Can’t decide between taking a hike or visiting a farm? Stratford is your place! Hike the wooded 4-mile trail, hunt for frogs and salamanders in the swamp, interact with farm animals, tend the garden, use an apple press to make cider, and so much more.
Update: Stratford Photography Club is live! It meets the third Thursday of each month, and it’s $10/year to join.
Every season at Stratford has something different to offer. From maple sugaring to beekeeping, creek-walking to summer camping—there’s always something going on. Personally, I’m looking forward to taking some family portraits while they do farm chores!
I visited on a crisp fall day, and spent at least two hours walking the trails. Throughout my wanders I saw squirrels, chipmunks, blue jays, bluebirds, cardinals, woodpeckers, and chickadees—and heard even more critters. I really regretted not bringing a longer lens! I’m the first to admit that I’m not a nature photographer; I don’t have the glass or the patience. That being said, I feel confident that I could have gotten at least a couple good shots here. There are some great trail spots that overlook a creek area just teeming with wildlife. These were taken at 55mm and cropped waaaaay down.
The farm is fun to wander. Sheep, llamas, and cows graze in grass fields. When you approach the chicken enclosures, they strut right up to see what’s going on. In the barn, the piglets and goats are excited to come visit, though you’ll likely be greeted first by a few of the farm’s cats.
This is definitely somewhere I’ll be visiting more often, whether for pictures for myself, or as a backdrop for portraits—and to pick up fresh eggs, honey, and seasonal produce! There’s always something going on, so keep an eye on their calendar of events. Want to get involved? There are lots of volunteer opportunities.
You are welcome to take photos for various uses, and it’s appreciated if appropriate donations are made for any visit. There is a family that lives on the property, so please respect their privacy. Stay out of any areas marked “staff only” and do not enter any animal enclosures if you are not accompanied by a staff member.
Stratford Ecological Center & State Nature Preserve is privately owned and operated. Alcohol, pets, and smoking are prohibited.
Features in a nutshell
Visitor Building: The first stop! Check in here for a map, make a donation, and see what’s going on. There are lots of educational programs for youth and adults.
Trails: 4 miles through the nature preserve, with optional loops. A few of the trails are fairly steep and can be muddy depending on the weather. Definitely wear appropriate footwear! Not handicap-accessible. The trails access an old well, a cemetery from the 1800s, beehives, a creek, a swamp, and the sugar shack.
Farm: Pastures and farm fields that rotate throughout the year. See the grazing livestock (behind an electric fence) and seasonal crops, including corn, hay, and alfalfa for feeding the livestock.
Gardens & Greenhouses: Lots of food grows here year-round. You can pick your own and pay for it at the visitor building. What isn’t used or purchased is donated to food pantries.
Barn: Animals! Cats, goats, llamas, pigs, sheep, cows… whatever isn’t out grazing is hanging out here. The animals are friendly—but keep your hands away from the pig mouths, don’t try to pick up the cats (petting is fine), and be sure to wash your hands at the provided water pump when you’re done.
Pond & Prairie: Find muskrats, nesting bluebirds, and more. During spring and summer, there are nesting tree swallows and purple martins.
3083 Liberty Road
Delaware, OH 43015
Mon-Fri: 9 am – 5 pm
Sat: 9 am – 1 pm*
Sun & Holidays: Closed
*Beginning December 1, winter hours take effect, and Stratford will be closed on Saturdays.
A $2 per-person or $5 per-family donation is appreciated.
Pictures on Flickr tagged with “Stratford Ecological Center”