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The EcoTarium was created in 1998 as a hands-on natural science museum, formed from what began in 1825 as the Worcester Lyceum of Natural History. It is an indoor-outdoor, family-friendly museum featuring nature trails, wildlife exhibits, outdoor play areas, a planetarium, DinoTracks exhibit, a Curator's Workshop, and much more [1].


  • EcoTarium's Explorer Express Train (image from EcoTarium)
  • One of the museum's foxes (image from EcoTarium)
  • Tree Canopy Walk (image from EcoTarium)
  • Siegfried the Stegosaurus (image from EcoTarium)
  • One of the museum's otters swimming (image from EcoTarium)
  • Curator's Workshop area in the EcoTarium Collections (image from EcoTarium)

The EcoTarium was created in 1998 as a hands-on natural science museum, formed from what began in 1825 as the Worcester Lyceum of Natural History. It is an indoor-outdoor, family-friendly museum featuring nature trails, wildlife exhibits, outdoor play areas, a planetarium, DinoTracks exhibit, a Curator's Workshop, and much more [1].

In 1825, the Worcester Lyceum of Natural History was formed as a private, non-profit institution, and was visited several times in the mid-nineteenth century by Henry David Thoreau. It was incorporated as the Worcester Natural History Society in 1884, later renamed the Worcester Science Center and then the New England Science Center, and again renamed the EcoTarium in 1998. The expanded facility comprises three floors of interactive exhibits with a focus on natural and physical sciences, including the ecology of New England.

Permanent exhibits include African Communities; Bubbles!; Collections at the EcoTarium; Curator's Workshop; Freshwater; Minerals; Play on the Plaza; Preschool Discovery Area; Secrets of the Forest; and Water Planet. The Alden Digital Planetarium offers a variety of shows (see the EcoTarium website for schedule). The museum's collections include New England archaeology, historic archives, botany, entomology, ethnology, herpetology, malacology, mammalogy, minerology, oology, ornithology, paleontology, and historic technology. EcoTarium also houses a variety of animals, most of which are rescue animals who cannot be released back to the wild. These include bald eagles, chinchillas, scorpions, frogs, hawks, hedgehogs, hissing cockroaches, lizards, macaws, porcupines, owls, otters, foxes, salamanders, snakes, skunks, turkey vultures, turtles, and opossums. With 55 acres of land, the museum's woodlands, ponds, marshlands, and meadows also offer habitats to native wildlife, as well as room for three nature trails, a tree canopy walkway, the Explorer Express Train, and a large outdoor exhibit containing several themed play areas and a performance stage. Play areas include Nature Art, Building, Sand Digging, Messy Materials, Dirt Digging, Climbing and Crawling, Fox Den, Eagle Nest, Music and Movement, Water Play, Invention Space, Play on the Plaza, and a large open space for outdoor games in summer and snow fort building in winter [1].

1. EcoTarium Museum. "Accessed June 16, 2016. http://www.ecotarium.org/.