100 Mile Museum: Cape Cod Museum of Natural History
By: Joanne Briana-Gartner, March 16, 2012
JOANNE BRIANA-GARTNER - The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History is located on 80+ acres of conservation land in Brewster.
Is the library museum pass program a well-kept secret or does everyone know that their local library offers discount passes to museums both on- and off-Cape to anyone with a valid library card?
Because if you are still paying full price for your ticket to the Museum of Science I feel sorry for you.
But it's not only the big museums that offer passes to library patrons: many of our local attractions do as well. This being the winter that never was, I set out with my twins in tow one unseasonably mild day last week to explore the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster.
The CCMNH is a great place to bring curious children, your vacationing out-of-town guests who are unfamiliar with the fauna of Cape Cod, or anyone else suffering from nature deficit disorder.
The wow factor
The museum consists of two floors of exhibits. The downstairs features aquariums containing Cape Cod denizens, both familiar and not so much. Think the blue lobster at the Woods Hole Aquarium is cool? The CCMNH has a calico lobster. And it's in the process of regenerating a claw.
CCMNH aquarium guests, as it were, are sometimes rehabilitated and released. Such was the plan for some adorable tiny terrapins in one of the tanks. Isn't everything cute when it's little?
The hallway leading to the aquariums is filled with bird specimens native to Cape Cod, some nests complete with eggs in them.
If you go...869 Main Street, Brewster (508) 896-3867
Hands-on activities and interactive displays upstairs in the Marshview Room will keep kids occupied while adults can do more in-depth reading or bird watching out the museum's picture windows. The first floor also consists of a lecture hall, gift shop, and library.
Inside and out
The CCMNH sits on 80 acres of its own land and is surrounded by 320 acres of additional conservation land. Trails from the museum lead to Wing's Island, where the industries of salt hay farming and salt works once flourished, and finally to the dunes, the beach, and Cape Cod Bay beyond. The walk to the beach took nary 40 minutes— and I had dawdling children with me.
Once we got to the shore we were able to see some of our new touch tank friends up close and personal.
And talk about no crowds. While we passed a group of folks with cameras on the trail back to the museum, the only person we met on the beach itself was a Cape Cod Stranding Network volunteer looking for a dolphin carcass purportedly washed up in the area. Bummer.
A summer camp and weekly mudflat excisions for children make the museum a busy place in summer. Lectures, guided tours and training classes for adults also take place regularly.