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Norman Bird Sanctuary, Middletown
(4.3/5 based on 60 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
  • Check in at the visitor's building & pay a fee (I think it was $6 per person). You get a map & explanation of the various hiking trails. We kept it simple & didn't try to hike to Hanging Rock. Our hik...  more »
  • The beginning of the trail is a nice gravel path. The signage is very poor. Caretakers, please take my $6 entrance fee and buy a can of spray paint and write directions on the blank pieces of wood nai...  more »
  • It was a very hot day, and as a senior citizen, how I wish they had benches to stop and sit and rest. Only one that I saw on a trail, and it was sloped down towards the ground, not level. Even the bui...  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.