Places To Go, Things To Do Around Norfolk

Another summer's here - what are you going to do with those kids and out-of-town visitors? Here are some nearby places that are fun to visit for a day or an afternoon.

The page is still under construction, so please contribute!

Please help! Those of you who grew up around here - what's your favorite beach? campground? park? museum? daytrip? swimming hole? place to go on a rainy day? Please e-mail your suggestions to (or just click on the envelope).

Our thanks to:
Dobritte, for many of the early suggestions
Bob H, for improving the page

Before going somewhere with an admission fee, check whether the Norfolk Public Library has passes; this often means discounted tickets or even free entry. And a final reminder, it is always a good idea before visiting to double-check hours and prices, since they may change without our page (or sometimes even their) being updated to reflect it. Enjoy your day out!

For Kids

In Town

Jane and Paul's Farm, Fruit Street, Norfolk
[A]lways a good time. U-pick strawberries, later on U-pick blueberries and the fall hayrides to the pumpkin patch. Small children like feeding & petting the chickens, sheep and rabbits and hanging out is not discouraged. For the politically correct, the best way to maintain the rural character of Norfolk is to support our local farmers. - ADL
Kids Place
Toddler and preschooler playground on Boardman Street, between Main Street and Route 115 in Norfolk.
The Library
Various events and Summer program at
Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary Stony Brook's Visitor Center, library, and knowledgeable staff have everything a young naturalist is looking for. Our Pond Loop Trail is a one mile, flat, stroller-accessible trail, featuring a boardwalk over the pond and marsh area, as well as several observation platforms, and some of the most pristine ponds, fields, and wildlife habitats in our area. - PJ

Within Half an Hour

Big Apple Farm, 207 Arnold St, Wrentham, MA 02093,
Especially fun September to October. Apple picking, pumpkins, fresh produce, horse & carriage rides. - MS
Capron Park Zoo - Route 123, Attleboro, Mass.
When they say it's a little zoo, they mean it! And it has a high percentage of nocturnal animals, too, so be prepared for empty enclosures or sleeping critters. But the playground was fun for our toddler; it and the llamas (the only animals that actually seemed alert and interested) were the high point of her trip.
Caryl Park in Dover
it has a great playground for the kids in the woods and wonderful hiking and biking paths. Details: 83 acres, baseball/softball, basketball, football/soccer, general play, hiking, horseback riding, nature observing, organized events, other-team, picnicking, tennis, walking/jogging
Easton Children's Museum
Lots of neat activities for kids in a 2-story converted firehouse; picnic area nearby, or you can get a meal at Charlie's, a short walk away on Main Street.
Marino's Lookout Farm, 89 Pleasant Street, South Natick
Lots of animals, including ostriches and a llama; U-pick berries and fruit between June and October; farm market. Details and directions at
Millis Playground - off Route 115 heading toward Sherborn, past Rossi's
For a change of pace; larger playground with more equipment for older tots.
Natick Community Organic Farm - off Eliot Stree (Route 16) by Eliot School, Natick
working farm, open year-round, with many kinds of farm animals. They sell the food they produce, including vegetables, fruits and meat; they tap their maple trees in spring, and make fresh maple syrup.
Needham Children's Museum - passes available at the Norfolk library
- Currently closed -
We visited on a rainy day, so it was fairly busy, and parking was limited. But the exhibits were somewhat tired - parts missing, non-stick velcro, evidence of too much wear and tear. The kids enjoyed it anyway, but the adults felt the Easton museum had more to offer. The Needham museum is hoping to move within the next year or so, and some of these issues may be resolved by then.
Sweatt Beach, Lake Pearl, Wrentham (signs off Route 140)
is very enjoyable. It's on the other side of Lake Pearl. It is only for Norfolk, Wrentham & Plainville residents. Parking is no problem and it seems like it never gets really crowded. There are lifeguards on duty. You can buy day passes or a season pass. - PR

Farther away, but well worth the trip

The Children's Museum in Boston - passes available at the Norfolk library
Davis Farmland & Mega Maze
A great place to bring the kids. It has a petting zoo with ~300 animals, a water park, lots of playgrounds, a "Mega Maze" made of corn fields, and hayrides, pony rides, etc. A lot of our friends around here like to go there in the Fall for the Mega Maze, and people are always asking me how to get there. It's about 45 min. away, right up 495. - LC
Drumlin Farm Audubon Sanctuary
lots of hands-on visiting with animals
The Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut
has recently been completely renovated. There's an outdoor tank for the dolphins and the beluga whales (you can actually see them swimming under the water).
The Rogers Williams Zoo
A great zoo for kids of all ages! There's also a huge park and a carousel, worth a visit in themselves. Passes to the Zoo are available at the Norfolk Library.
The Swan Boats at the Boston Public Garden
A wonderful summer morning trip: take the 9:15 train in, stroll over to the Garden for a boat ride, have a picnic lunch, visit the Make Way for Ducklings statues, and be home by 2 pm.
West Hill Dam
West Hill Dam in Mendon has some nice walking trails, and a GREAT picnic area and beach - CW

Outdoor Activities

In Town

Bicentennial Park
Short walk in the woods between the Freeman-Centennial fields and Rockwood St. (Route 115). Entrance is on Rockwood St. south of Boardman Street.
Bush Pond walk
good linear trail and spillway view - ML
Campbell Town Forest
Marked entrance off Route 115 about a half-mile south of downtown.
Charles River
good canoeing, nice canoe put-in by River Road and Myrtle St.
Kingsbury Pond
Kingsbury Pond is located near the airport. The public beach area is on Kingsbury Road. Go down Miller Street from Myrtle Street. Take 2nd right(just past horse farm which is on your left)onto Kingsbury. Follow it around and it will bring you to the beach area. See also the use guidelines.
Kunde Conservation Area
patch of woods with a walking trail from the rear parking lot of H. Olive Day to Tucker Street.
Lind Farm in Norfolk/Wrentham
town-owned conservation land with marked access and parking lot off North Street (down by the Wrentham line). It is where the Lazy Loopers model airplane club meets; great hiking and walking. Also good for horses.
Mirror Lake, off Mirror Lake Avenue
Mirror Lake has a nice little beach area. Parking is limited along the side of the road. The beach is mostly used by lake residents, seems that most folks in town are not aware of it. - DC
Norfolk Airport (closed)
is very big with long views very popular w' dogs - ML
Populatic Pond
boat ramp, trailer access off Lakeshore Drive (on the Franklin-Millis-Norfolk line)
Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary The Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary features approximately 240 acres of forest, field, and wetland habitats that offer exciting opportunities for exploring nature. Stony Brook has also developed a self-guided natural history brochure to correspond with trail markers that are found along the Pond Loop Trail. - PJ
Transfer Station/Highway Department
good walking trails in the woods along the old Medway Branch railroad line (Boardman Street to Medway Branch to the Highway Department)
Wrentham State School Fields
Largest expanse of grassy meadows around; great for games, flying model airplanes, or just a stroll in the country. Right next to the Lind Farm.

Within Half an Hour

Ashland State Park
Big Apple Farm in Wrentham - Off Route 121
Seasonal U-Pick berries, apples, and other produce. (take 1A south past downtown Wrentham, then keep going straight onto Route 121 instead of bearing left on 1A after the Citgo station)
Hopkinton State Park
Joe's Rock and Birchwold Farm, Wrentham
Two conservation areas owned and maintained by the town; on opposite sides of Route 121 (West Street) in Wrentham; interesting nature walks and birding; scenic views, stream with footbridge, small ponds, meadows, and woods. Directions: take King Street in Franklin, continue 100 feet past 495 and go left onto Upper Union Street for 2.9 miles until it ends at West Street, turn right onto West Street and proceed 0.8 miles until the parking lot on the right (recommended by M. Tougias).
Moose Hill in Sharon
another good place to go within 1/2 an hour - CR
Normandy Farms Campground
camp in Foxboro, great place for families - CW
Purgatory Chasam in Sutton.
It is free and wonderful. A natural chasam that you can hike through. Typically it is shaded most of the day and has really small but cool little caves that brave ones can enter. My boys take flashlights with them for their mini excursions and mom, well she waits for them to come out! Besides the chasam there are hiking trails. There is also a small but new play ground for little ones and the treat at the end, an ice cream truck that seems to live there. Have fun! - HS
Rocky Woods Reservation, on Hartford Street in Medfield
a wooded reservation in Medfield owned by the Trustees of Reservations; popular among dog-lovers (the retrievers enjoy the ponds) and hikers [ Note: Rocky Woods is currently rebuilding their parking lots, and has temporarily banned dogs. ]
Seven Arrows Herb Farm
346 Oakhill Ave, Attleboro, MA 02703, 508-399-7860
Lemon Verbena and probably any other herb you can think of. All kinds of strange and exotic herbs, plants, bamboo and a little tea / reading room. - BH
Town of Walpole
Consider the Town of Walpole and its 375 acres of woods located in the center of town behind the High school - DA

