Joppa Flats Education Center and Wildlife Sanctuary

photo - Joppa Flats Education Center and Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Plum Island Turnpike
Newburyport, MA 01950

The Joppa Flats Education Center is located at the gateway to one of the country's most productive year-round wildlife viewing areas -- the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge and the Plum Island estuary. Highlights for visitors are the many species of birds that utilize the area's extensive salt marshes, mudflats, rivers, bays, and coastal waters. During local area field trips, Joppa Flats program participants have recorded over 300 species of birds, including bald eagle, snowy owl, and many warblers, shorebirds, and waterfowl. The visitor center overlooking the Merrimack River includes a children's education room with a marine aquarium, a conference center, art exhibits, a nature shop, butterfly gardens, and interpretive displays.


Grounds open dawn to dusk, Center open 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday

Driving Directions: 

Take Rt I-95 to exit 57 (Rt 113, W Newbury/Newburyport). At the end of the exit ramp take Rt 113 east. Follow Rt 113 and Rt 1A east for 3.8 miles to Rolfe's Lane in Newbury. At the traffic light at Rolfe's Lane, take a left (heading north). Drive 0.6 miles to the end of Rolfe's Lane and take a right. The sanctuary is 0.1 miles ahead on the left. Public Transportation: From the MBTA commuter rail station in Newburyport, take the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority (MVRTA) Bus #51 outbound toward Plum Island. Ask the driver to stop at the Joppa Flats Education Center on the Plum Island Turnpike. MVRTA schedule and route information is available at 978-469-6878.

Site Notes & Advisories: 

Viewing Information: Handicapped accessible; second floor indoor and outdoor viewing areas give spectacular views of the Merrimack River estuary. Joppa Flats is the gateway to Plum Island and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. Species of Note: Waterfowl, Bald Eagles, and Snowy Owls in the winter, Wood Warblers and other passerines in the spring; shorebirds in the spring and late summer-fall, egrets and herons in the summer. Habitats: Small upland site overlooking a restored salt marsh and the Merrimack River estuary.


  • Family Friendly
  • Handicap Accessible
  • Parking
  • Restroom


  • Birding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Natural Resources
  • Great Marsh
  • Parks

Property Owner/Organization: 

Mass Audubon
Essex Coastal Scenic Byway
Rail Trail
Rail Trail Trailhead