Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History
|Description: The Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History is named for the legendary
naturalist and author of a renowned field guide series. Peterson was born
in Jamestown on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in western New York. Here,
in this small town on the Allegheny Plateau, Peterson first developed his love
of nature as a young boy. His institute is a national environmental education
organization dedicated to instilling in children an appreciation and understanding
of the natural world.|
The institute building is an architectural gem, housing a museum and galleries
showcasing the work of the iconic American bird painter, as well as other contemporary
nature artists. Visitors can also enjoy acres of woods and wetlands
surrounding the institute.
Wildlife to Watch: Don’t miss the garden designed by Peterson’s wife Virginia to attract butterflies
and ruby-throated hummingbirds. Along with colorful varieties of dragonflies,
the property’s ponds and wetlands harbor painted and snapping turtles
and northern water and common garter snakes. Amphibians commonly seen
include green, bull and leopard frogs, as well as a variety of salamanders.
Canada geese, mallards and wood ducks are the most commonly encountered
waterfowl. Wading birds include green and great blue herons. Red-winged
blackbirds and tree swallows also frequent the wetlands. Catbirds, eastern
phoebes, pileated woodpeckers, hooded warblers and purple finches appear in the woods. Great horned owls are sometimes seen and heard at dusk when
they begin their nocturnal hunts.
White-tailed deer, eastern gray, red and big eastern fox squirrels, eastern chipmunks,
woodchucks and cottontail rabbits are frequently seen.
Special Tips: The institute is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4
p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Trails are open from dawn
to dusk. There is an admission fee for the museum, but the trails
Call ahead for information on accessibility.
800-758-6841, 311 Curtis St., Jamestown, NY 14701
Other Activities: An interpretive trail provides guidance on plant and animal identification
using the Peterson Field Guides. The trails wind through a variety of habitats,
including forest, field and marsh.
Ownership: Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History
Size: 27 acres
Closest Town: Jamestown
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: