Richard C. Wheeler Bay Learning Center

Discover your Bay at the Buzzards Bay Coalition’s Richard C. Wheeler Bay Learning Center, a free environmental exploration center located in downtown New Bedford’s Historic District. The Bay Learning Center is your destination to learn about our local waters and how you can protect and enjoy them.


a girl holding up a whelk in amazement

Kids love discovering life in Buzzards Bay at the Bay Learning Center’s free, hands-on AHA! Night programs and Bay Adventures.

The centerpiece of the Bay Learning Center is a large, colorful 3-D map of Buzzards Bay. The map gives visitors a bird’s-eye view of the Bay and southeastern Massachusetts. Reach out and touch the map’s surface to feel the contours of the land and the reefs and ledges underwater. Find your community and learn how we are all connected by water.

Protecting clean water is what the Coalition is all about. At the Bay Learning Center, you can learn about Buzzards Bay’s biggest pollution problems and what you can do to solve them. Staff and volunteers at the welcome desk are happy to answer your questions and share stories about the Bay.

Just outside the Learning Center’s doors is Habitat, an artistic celebration of clean water. Seven steel sculptures along the walkway depict eelgrass, an underwater plant that is essential to life above and below the Bay.

What’s Nearby

The Bay Learning Center is located inside the Buzzards Bay Center. This award-winning model of green design and historic renovation is the Coalition’s headquarters. The center is also part of the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park.


Property Owned By

The Buzzards Bay Coalition is a membership-supported nonprofit organization dedicated to the restoration, protection, and sustainable use and enjoyment of our irreplaceable Bay and its watershed.

Hours: Weekdays 9am-5pm
Parking: Limited visitor parking; Metered street parking and Elm Street parking garage available nearby
Cost: Free
Facilities: Learning Center
ADA Accessible: Yes

Please follow all posted rules and regulations at this property.

Address & Contact Information
114 Front St.
New Bedford, MA 02740
41.635697, -70.922149

Please follow all posted rules and regulations at this property.

Richard C. Wheeler Bay Learning Center
New Bedford, MA
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Upcoming Events Near Here

Sow & Pigs Release Party
Sat, May 25
4:00PM - 7:00PM
Buzzards Bay Brewing ,
Buzzards Bay Swim – Registration Now Open!
Sat, June 22
6:30AM - 10:30AM
Fort Phoenix State Reservation,
Falmouth Road Race
Sun, August 18
Woods Hole to Falmouth Heights,

Nearby Places To Go

Fort Taber Park

With a sandy beach, bike path, and fishing pier, Fort Taber Park offers sweeping Buzzards Bay views steeped in history.

Buttonwood Park

Known as the “crown jewel” of New Bedford, Buttonwood Park is an oasis of nature and recreation in the city.

Flora B. Peirce Nature Trail

A natural oasis hidden in the North End of New Bedford, Flora B. Peirce Nature Trail takes visitors on a tour of forest life.

Current Issues

Nitrogen Pollution

Nitrogen pollution is the greatest long-term threat to the health of Buzzards Bay. We all contribute nitrogen pollution to our local waterways. Fortunately, we can all do our part to stop it.

Read More ›

Working to Save Buzzards Bay

The Buzzards Bay Coalition is a membership-supported organization dedicated to improving the health of the Buzzards Bay ecosystem for all through education, conservation, research, and advocacy.

We work to protect clean water on the Bay and on the land: