South Fork Natural History Museum’s Nature Walks, Talks, and Events


SOFO offers distinctive environmental programs in the museum and out-of-doors that promote a deep understanding of the natural world enhanced with the knowledge that all things are interconnected. Led by our talented staff of nature educators, our programs are designed for a wide variety of audiences including schools, children, adults, scouts, senior citizens, clubs, people with special needs, and organizations. The museum also conducts cooperative nature education programs with other nature organizations and government agencies.

To view SOFO’s upcoming programs, click here and click the appropriate category.

Reservations must be made for these walks, workshops, and programs.

For information, reservations, and directions to meeting places for our scheduled programming, please contact SOFO at (631) 537-9735,


SOFO’s School Group Programs engage students in hands-on explorations focusing on local ecosystems, with content correlated to the NYS Common Core. A field trip to the SOFO Natural History Museum introduces children to the natural world of interactions between animals, plants, and the environments that create the unique habitats found on Long Island.

Programs, Common Core Correlations and Descriptions


  • LI’s Amphibians and Reptiles
  • Life in a Forest
  • Animals in Winter
  • Insect Life Cycles
  • Life in a Pond
  • Salt Marsh Survey
  • Vernal Pools
  • Lifecycles: Reptiles, Amphibians and Pond Insects
  • Animal Characteristics: Reptiles, Amphibians, Mammals and Birds and Invertebrates

Standard 4 The Living Environment: Students will understand and apply scientific concepts, principles, and theories pertaining to the physical setting and living environment and recognize the historical development of ideas in science.

Key Idea 1: Living things are both similar to and different from each other and from non-living things

Life in a Pond, Life in a Forest, LI’s Reptiles and Amphibians, Insect and Amphibian Life Cycles, Animals in Winter

Key Idea 4: The continuity of life is sustained through reproduction and development.

LI’s Reptiles and Amphibians, Life in a Pond, Insect and Amphibian Life Cycles

Key Idea 5: Organisms maintain a dynamic equilibrium that sustains life.

Life in a Pond, Vernal Pools

Key Idea 6: Plants and animals depend on each other and their physical environment.

LI’s Reptiles and Amphibians, Life in a Pond, Insect and Amphibian Life Cycles

Key Idea 7: Human decisions have had a profound impact on the physical and living environments.

LI’s Reptiles and Amphibians, Salt Marsh Survey


General Museum Visit – No Special Program 

An introduction to the South Fork Natural History Museum is followed by an exploration of the main exhibits and then a Marine Touch Tank* interaction – an introduction to some of the organisms found in LI’s bays including crabs, sea stars, and snails.

*Marine Touch Tank is available to regular visitors on a daily basis.

1 hour, Nursery to Grade 1

  • Close up with LI’s Amphibians and Reptiles
    • Meet the museum’s animals: the Eastern Box Turtle, the endangered Eastern Tiger Salamander and the elusive Eastern Spadefoot Toad to learn how to identify turtles, toads and salamanders, find out where they live and what they eat.
  • Life in a Forest
    • What animals live in a forest? Where can you look to see them? Are they up high in the treetops, down low in the leaves or under the ground? Explore the museum forest exhibits and meet some native animals that live in the wild woods.
  • Animals in Winter
    • Go to sleep or stay awake or fly far away to migrate…What do animals do in the winter? How do they keep warm and find food and shelter? Visit with the museum’s animals and find out what they do to survive until spring.

1.5 hours, Grades K-5

  • Reptiles and Amphibians
    • Meet the museum’s turtles, toads and salamanders and learn about their life cycles and habitats, where they can be found, what they need to survive and why it is important to protect the wild places they live in.

1.5 hours, Grades K-5, May-August only

  • Life in a Pond
    • The pond behind the museum provides a laboratory for studying the inhabitants of freshwater ponds; including the larva of insects such as dragonflies and damselflies as well as other aquatic invertebrates such as Water-boatmen, Backswimmers, Water Mites, and leeches. Older explorers will use microscopes to make additional observations and identifications.

2 hours, Grades 3-5, May-August only

  • Life Cycles: Reptiles, Amphibians and Pond Insects
    • Have an up-close experience with some of Long Island’s native turtles, toads and salamanders and pond insects and invertebrates to learn where these animals can be found, what they need to survive and why it is important to protect their habitats.
  • What is a Vernal Pool?
    • An introduction to nature observations begins in the museum and ends with a short walk to a vernal pool in Vineyard Field behind the museum. Two Nature Educators dressed in waders will collect organisms with a seine net and hand nets and the students will observe the collections and identify examples of the life stages in pond insects and amphibians.

2.5 hours, Grades 3-5

  • Animal Characteristics: Reptiles, Amphibians, Mammals and Birds and Invertebrates
    • Animals all need to move, find food and shelter, and breathe to stay alive. Compare the body characteristics and functions of the museum’s live reptiles, amphibians, marine invertebrates and the skulls, bones and other parts of mammals and birds to learn how different animal groups are built for survival and are adapted to their environments.

Offsite Programs: 2 hours

  • Salt Marsh Survey: Grades 5-12
    • Learn about the unique characteristics of a salt marsh, food chains and food webs indicative of a salt marsh habitat and why the salt marsh is important to people.
  • Nature Walks
    • A SoFo educator will lead your group on a guided nature walk at a local trail or preserve to observe interactions between animals and plants in a specific habitat.

In-School Program: 1 hour/multiple class presentations available

  • Close up with LI’s Amphibians and Reptiles
    • An introduction to reptiles and amphibians in an up-close experience with the Eastern Box Turtle, the endangered Eastern Tiger Salamander, the elusive Eastern Spadefoot Toad and others to learn how to identify turtles and salamanders and why it is important to protect their habitat.


Visitor Program Rates (Walks & Talks)

SOFO Members

Admission to the Museum is free. Programs are free unless otherwise specified.


Museum Admission Only – Adults $10, Children $7 (Ages 3-12), Ages 2 & under free

Museum Admission & Program – Adults $15, Children $10 (Ages 3-12), Ages 2 & under free

Group Rates and Programs

General Museum Visit

No Special Program…$7.00 / child, $10 / adult

Museum Explorer Programs

1 hour ………………….…….……………$12 / child

1.5 hours …….……..…………………….$15 / child

0.5 hour Guided Nature Walk ……$50.00 / group

Extended Museum Visits and Offsite Programs

2 hours …….……………………………..$20 / child

2.5 hours …………………………………$25 / child

In-School Program

1 hour……………………………….…….$200 / hour


1 hour………………………..……………$10 / child

Home School Groups….please call for rates

To schedule a group visit or program contact Melanie Meade, SOFO:

at (631) 537-9735,


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