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Nature Centers in the Finger Lakes

Mendon Ponds

3914 Clover St.
Honeoye Falls, NY 14472


Mendon Ponds Park Nature Center.


Mendon Ponds Park Nature Center is located in Mendon Ponds Park in a residential area of the Town of Mendon in Monroe County south of the City of Rochester.


Mendon Ponds Nature Center is owned by the County of Monroe and is technically part of Mendon Ponds Park. However, the center is under contract to Heritage Christian Services and is used for its own programs. The nature center's building is not open on the weekends and seems to be open irregularly during the week with limited educational displays.


Sharon's Sensory GardenTo the east side of the center is a lovely butterfly garden. There are also several educational signs. Unfortunately, they are way too tall and technical to engage elementary-school-aged children. Also to the east is one of the park's trails through a swampy area. This trail connects with the Quaker Pond Trail.


Behind the center is Sharon's Sensory Garden, and ornamental display with a small constructed waterfall and raised beds. Plant labels are in both text and braille. The garden is designed to provide access to those with sight and mobility limitations.


To the west of the nature center is Wild Wings, a non-profit organization not connected with the park. It does not permit entry to its facility to anyone with a camera.


This is Devil's Bathtub, a glacial kettle. To get to it, you must descend a stairway along a steep hillside.


Mendon Ponds is a 2,500-acre park. It is registered as a National Natural Landmark because of its interesting glacial geology with visible kames, eskers, and kettles. The park has numerous picnic areas and picnic pavilions. The Cobblestone House is available during the daytime hours for small meetings, conferences, and weddings. The park permits dogs and has a carry in-carry out policy for all dog waste and garbage.


Cobblestone House is available for small meetings, conferences, and weddings.


Round Pond, Hundred Acre Pond, and Deep Pond are open to boating. Gasoline motors are not permitted on any of these ponds. Round Pond has a "secret" area in the back of the pond boaters enjoy exploring and Deep Pond is connected to Hundred Acre Pond by a narrow channel. Many canoers and kayakers like to park in the lot at Deep Pond and take the channel to Hundred Acre Pond. Hundred Acre Pond has not only a slope into the pond but a short dock. Its parking lot is the largest and can accommodate vehicles with trailers. The park does not rent kayaks or canoes.


Canoeing on Hundred Acre Pond.


The park has nearly 21 mi./33.7 km. of color-coded trails and many more miles/kilometers of uncoded trails. Be sure to bring a copy of the park map with you as these are not readily available in the park.


Biking is permitted on the many miles/kilometers of paved but shoulderless roads throughout the park but not on the trails. In addition, the park is surrounded on three sides by state routes 64, 65, and 251. These roads have good shoulders and are ideal for biking. Helmets are recommended.


One of several picnic areas around Hundred Acre Pond.


Although there is a "beach area" listed on the park map that is appropriate for sunbathing, swimming is not permitted nor is there a bathhouse.

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is permitted in the park. See the park map for permitted areas and the location of the horse trailer parking lot.

Winter Activities

Ice skating, cross-county skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, iceboating, and may other activities are permitted in the park. The park is also the venue of the Rochester Nordic Ski Club's WinterFest.


With 2,500 acres over which to roam, there are a wide variety of plants, including many native plants. Unfortunately, because the park is surrounded by residential areas, it suffers from major invasions of the nastiest of invasive plants, such as black swallowwort and Japanese honeysuckle. Smaller, more isolated nature centers and parks are likely to provide a more interesting selection of native plants and fungi.


An Easter black swallowtail butterfly (papilio polyxenes) drinks nectar from a swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata).


The park is reported to have all the native animals common to the county and even has a small colony of black-phase gray squirrels on the west side of Douglas Road south of the entrance to Hundred Acre Pond. However, many of the animals, including many woodland bird species, seemed to be scarce when I was there, though the woods at Beaver Lake Nature Center was full of birds just a few days before. What the reason for this is is hard to tell. Mendon Ponds has a lot more human activity with dog walkers, horseback riders, and bike riders on the trails--though they're not supposed to be. In addition, Mendon Ponds is divided by a number of well-traveled roads that divide the park into small sections. All along the roads are acres of mowed grass. This can negatively affect wildlife in a variety of ways and make the park more "urban" in its wildlife composition. Nevertheless, an astute nature lover shouldn't have trouble finding interesting things to look at.


Lehigh Crossing Park

Tinker Nature Park/Hansen Nature Center


Updated 3 August 2010








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