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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Join us for...

Join us for guided beginner bird walks in Sapsucker Woods. Walks last about 1.5 hours, and will take place weather permitting. More
Date: Saturday, July 4 and Sunday, July 5
Time: 7:30 - 9:00 am
Place: Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 159 Sapsucker Woods Rd
Enjoy a guided tour through the Botanical Gardens and discover the beauty and diversity of our numerous theme gardens. Actual tour content will vary from week to week, depending on the plants, season, interests of the group, and whim of the docent. Fee $5; free for Plantations members, volunteers and Cornell students. More
Date: Saturday, July 4 and Sunday, July 5
Time: 1:00 pm
Place: Cornell Plantations, Botanical Garden
Every Saturday in July and August join us for awesome activities for ages 5-12 or come read a story in our new Children's Nook. Every week will have a new theme for a new adventure! Included with regular admission. More
Date: Saturday, July 4
Time: 2:00 - 4:00 pm
Place: Museum of the Earth
Join the Cornell Gorge Stewards on a hike around Beebe Lake, right in the heart of campus. You'll learn about the history of the area, geology and the local flora and fauna. This hike is open to anyone, but some stairs and gravel paths will be encountered. This event will not run in inclement weather. More
Date: Sunday, July 5
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 pm
Place: Cornell Plantations, meet at the north side of the Beebe Lake dam, near Japes Lodge (small, closed, brown building) and the Triphammer Foot Bridge. This location is down below street level, downhill from the Noyes Lodge. Look for the canoes.
Sundays in July. Invent contraptions that can move. Visit our Reinvention Station to tinker with recycled materials and electricity to make whirling, moving machines to take home! Materials provided by Cornell Xraise. More
Date: Sunday, July 5
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 pm
Place: Sciencenter

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Trail Sites

Did You Know?

Kids Discover the Trail! provides curriculum based field trips to the eight Discovery Trail sites. This year we welcomed Lansing and Newfield to our program. Our 11th year in Ithaca, 6th year in Tburg and 2nd year in Groton finished in June 2015. We served 3,759 students in the 2014-15 school year with over 30,000 students participating since the start of the program. More

Find enchantment in a photographic look at butterflies amongst the floral backdrop of the tropics. A collection of photos by local photographer Jason Cox, the series brings the vibrancy of life housed at the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservancy here to the Finger Lakes. On display July 6 through August. More

Get up close and personal with colorful, intricate, and ancient fossils with Ancient Microworlds, a photography exhibit shattering the barrier between science and art! Scientist Giraud Foster and artist Normal Barker worked collaboratively for twelve years, using light-scanning macrographic equipment of their own design, to capture the rich patterns and colors of fossilized organisms. On display June 19 to September 15. More

Registration is still open. Enroll now with seven camps (ages 3 to 14) and a CIT program there are many opportunities. Take a look at our camp brochure and register online today. More

This exhibition embodies the essence of a history museum's mission, and in so doing, shows the many ways there are to tell the story of our local community. On display through September 2015 at The History Center in Tompkins County. More

Encounter more than a dozen hands-on experiences when you enter the fascinating world of materials science at our Strange Matter exhibition. Stop by at 2 pm on weekdays for Weekly Wonders and participate in hands-on science activities led by our Future Science Leaders; with a new activity each week. And the Sciencenter is open 7 days a week in July and August. More

Experience the excitement of reading and discussing a common title during this year's Community Read of the Kurt Vonnegut classic, Slaughterhouse Five. TCPL celebrates the summer with exciting new exhibit Dreamtime: Surreal, Allegorical and Fantastic Art curated by Frances Fawcett and Margaret Nelson on display till September 15. 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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