10 Nature Centers In Maryland That Will Spark Your Child’s Love Of Nature!
Inside: These nature centers in Maryland will totally spark your kid’s love of nature and inspire your whole family to get outside and appreciate the outdoors!
One excellent way to instill a love of nature in your kids is to actually, you know, spend time outside in nature! Nature centers offer the perfect way to combine more traditional nature activities like hiking and exploring with kid friendly learning activities that will capture their imagination and are just loads of fun too!
There are so many nature centers in Maryland. We have picked out 10 that are completely worth your time. Pick one and go exploring this Spring!
1. Robinson Nature Center
I cannot rave enough about the Robinson Nature Center. Everyone has their favorite, and this one is ours. The facility is beautiful and the programs, especially for young kids, is exceptional. The Discovery Room is large and full of games, puzzles, nature themed toys, nature elements, and a few animals! There are regular short programs in the Nature Sphere and outside there are not only a few short trails for little legs, but a very fun nature playground.
The touch tank is regularly open for guided exploration.
2. Brookside Nature Center
We had visited Brookside Gardens numerous times, but we never stopped at this cool nature center until last Spring! It is really such a nice facility. There is a nice little pond out front, a cabin out back, and in the nature center itself there are tons of opportunities for kids to explore nature, including a scavenger hunt, turtles, a bee hive, and more!
One of the added benefits of the Brookside Nature Center is that you can walk a short path from there to Brookside Gardens, which is a fantastic nature playground it its own right! Oh, and even better? Wheaton Regional Park is co-located here as well!
3. Oregon Ridge Nature Center
Oregon Ridge Nature Center in Baltimore County is a lovely nature center in a gorgeous setting. Inside the nature center there are tons of nooks and crannies to explore like turtles, snakes, and other small animals. There is a pretty cool bear taxidermy that your kids will love, and fun nature-themed activities.
Outside there is a lot to explore too! There are numerous trails that are the perfect length for little legs. And there is an awesome nature playground with all kinds of features to promote both imaginative play and safe risks. Your kids will go nuts here!
4. Clearwater Nature Center
Located at the Cosca Regional Park in Prince George’s County. The nature center features a small indoor pond, live animal exhibits, a lapidary workshop, and seasonal gardens. The nature center also features live animal shows featuring reptiles, amphibians, and birds of prey.
5. Irvine Nature Center
The Irvine Nature Center in Owings Mills, MD is super super awesome. The inside of this nature center is absolutely gorgeous and packed full of fun nature exploration activities for kids. There are live animals, a super spooky nighttime nature experience, and an exploration area for young kids too.
Outside the Irvine Nature Center boasts 210 acres full of nature trails with plenty of areas for kids to explore. You can walk down to the aviary to say hi to the owls. Then head straight to the nature playground where your kids could spend hours in the mud kitchen, climbing structures, and nature musical instruments.
We love the Irvine Nature Center and you will too! Click here to find out more!
6. Catoctin Creek Nature Center
This lovely nature center is located in Frederick County and is a stunning facility. One of their signature features is an expansive indoor turtle pond exhibit. On the second Saturday of each month, the nature center opens a sensory trail which includes twelve interactive touch, smell and listening stations, as well as eight tree bark sensory stations.
7. Watkins Nature Center
You will most likely visit Watkins Regional Park in Prince George’s County because of the fantastic Wizard of Oz Playground. But don’t just play with Dorothy and the Scarecrow! A short 1/4 mile walk down a shaded path brings you to a pretty awesome nature center too!
Inside there are tons of animals exhibits, including some truly gross ones (like cockroaches!). Your kids will love it! There are also some great nature themed activities and play areas, including an aviary outside with birds of prey.
Click here for my review of the Watkins Regional Park, including information about this nature center.
8. Meadowside Nature Center
Meadowside Nature Center in Rockville, MD is a great stop inside Rock Creek Regional Park. There are tons of trails, kid friendly activities, and a raptor walkway, dedicated to the conservation of these great birds of prey. The biggest hit though is the kid-sized cave!
9. Locust Grove Nature Center
This great nature center is located inside Cabin John Regional Park in Bethesda, MD. This nature center is equipped with a nature playground, trails, and tons of indoor and outdoor exhibits like turtles, bird watching, and buried dinosaur fossil activities.
10. Croydon Creek Nature Center
The nature center outside of Rockville, MD is the perfect place to spend a few hours with your kids. There is a lovely nature kitchen and sound garden outside. Inside your kids will love the live animals, fun nature activities (perfect for smaller kids), and public art installations (the wall is pretty awesome).
Want more fun kid friendly maryland ideas? Check these out!
- Patapsco State Park is awesome for kids of all ages!
- 7 Maryland Hikes Perfect for little legs
- Why the Annmarie Sculpture Garden is one of the most magical places in the U.S.
- Going shark tooth hunting at a beach that doesn’t include a long hike