Sweetbriar Nature Center
62 Eckernkamp Dr. Smithtown, NY 631-979-6344
54 acres, hiking trails through an array of habitats including wetlands, fields and forests with views of the Nissequogue River; self-guided nature trails, picnic area, rest rooms. Part of the Long Island Greenbelt Trail runs through the preserve.
Best known for its butterfly house, which features 20 to 30 species of butterflies, including giant swallowtails, cabbage whites and monarchs, Sweetbriar also has an interpretive rain forest exhibit that includes iguana, a red-tail boa constrictor and parrots. You also can see native animals and birds - occasionally fox, squirrels and other small animals.
Critters in glass cases include Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and a Chilean rosehair tarantula. Visitors can see fire-belly toads and newts, and red-eyed tree frogs. Reptiles are there, too, including leopard geckos, Western tiger salamanders and a ball python.
Summer camp info: Ages: 3 to 14. Fees: $300 for members, $350 for nonmembers. Specialties: Nature based, hand on activities, nature trails, nature museum exhibits, butterfly house, no pool but sprinkler and slip and slide; nature crafts, games and firsthand experiences with resident animals; Natural Wonders (preschoolers), Discovery Weeks (ages 5 to 10), Explorers Club (ages 11 to 16). Wildlife Rehabilitation week (ages 13 to 17). Open house: noon to 4 p.m. March 7.Hours: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Butterfly and Moth House is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 6th-September 30th.