• Atlantic Ocean beach at Cape Cod National Seashore

    Cape Cod

    National Seashore Massachusetts

Guidelines for Groups Visiting Salt Pond Visitor Center

Visiting Salt Pond Visitor Center With Your Group

The Salt Pond Visitor Center in Eastham is open year-round and welcomes chaperoned student groups. Multiple engaging opportunities await students of all ages here at Salt Pond, all free of charge.

At certain times of year, notably in the spring, school field trip visitation can be very high. During these times, we ask that you work with our staff in advance to plan your visit to Salt Pond. Please call the visitor center at 508-255-3421 and have the following information ready:

  • name of school or institution
  • grade
  • number of students
  • arrival time at Salt Pond Visitor Center
  • details on whether you’ll be viewing film(s), visiting the museum, would like a ranger welcome, etc.

During your visit, we ask that our school groups remember that other visitors will also likely be enjoying all that Salt Pond has to offer. As such, effective group management is essential to ensuring that all of our visitors get the most out of their experience here. Before entering the building, please divide your group into smaller, manageable, chaperoned groups of no more than 10-20 students. Students should be provided focus and direction throughout their time in the building. See below for tools to help you plan and organize your visit to the center.

Park Films:

Covering topics from history to natural science, Cape Cod National Seashore’s five park films are both enlightening and entertaining, and are appropriate for all age levels.

  • Auditorium capacity is 153 people.
  • From November – March, films are shown as requested throughout the day.
  • From April – October, films play on a set schedule. If you’d like your group to see a particular film, be sure to plan your visit around a scheduled showing.
  • Click here for film descriptions and schedule.

Museum:

Explore the Cape’s seafaring heritage, learn about the area’s harvest history, and step into life as it used to be on Cape Cod.

  • See below for information about scavenger hunts available for groups visiting the museum.
  • Groups are limited to 25 chaperoned students at a time.
  • A reminder that appropriate museum behavior includes not only respect for the artifacts being viewed, but also towards other visitors quietly enjoying the museum.

Bookstore:

The Eastern National bookstore offers a unique opportunity for students (and teachers!) to enrich their experience at Cape Cod National Seashore.

  • Due to space limitations, we ask that no more than 10 chaperoned students at a time browse through the store.

Scavenger Hunt/Quizzes:

Indoor (museum) and outdoor (visitor center grounds and nearby trails) quizzes are available for teachers to incorporate into their group’s materials.

  • Click to download individual quizzes and answer sheets:

Museum Scavenger Hunt #1 Questions and Answer Sheet (29 questions)

Museum Scavenger Hunt #2 Questions and Answer Sheet (20 questions)

Museum Scavenger Hunt #3 Questions and Answer Sheet (20 questions)

Outdoor Scavenger Hunt #1 and Answer Sheet (15 questions)

Outdoor Scavenger Hunt #2 and Answer Sheet (15 questions)

Remember to bring your own photocopies, pencils, clipboards, and other supplies.

Ranger Welcome:

  • When possible, we would be happy to give a 5-minute introduction to your group. While we cannot guarantee that this will be possible on the day of your visit, please let us know if you’d like us to welcome your group.
  • Opportunity for private ranger-led programs is very limited; contact the visitor center for more information.
  • In most cases (depending on group size), participation in programs offered to the general public is not advisable.

Around Salt Pond Visitor Center:

The Salt Pond Visitor Center is the gateway to Cape Cod National Seashore, and adventure awaits just outside our doors.

  • The back terrace offers stunning views of Salt Pond, Nauset Marsh, and the Outer Beach.
  • Our grounds are home to the historic Hay Barge, a last-of-its-kind 19th century boat with a colorful past.
  • The ¼ mile Buttonbush Trail, with interpretive signage and guide ropes for the blind, provides opportunities for sensory exploration activities.
  • The Buttonbush Trail, the 1 mile Nauset Marsh Trail and the 1.6 mile Nauset Bike Trail all start from the visitor center grounds.

Suggestions:

  • Rotate your subgroups through the museum, park film, and Buttonbush Trail/grounds.
  • The Guide’s Guide contains detailed information on sites across the park, including maps, fact sheets, and background information and can be purchased by calling the National Tour Association at 800-682-8886, ext. 4211.

Other Details:

  • Bus parking is in the designated parking area at the far end of the visitor center lot. Remind your driver that idling engines pollute the air and are illegal in Massachusetts.
  • The restroom facilities below the main visitor center are open year-round.
  • Food and drink are not allowed inside the visitor center.
  • There are no picnic tables on the visitor center grounds, but groups may use the amphitheater benches to eat lunch. Trash bins are located beside the comfort station.
  • The park does not have any covered picnic shelters, but tables are provided at the Doane Rock Picnic Area, approximately 1 mile east of the visitor center. Please note that there are no trash bins at this location in the off-season and that you’ll need to remove your garbage.

Did You Know?

Old Harbor Life-Saving Station, Provincetown, MA

The Old Harbor Life-Saving Station in Provincetown, MA is one of the few surviving, unaltered life-saving stations left in the country. The station was built in 1898 and is open in the summer months with a display of rescue equipment, and NPS staff re-enact the historic Breeches Buoy rescue drill.