Skip to content

Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association Fall Hours and Programs

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association (MMA), your portal to Nantucket’s  Natural world, announces its schedule for another fall, full of science education, research, and  exploration of the sky, land, and sea of Nantucket Island through its award-winning programs,  events, and properties. 

MMA Properties Updated Fall Hours – Effective the Week of September 11 

MMA Aquarium (28 Washington Street): Thursday - Sunday, 10am - 4pm, through October 6 Hinchman House Natural Science Museum (7 Milk Street): Thursday - Sunday, 10am - 4pm through October 6, Friday - Sunday, 10am - 4pm October 7 through December 17 Historic Mitchell House (1 Vestal Street): Fridays, 10am - 1pm, through September 29, *closed on September 22 

Loines Observatory (59 Milk Street Ext.): Wednesdays, 8pm - 9:30pm through October 4 Research Center (2 Vestal Street): Saturdays, 11am - 1pm through December 17 

Tours (self-guided, except at the Mitchell House where visitors take guided tours) are available  on a rolling basis throughout the day and do not require a reservation. One all-properties MMA  pass ($22 Adult, $12 Youth) includes admission to any four properties ** to be redeemed at the  MMA Aquarium, Hinchman House Natural Science Museum, or Historic Mitchell House, and can  be purchased in-person upon entering the properties. A single entry to the Historic Mitchell  House is available ($10 Adult, $8 Youth). Please note, the property pass provides a single  admission to a Stargazing Open Night, which must be registered for in advance online. The pass  can be used for four total visits at any of the three other sites. Admission to all properties is  FREE for MMA Members. Members receive a 10% discount on all public and private  programs. Join today!

Fall Public Programs 

Details and registration links for the programs featured below can be found on the MMA  website’s calendar at  

Stargazing Open Nights at Loines Observatory are offered Wednesdays from 8pm - 9:30pm  (two sessions) – $22 Adult, $12 Youth, free for Members, and included for those already  holding an all-MMA properties pass. You must register for Open Nights in advance online at: for these 45-minute Observatory programs. The MMA  Astronomy staff will lead constellation tours and guide visitors through different viewing  stations inside and outside the observatory domes. Participants will have a chance to view  astronomical objects through our historic 8-inch Alvan Clark refractor and our modern 24-inch  research telescope. Get a chance to view the Moon, planets, star clusters, nebulae, and even  other galaxies! Stargazing Open Nights will end for the season October 4 and shift to our  “Look Up!” Program

Feeding Frenzy is a daily program offered Thursday through Sunday, from 9am - 10am (group  price is $125 - up to 5 guests). Join MMA Aquarium staff on a private tour as they feed the ever hungry creatures at the Aquarium before it opens to the public! You will learn all about the  fascinating marine animals as you observe their unique feeding behaviors. The Feeding Frenzy  is extremely popular, so advance registration is required. The maximum capacity per  registration is 5 guests. At least one adult must sign up with children. Feeding Frenzy ends  October 6. The Aquarium will hold its annual Release Day on October 7 at 10am

Ravenous Reptiles is a daily program offered Thursday through Sunday, from 9am - 10am ($15  per registrant). Learn about the unique adaptations of turtles, frogs, snakes, and more at the  MMA Natural Science Museum! You will get to touch or hold several of the MMA Natural  Science Museum display animals. If you love animals, this is a fantastic way to learn about  native and non-native species up-close. Pre-registration is recommended. At least one adult  must sign up with children. This program is designed to be interesting for adults and children  ages 4 and up. Ravenous Reptiles ends December 17

Nantucket Bird Walk with Ginger Andrews is offered Saturdays from 7:45am - 10: 00am ($15  per registrant). Join Ginger Andrews, Nantucket native, MMA Field Ornithologist, and Inquirer  and Mirror columnist, to look for amazing Nantucket birds. With fun facts, local natural history,  and humor, Andrews leads a fascinating tour. Bird Walks will explore various habitats around  town and beyond, depending on the availability of participants’ transportation. Indoor study,  using the collections in the Research Center, may also be used on cold or rainy days. Nantucket  Bird Walk will continue throughout the fall

