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Norman Bird Sanctuary, Middletown

(4.3/5 based on 65 reviews on the web)
The Norman Bird Sanctuary is a 325acre bird sanctuary, nature preserve, and museum at 583 Third Beach Road in Middletown, Rhode Island overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.In 1949 the Norman Bird Sanctuary was founded through a bequest in the will of Mabel Norman Cerio. The Sanctuary comprises the largest area of preserved open space in Newport County. There are 325 acres and 7 miles of hiking trails. The refuge contains hay fields, woodlands and ridges overlooking the ocean and ponds. Hanging Rock, prominent local landmark, is located within the sanctuary overlooking the ocean. There is also a Visitor's Center and gift shop, and a 19th Century Barn Museum featuring displays about the wildlife for children and adults.HistoryThe property of the Norman Bird Sanctuary has an agricultural history dating to the early 18th century, when a large tract of land was purchased by Isaac Smith, a descendant of one of the area's first settlers. The main farmhouse on the property is a typical Colonial-era farmhouse, five bays wide with a large central chimney, and dates to about 1755. The property, then 200acre, was auctioned to pay debts in 1782; the purchaser was Benjamin Gardiner. In 1898 George Norman, a Newport businessman, purchased the farm, then reduced to about 129acre, and it was his daughter Mabel who modernized the house and gave it a more Colonial Revival appearance. This core portion of the sanctuary was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • 325 acres of a wide variety of habitats provide a tranquil setting for walking, bird watching, or just communing with nature. There of miles of trails through woods, fields, marshes and ridge lines of...  more »
  • We hiked the trails here, some were challengingly but worth the effort. We didn't see many birds, but enjoyed ourselves nonetheless. A nice alternative to the cliff walk when the crowds are dense ther...  more »
  • Josh and Dad climbed to the end of hanging rock. First time for Josh to go there. Dad grew up in the area, was there all the time, as a kid. Staff is very informative and on the right day you can be i...  more »
Google
  • Awesome place for hiking, exercize, bird watching, photographers, etc. Great for kids & adults alike. Hiking out to Hanging Rock is well worth the hike/climb! The views are spectacular (3rd,2nd beaches, nature preserve,St.George's)!! Don't forget the Harvest Fair in Oct!
  • Wonderful nature Sancuary by the coast. Definitely wish more people would see what RI has to offer other than the beach.
  • What a beautiful place! Not crowded at all and the scenery is incredible!
  • Depending on the crowd this beach can be perfect for family with small children. I like it more than other beaches in the area, because of the clean bathrooms and friendliness of the staff that works there.
  • Beautiful views. Abundant wildlife. Great hiking trails.