Explore, Discover, Learn, Engage
SOFO is a family-friendly museum of exploration and discovery for children and adults of all ages. The only state-of-the-art natural history museum on the South Fork of Long Island, SOFO teaches and inspires visitors to think and engage like naturalists as they learn the tools to become passionate stewards of our planet. Unique to SOFO is the team of expert nature educators that educate and guide visitors through the unique exhibits and the wonders of the outdoor natural attractions.
SOFO comprises two floors of scientifically correct, sensory, interactive nature exhibits enhanced with hidden doors, drawers, peepholes, and live animals that reflect and celebrate the beauty and the natural history of the South Fork.
On the main floor, there are colorful floor-to-ceiling photo murals of forests, ponds, and ocean landscapes that bring the outdoors indoors, a topographical map of the area, and a short video telling the story of the glacial formation of Long Island. In the center of the room are four large cylindrical exhibits depicting different aquatic habitats: a coastal plain pond, a salt marsh, a vernal pond, and the ocean featuring recreated, characteristic plants and animals such as Green Frogs, Bull frogs, turtles and salamanders, fish, and many other sea creatures.
The expedition continues in the downstairs galleries. Here visitors can experience up close and personal encounters with live native reptiles and amphibians—turtles, frogs, toads, salamanders, and more fresh and saltwater fish. A favorite with families is SOFO’s large marine touch-tank that visitors can dip their hands into and hold sea stars, crabs, urchins, whelks and many other sea creatures.
A special learning tool is specifically designed Field Guide that explains each exhibit. The guide prompts you to ask questions that help you think about the relationships between the animals and plants and their habitats. Tabbed illustrations match large decals on the floor that direct you to each exhibit.
On the grounds of the museum are the Native Butterfly Garden, Native Wildflower Garden, and Bog Garden. Visitors discover migratory birds, coastal plain and vernal ponds, and are welcome to explore the 40-acre preserve known as Vineyard Field, which opens to the trail system of the Long Pond Greenbelt. The 1,100-acre Long Pond Greenbelt system, which includes six miles of walking trails that stretch from Ligonee Brook and Otter Pond in Sag Harbor south to Sagaponack Pond and the Atlantic Shore in Sagaponack, offers an expanse of interconnected ponds, woods, and wetlands with a wealth of rare plants, animals, and ecological communities, the Greenbelt is widely recognized as one of the most ecologically significant areas in all of New York State.