To participate in Nature Swap bring in natural items, stories, and artwork to collect points for swapping with items in our collection. Our mission at the Nature Swap is to encourage families to experience nature in meaningful ways. We do this in hopes of inspiring our community to appreciate, understand, and value wildlife and wild places.

Trading Guidelines

  • Children must be at least three years old to become a Nature Swapper.
  • A maximum of 2 items may be swapped in or out per visit.
  • We cannot trade any items that are controlled by the Endangered Species Act, CITES, or any other state, federal, or international agreements (i.e. avian eggs, feathers, nests, items from turtles, etc.)
  • We cannot trade items collected on Zoo grounds.
  • Never collect in areas where natural materials are protected and rules clearly state that collecting is not allowed. National, state, private parks/beaches, nature preserves like Audubon Society and the Nature Conservancy, or other management areas. You may visit their websites for rules and regulations or speak with officials/staff at their locations.  Don’t be afraid to ask if you are not sure, we encourage you to build relationships with rangers and naturalists.
  • No items that involve taxidermy, including skins, furs, or mounted specimens may be traded.
  • When collecting, choose your items carefully and respectfully.  Leave lots of other natural items for other people to find.
  • Collected items will be accepted for trade, based upon legal, ethical, and sanitary conditions.

Examples of Things You Can Trade

  • Photographs and drawings
  • Sculptures
  • Homemade books/stories
  • Castings and rubbings
  • Rocks, fossils, sand, and dirt
  • Seed pods and leaves
  • Pressed plants, wood, and bark
  • Dead insects spiders (must be found dead, not killed)
  • Empty Homes – shells, cocoons, wasp nests
  • Cast-Offs – hair, teeth, antlers, snake skins,
  • Bones – bones must be clean!
  • Exoskeletons - crustaceans or insects

Examples of Things You Cannot Trade

  • Native American Artifacts (i.e. arrowheads)
  • Bird materials of any kind: examples include feathers, eggs or nests
  • Turtle materials of any kind: examples include shells, eggs and bones.
  • Living plants and animals
  • Any taxidermy items (i.e.  mounted trophies, furs, pelts, and skins)
  • Things protected under state/federal laws (i.e. coral, horseshoe crabs, or petrified wood)
  • Road kill or similarly “gross” items (no dead animals – insects are OK)
  • Materials from the family pet (domestic snake shed, etc.)
  • Dinner Bones
  • Items found at locations where collecting is not allowed (i.e. Audubon Society, certain State Parks/Beaches, Nature Conservancy areas)
  • Items found on the grounds of Roger Williams Park Zoo