Farther Away, but Well Worth the Trip

Bearskin Neck - Rockport
an artists' community and great little shops on the water
The Butterfly Place, 120 Tyngsboro Road, Westford, MA 01886
A unique 3,000-square foot enclosed atrium with up to 500 butterflies; photography allowed.
Davis Farmland in Sterling
The farm features developmentally appropriate discovery play and learning for children ages 1-8. They are a seventh generation family farm, operating in Sterling since 1846, and "home" to the largest sanctuary of endangered livestock in North America. They have all sorts of farm animals, plus pony rides and safari rides, plus a large water sprayground for children. Take 495 North to X26, about 30 miles, then take 62 west for about 9.3 miles to Redstone Hill Rd on the left. Check their calendar before going. A great place to go with toddlers - RH
Demeherst Loyd State Park
best beach, New Bedford area - CW
The Duck Tours - Boston
Lots of good info in,
Garden in the Woods, Framingham MA
Very pretty garden with a mile-long walkway showcasing plants that tolerate/prefer shade; plants available for sale. Passes available at the library.
Horseneck State Beach
Wachusett Mountain State Reservation
[A] great place to go hiking. Lots of marked trails, from fairly easy ones, to a bit harder ones, but none that are too hard for most - JW
Wachusett Mountain Ski Area
Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester
easy access off Rt. 128 N and easy parking, drive in and the beach is right there

For a Rainy Day

In Town

Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary The Visitor Center has birds and animal displays, a knowledgeable staff, a library, a gift shop with nature-oriented offerings, and public rest rooms. The Sanctuary offers year round programs for children, adults, and families. - PJ

Within Half an Hour

Farther Away, but Well Worth the Trip

The Ecotarium
a unique New England museum in Worcester
Hammond Castle
a collection of 15th, 16th, and 18th century architectural elements and sits on a hill overlooking the Atlantic ocean in Gloucester. The castle, which was constructed between 1926 and 1929, was the home and laboratory of John Hays Hammond Jr, an inventor who was a pioneer in remote control and held over four hundred patents.
Harvard Museum of Natural History
There are fossils, dinosaurs, animals (not live: mammals, fish, sharks, birds, butterflies), an incredible rock exhibit (yes, I said rocks!), glass flowers and, every child's favorite, a gift shop!. It was just alot of fun for the low price of quarters in the parking meter and, with a library pass, $1 per person. - WS
Harvard Peabody Museum: on the outskirts of Harvard Square
They are the home of the glass flowers ( among many other things! They also have a huge rock and gem exhibit and wonderful stuffed animals, sharks and birds. Something like the Smithsonian, but on a smaller scale.
The JFK Museum
[W]e all loved it ... well worth the trip - BH
The Norfolk Public Library has free passes for residents; also check the library page.
The Mapparium at the Christian Science Center across from Symphony Hall
Open again.
It is a huge glass map that you can walk through and whisper at one end and have the person at the other end hear you!

From the main page:

  • 2/26 1:52pm   ES: Thank you! I didn't think of that.
    KD: Stony Brook would be good for a stroller. The Transfer Station trail would be fine too. Dirt paths in both cases. If you're willing to drive just a little farther, I have some other suggestions (seems ridiculous but with two Australian Shepherds, sitting around is not an option, and I get bored):
    • The Wheelock School, Medfield / Take Seekonk north to Rt. 27, take left, then quick right continuing on South St., over train tracks, right on Elm, enter school parking lot, park down on far left. Paved path through Medfield conservation land. At the end, go left to a loop around town well or right, over tracks to more paved road and field trails. Kids and dogs. Friendly folks.

