Two Feet, Two Bucks

Two Feet, Two Bucks*: Audubon Nature Center and Aquarium

Map by Andy Nosal.

Suppose your world shrank to only places you could walk to with the assistance of public transit. After despairing over this newfound limitation, you would eventually explore this contained world and be relieved to learn you will not run out of beautiful places to visit for a long time. You will marvel at the details, at all the nooks and crannies you were zipping past in times before — if you are lucky enough to hop onto the #60.

Welcome to the second installment in our series of “Two Feet, Two Bucks” excursions – great places you can visit via bus between PVD and Newport. You may already know some day-trip-worthy destinations like Colt State Park, and the charming streets of downtown Warren and Bristol. So for this installment, let’s explore hidden treasures like a wildlife refuge that is capital-A Accessible, perfect for children and anyone else not ready to walk for miles.

At the Claire D. McIntosh Wildlife Refuge and its Nature Center and Aquarium, ospreys and eagles dwell right next to an ADA-certified trail and boardwalk only a few hundred feet from a bus stop. This compact refuge is a remarkably vital slice of the bay’s ecosystem. Children and adults can learn more at the aquarium which charges a small admission. The restroom is free and the refuge trails are open from sunrise to sunset. For hours and more information, visit

Ask your driver for the Elmwood Drive stop. The Nature Center driveway is marked by a sign directly across Hope Street from the corner of Elmwood Drive. Instead of walking down the driveway, look for an opening in the stone wall to your left and follow a tree lined path to the Nature Center. If you are only visiting the trails, walk to your right around the building, descend through the meadow and cross the East Bay Bike Path to a dramatic quarter-mile boardwalk over fresh and saltwater wetlands. Stand still, wait, and watch quietly for your best chance to see a painted turtle, snapping turtle, frog, muskrat, fox, osprey, green heron, wild turkey, red-tailed hawk or another bird emerge from hiding. The boardwalk ends at a viewing platform overlooking the mouth of the Warren River over to Rumstick Point and out across Narragansett Bay.

As you exit the boardwalk, turn left on the bike path for a few hundred feet, looking left for a gap in the fence. From here, a quarter mile trail past a large salt marsh brings you to Jacobs Point where you can explore the shell-strewn shoreline and take in views of buildings and boats in downtown Warren, over a mile north.

When you return to the bike path, consider turning left. It’s a shady, scenic, straight, level mile to the edge of downtown Warren. Whatever your budget, you can find a great place to eat. Find a bus stop on Main Street and use your bus tracker to see how much time remains for you to explore charming back streets or shops. If you decide not to extend your hike into Warren, turn right then left up the hill, back to the Nature Center. Check your bus tracker and use any extra time to enjoy the exhibits, gardens, and gift shop until you continue up the path to catch your bus.