Alongside the well-known attractions of skiing, covered bridges, and maple syrup sugarhouses, you'll find a great attraction that is often overlooked - the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum. However, for the right sort of guest, this museum is a fantastic mix of history, biology, and natural wonder. To help you get the most out of your visit, we've made a short guide to visiting and enjoying the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum.
The Natural History Museum was originally the collection of Luman Ranger Nelson, a noted taxidermist and naturalist who lived in the southern Vermont area at the beginning of the 20th century. Much of the Museum's collection dates back to his original specimens - many of the pieces in the museum are from the 1920s and 1930s.
Today, the collection comprises more than 200 specimens of native Vermont birds and mammals, making this Vermont museum one of the finest collections of New England fauna anywhere in the world. The museum even features a number of rare and extinct species that would be very difficult to find anywhere else. You can also find an excellent mineralogy and geology exhibit that explains many of the geological features of the New England region.
In addition to the museum exhibits, you'll also find a number of live animal specimens as a part of the Museum's Education Animals collection. This includes several reptiles and amphibians as well as a number of birds of prey, such as a Red-Shouldered Hawk, a variety of owls, and "Molly Stark" the Bald Eagle. You and your family will definitely enjoy watching and learning about these animals.
You can also expand your visit to the Southern Vermont Museum by taking part in one of the numerous educational programs they have throughout the year. This includes several presentations on the wildlife of New England, a guided exploration tour of the adjacent nature preserve, and even an annual Vermont Wildlife Festival featuring educational exhibits and activities for all ages.
Once you're done at the museum, you can also enjoy the Hogback Mountain Conservation Area, a 600-acre preserve that holds miles of Vermont hiking and nature trails. Though it may seem like a simple nature museum, the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum is actually a full day of education and entertainment for you and your family.
After exercising your bodies and your brains, you'll probably want a comfortable place to veg out for a while. If that's the case, take a look at our selection of long-term Vermont winter rental homes. These comfortable, well-appointed houses will let you get the rest you need for another full day of Vermont adventure.