    • Medfield State Hospital / Go north on Rt. 27 through Medfield center, through 2 (?) sets of lights, past transfer station, sharp right on Hospital Rd., 1/4 mi. on left pull in and wait in front of guard trailer. Seems weird, but they're there to prevent vandalism/ theft. Guard signs you in - you'll see other joggers and dogwalkers have signed in too. Paved roads between all the old buildings and nice (not too bumpy) dirt trails through the fields and woods out back. Great for exploring.

    • Oak Grove Farm, Millis / Rt. 115 north through Millis, stay on 115 at fork, about 1 mi. down Oak Grove sign on left. Park either in first lot on left or second lot next to white house on left. Dirt trails out past athletic fields, through woods and fields - conservation land. Not too bumpy.

    • Norfolk Aggie, Walpole / Rt. 1A through Walpole center, past Super Stop & Shop, left into school, park in lot at back. Paved road goes back through buildings, turns dirt and continues out through pastures, fields and woods. Decent, not too bumpy.

    • Adams Farm, Walpole / Rt. 1A through Walpole center, past Super Stop & Shop, left on Fisher just after Norfolk Aggie, big farm on right (about 2 mi.), entrance between white fence on left, park at end of road. Trail maps at kiosk. Nice dirt trails - not too bumpy.

    • Ficco's Bowling Alley, Franklin / Main St. toward Shaw's in Franklin, left on Rt. 140, through light at CVS, right into Ficco's parking lot. Park at back left. Paved road starts right there and goes through woods to pond and town well, dirt trails continue through Franklin conservation land at end to left, but somewhat rocky.

    • Hale Reservation, Dover-Westwood / Rt. 109 through Westwood center, left on Dover Rd., right on Carby St., past DPW, enter reservation, keep going and park at one of many parking areas. Paved roads through woods and around ponds. Excellent! Friendly folks, kids, dogs.
    P.S. You don't need to worry about it now, but when the weather gets warm, spray your ankles, shoes, pant cuffs, and stroller wheels with bug spray that says it prevents ticks. Most likely you won't have a problem if you stay on the trails and don't go running through the grasses.
    - SO

  • 2/12 6:37pm   I'm out in all kinds of weather (right down to 10deg F), and have found other good, safe and interesting places to walk in town:
    • Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, North St. [link] / $4 for non-members (honor system). Free for members. Joining is 1/2 the price when they are having a fair or event. Check the schedule. If you've never been, you've got to go. I'm guessing it's about a 1/2 mile walk out to the small island and around the loop. The boardwalk alone is something! (No dogs).

    • Norfolk Town Forest, Pond St. / Between the rotary and Needham St., there is a small parking lot tucked in on the left. Drive slowly or you'll miss it. It's not a long trail, but it's a quiet loop through the woods, about 1/4 mi.

    • Transfer Station trail / Go down Medway branch as if going to the Transfer Station, but pass it and continue straight to the metal barrier. Park on the right next to the large stones. Walk straight ahead with the mound of grass on your right and the piles of mulch on your left. Keep going straight and you will find the start of a nice, quiet trail that follows an old railroad bed. It ends under the power lines. Round trip about 1/2 mi., maybe more, but there are other offshoot trails to explore.

    • Lind Farm Conservation Land / North St., just after the intersection with Shear St., on the way to Wrentham. Dirt road on left with sign. Park at the bottom. There is a big field where people fly miniature airplanes all the time. Enter the trail to the left behind the dumpster (I know) and follow over little bridge out and around the field. There are trails that go off into the woods for maybe a mile or so.

    • The Power Lines / If you can, start at the Seekonk St. entrance on the left as you go north, it is a revelation of undisturbed wildlife. Every few years, the gas company does a clear-cut, but in between you will see deer, wild turkeys, hawks, fox, great blue heron, turtles, frogs, and may even hear the great horned owl. It's mucky, and there is horse manure, but it's rich in a desolate sort of way. If you keep going, you can cross Cleveland and walk all the way to 115. Maybe a mile, maybe 2?

    • Town Pond / Main St. at the Old Town Hall. I'm probably breaking the rules, even with a permit, but I park way down back, away from the commuter parking and leave a note on my windshield explaining I'm on the trail. It's a gravel path that leads to the pond and connects with other trails that go around the pond and into the woods.
    I know buckets of great walks nearby, but I'm interested to hear if others have suggestions. I'm out every day with the dogs, so I like to keep it lively.
    - SO
  • Home