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: $245 for members, $280 for nonmembers. Specialties: Full-day, half-day (preschool); no pool but sprinkler; nature hands-on activities, nature crafts, games and firsthand experiences with resident animals; Natural Wonders (preschoolers), Discovery Weeks (ages 5 to 10), Explorers Club (ages 11 to 16). New this year: Wildlife Rehabilitation week (ages 12 to 16). Open house: noon to 4 p.m. March 2.Hours: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Butterfly and Moth House is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June-September.