Welcome to Ithaca's Discovery Trail

From peaceful walks to famous talks, from hands-on fun to genealogical research, there's so much to see and do along the Discovery Trail. These eight fascinating sites are an easy drive from downtown Ithaca, Cornell University, Ithaca College, Cayuga Lake and other Finger Lakes attractions.

The Discovery Trail Partnership is a group of educational organizations based in Ithaca, NY. The only organization of its kind, the Discovery Trail promotes awareness and understanding of the connections among art, history, literature, science, and the natural world.

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Hike our wooded trails under the big sky of our back fields or around our ponds. Find out who is awake and stirring under the moonlight. No need to bring a flashlight — you'll be surprised how much you see without one! Please call ahead for availability (607-273-6260). $5 suggested donation. More
Date: Friday, May 22
Time: Nightfall
Place: Cayuga Nature Center
Admission is free for active duty military personnel, veterans, and their immediate family members over Memorial Day weekend. Valid military ID required. More
Date: Saturday, May 23 thru Monday, May 25
Time: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm (Saturday and Monday) and 12 - 5 pm on Sunday
Place: Sciencenter
In collaboration with Cornell Plantations and the Cayuga Bird Club, the Lab is offering wildflower walks in Sapsucker Woods. Walks are free, will be held rain or shine, and last approximately 90 minutes. Registration is not required. Meet at the Lab of Ornithology visitor center. More
Date: Sunday, May 24
Time: 1:00 - 2:30 pm
Place: Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 159 Sapsucker Woods Rd

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Trail Sites

Did You Know?

Follow the Discovery Trail on Facebook at facebook.com/discoverytrail and Twitter@discoverytrail More

Here is a link to article 9 out of a series of 10 that will appear in Tompkins Weekly each month of the 2014-15 school year. Check out what makes KDT! so special. More

Encounter more than a dozen hands-on experiences when you enter the fascinating world of materials science. Experiment with amorphous metal structures and learn how they're shaping the future of metals around us. Make a pool of magnetic fluid dance or zoom in to 30x magnification and observe the structure of items you use each day. More

Tompkins County Public Library, in celebration of Cornell University's Charter Day, will host Cornell Off Campus: The Impact of Cornellians on Tompkins County, a photographic exhibit featuring Cornell alumni, faculty and friends on display till July 31. More

A selection of works by Sue deLearie Adair will be on display in the visitor center from May 1 and August 31. Adair’s artwork is inspired by her love of the natural world, and all creatures great and small. Free viewing during regular hours. More

This show represents the integration of beloved, familiar painting approaches with the emergence of a new passion for acrylics, the latter of which was inspired by a summer's restorative immersion into plein air painting. Marcia Eames-Sheavly's paintings reflect a deep fondness for this region, with its evocative, sensual and joyous flowers, as well as the gardens, hedgerows and lakes that abound here. On exhibit May 1 to June 30. More

The Eight Square Schoolhouse has been home to The History Center's Living History Program for over 35 years. This summer we will explore activities based on the 1869 diary of thirteen year old Carrie Manning, a local farm girl who loved her family and friends, and left us a day by day glimpse of her life through her writing. More details.. More

kids discover the trail

Kids Discover the Trail! provides curriculum-based field trips to the eight Discovery Trail sites. Students receive a site-specific keepsake book to continue the learning experience at home and free family admission (where applicable) for a follow-up visit. The program is currently operating for all Ithaca City School District (ICSD) students in grades Pre-K through 5 and all Trumansburg Central School District (TCSD) students in grades Pre-K through 6.
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