After 7.9 miles, turn right onto NY-370 east/E. Main St. After 9.5 miles, turn left onto County Rd. 180/E. Mud Lake Rd. Beaver Lake Nature Center is on the left.

Map Link

Beaver Lake Nature Center : Wildlife Viewing Area