Biological Collections Open Hours is offered at the Research Center on Saturdays from 11am - 1pm (Free to all). Join the MMA's Field Ornithologist, Ginger Andrews, to learn about the collections, why collections are so important to science, and examine different specimens

during each session. From specimens of birds and mammals to insects and plants, you never  know what will be on display! Biological Collections will continue throughout the fall

Beach Biology Field Trip is offered Thursdays from 10am – 11am and alternating Saturdays  from 1pm - 2pm ($15 per registrant). Join Aquarium staff to learn about the fascinating biology,  ecology, and geology that make Nantucket's beaches so unique. We will discover shells and  bones of over 15 species of marine animals and are likely to observe live mole crabs, sand fleas,  shore birds, beach insects, and seals! This program meets at the ‘Sconset Market Parking Lot, 4  Main Street, Siasconset. Participants must have their own transportation. At least one adult  must sign up with children. Beach Biology Field Trip will continue throughout the fall

Marine Ecology Field Trip is offered Thursdays and Fridays from 1pm – 3pm ($20 per  registrant). Help collect, identify, and release fish, crabs, shrimp, and other marine life! The  Harbor is filled with interesting animals that will amaze you in their shapes, colors, and habits.  This program is part of a long-term research project and is interesting for adults and children  alike. This program meets at the Washington Street Ext. parking lot. Participants must have  their own transportation. At least one adult must sign up with children. Marine Ecology Field  Trip will continue throughout the fall

Bug Bonanza is offered Thursdays and Saturdays from 1pm - 2pm, and Fridays and Sundays  from 11am - 12pm ($15 per registrant). Enjoy an afternoon collecting insects with the Natural  Science Museum staff! We will learn how to collect insects like a scientist, use microscopes, and  read dichotomous keys to identify each creature that we catch. This is a recurring program, but  the specific focus and materials provided will change each week. This program is appropriate  for children ages 4 and up. All children must be accompanied by an adult, and all participants  must register. Please check-in for this program at the front desk of the Natural Science Museum  at 7 Milk Street. Bug Bonanza ends November 3

Nature Story Hour is offered Thursdays and Saturdays from 11am - 12pm ($15 per registrant).  Enjoy this program specially designed for the young explorer in your family! During each  session, a MMA educator will read a nature or science related book, introduce you to one of  the MMA’s animal friends, and will finish with an activity related to the story! This is a recurring  program, but the specific focus and materials provided will change each week. This program is  appropriate for children ages 3 and up. All children must be accompanied by an adult and all  participants must register. Please check in for this program at the front desk of the MMA  Natural Science Museum at 7 Milk Street. Nature Story Hour ends December 17

Nighttime Marine Ecology Field Trip is offered on September 16 (Members only complimentary  event) and September 30 (Open to all) from 8pm - 9pm ($20 per registrant). Join our Aquarium  staff to learn about the fish, squid, crabs, and more that come out to feed at night in the  shallow water. This program meets at the MMA Aquarium at 28 Washington Street. Flashlight  or headlamps will be provided, but feel free to bring your own lighting! At least one adult must  sign up with children. Pre-registration is recommended.

Owl Prowl is offered on Thursdays from September 5 - September 28 with a start time 15  minutes before sunset and runs for 1.5-hours($30 per registrant). Join the MMA's Field  Ornithologist, Ginger Andrews, as we listen for calls of a variety of nocturnal animals and birds.  We will watch for owls as they begin their nightly activity. While an owl sighting is not  guaranteed, you will certainly be able to observe several fascinating nocturnal animal species.  This program is meant for adults, but children 8 and up are welcome to register with an adult  guardian. Pre-registration is recommended. Owl Prowl ends September 28

