52 Weeks of Fun

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Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium


After 99 years as a New York State trout hatchery, the hatchery opened as a non-profit educational center dedicated to educating its visitors about the freshwater ecosystems of New York. It has the largest living collection of New York State freshwater reptiles, fish, and amphibians. Visitors can tour its two aquarium buildings and eight outdoor ponds, feed the hungry trout, and try its “Catch & Keep” fishing opportunities. Special events, such as Animal Passport Program and Hatching Turtle Day offer the public an opportunity to learn more about the creatures that inhabit New York State’s natural environment.

Walter L. Ross II Aquarium Building houses over 30 different species of freshwater fish native to New York State. The fish range from the primitive bowfin to the native Long Island brook trout. In the Turtle Alcove you will find the hatchling turtles.the Robert Koenig Memorial Pond houses brown trout and water lilies.

Trout eggs are protected from hungry predators and sunlight in the Hatch House. The eggs, taken in early November, hatch in late December. The fish remain here for about four months or until they are moved into the rearing pools. The rearing pools are intermediate pools between the troughs in the Hatch House and the large outdoor Trout Ponds. They provide the needed space for young trout to grow. The fish in these pools will move to the larger ponds within the year. The water that feeds these ponds is 52 degrees year-round. Visitors will notice the nets over the ponds that help keep hungry predators such as herons and ospreys from eating the trout.

The water in the Warm Water Pond comes from St. John’s Pond, located directly south of the Hatchery. This pond may freeze in winter, but can reach temperatures as warm as 80 degrees in the summer. Unlike trout, the fish in this pond can tolerate higher water temperatures. The inhabitants are varied, including largemouth and smallmouth bass, bowfin, longnose gar, channel catfish, common carp, grass carp, bluegills, pumpkin seeds, white and yellow perch, American eels, walleye, white bass, lake sturgeon, redhorse suckers, and northern pike.Turtle Pond has the same water source as the Warm Water Pond. On sunny days many of the turtles will bask on the cedar logs. The various species include Blandings, painted, wood, eastern spiny soft-shell, snapping, red belly, and common map turtles.

Freshwater flows from the outdoor ponds and artesian wells into the Tidal Raceway, which then empties into Long Island Sound. The “Catch & Keep” trout fishing takes place in the Tidal Raceway. From the deck of the Tidal Creek Observation Platform, visitors can observe the tidal creek and the St. John’s Pond spillway and dam, where there was once an ice house. There are still many birds and animals which visit, make homes, and sometimes reproduce in the tidal estuary. Anadromous fish, such as alewives and white perch, move into this creek seasonally.

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A 52 Weeks of Fun Fascinating Fact about Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium

The public can visit two aquarium buildings and eight outdoor ponds, feed hungry trout, and go fishing for a fresh, healthy dinner with Hatchery's “Catch & Keep” program.

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  • Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium
  • Cold Spring Harbor
  • (516) 692-6768