Big History Nights is offered on Thursdays from 8:15pm - 9:15pm ($15 per registrant,  complimentary to all members). Join Dr. Rich Blundell, visiting Scientist-in-Residence at the  MMA, for a weekly Big History Storytelling at Loines Observatory. "Big History," an academic  discipline that examines history from the Big Bang to the present, has been pursued since the  Renaissance. During this 60-minute visual lecture incorporating large-scale videos and the  Loines Observatory telescopes, Dr. Blundell will tell the fascinating story of the cosmos and our  place in it. Pre-registration is required. Big History ends September 28

Earth Story Walk & Talk is offered on Thursdays from 10am - 11:30pm ($15 per participant).  Join the MMA's visiting Scientist-in-Residence, Dr. Rich Blundell, on this 2.9 mile walk through  the history of planet Earth. Each stride will account for approximately one million years of  natural history. Along the way, we will stop to explore the major thresholds of geologic time  and draw on the local setting whenever possible to help tell the story. Come ambulate and  contemplate the established, scientific understandings, and reconsider how the events and  processes of deep time have led to our current global predicament. By considering the broader  scales of life on Earth, we will gain new insights to reinterpret science in more meaningful ways.  Pre-registration is required. Earth Story Walk ends on September 28

“Rockin’ Out” Nantucket is a two part exploration series of the geologic story and glacial  charisma of the Grey Lady with Dr. Rich Blundell. Part One is offered on September 15 and 22  from 7pm - 8:30pm, and Part Two is offered on September 16 and 23 from 10am – 11:30am  ($25 Adult, $20 Youth - both parts included) at the Maria Mitchell Association Research Center  at 2 Vestal Street. I proofed the piece below for Jonelle – is this it? Its too long for here 

Part One Rock Talk, is a presentation and popup rock quiz on the fascinating deep history of  New England with a closer look at the glacial dynamics that shaped the Grey Lady. Through this  informal conversational lecture, you’ll come to truly understand the deep nature of the beloved  pile of glacial detritus we call home. Come be surprised by where and when the spectacularly  diverse rocks on our trails and beaches come from and how they were made. You’re also  invited to bring a pebble or stone to class because the evening will culminate in a fun “popup  rock identification” session or you can try to “stump the chump” and win a prize. 

Part Two Rock Walk, will follow-up to put what we learned in class into action. On a field-trip to  a nearby beach, Dr. Blundell will teach you how to think like a geologist in order to decipher the  secrets that rocks hold. Next summer, you’ll be able to amaze (or confuse) your friends with  cool geologic science and indecipherable vocabulary. We’ll put our magma-minds toward

meditating on the subterranean stories of crystals that flow through fissures and tortuous  realms of fault-zone metamorphosis. Come walk, whack, lick, and look at the stones of a  bygone age. You’ll meet the Triassic basalts, metamorphosed granites, pegmatites, and  porphyritic gabbros you’ve been wistfully walking over for years and finally fulfill the forgotten  wishes of Devonian fishes. 

Four Centuries Domestic Tour is offered on September 9 from 10am - 12pm. ($10 per  participant). A unique and extremely popular collaborative walking tour with the MMA's  Deputy Director & Curator of the Mitchell House, the Nantucket Preservation Trust, and the  Nantucket Historical Association that looks at the changes in domestic life over four centuries  and how it shaped homes, buildings, neighborhoods, and land use. Participants should meet at  the Oldest House on Sunset Hill (tour will end on Main Street). The tour includes brief visits  inside each building visited. No registration required. 

Maria Mitchell and the Daring Daughters of Nantucket Island Walking Tour is offered on  September 8 from 2pm - 4pm($15 per participant) and September 22 from 2-4pm and  September 30 from 10-Noon. Join Jascin Leonardo Finger, curator of the Mitchell House, for a  walking tour concerning the lives of Maria Mitchell and Nantucket’s famous and infamous  women, as well as the lesser-known women of our island. Learn why whaling, Quakerism, and  the isolation of an island afforded these women opportunities that women elsewhere in  America at the time were not afforded. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. 

The Maria Mitchell Association is a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA  works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and  educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural  science museum, an aquarium, a research center, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria  Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the  year for people of all ages.