The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC) operates four nature centers in Montgomery County, in the suburbs of Washington, DC. The nature centers provide fun and enriching opportunities to nurture you and your child’s curiosity about our natural environment. The centers are located in regional parks in Bethesda, Rockville, Wheaton and Boyds.
You can register for a guided program or explore the centers on your own schedule. Reservations are required for the year-round programs and some have a small fee to cover material costs. The scheduled activities are designed to appeal to a wide range of ages, ranging from toddler storytimes to adult exploration hikes.
Story time programs introduce young children to subjects such as bird nests, bumble bees, turtles, frogs, butterflies or bats through a story, puppet show, or a child-friendly presentation.
Junior naturalist programs give 6-to-12 year-olds a hands-on experience to broaden their knowledge beyond the classroom. With a naturalist-guided hike, you may learn to identify common trees and plants or discover tracks, trails and other evidence of creatures that live in the forest.
Program information can be found here in the Montgomery County Guide. This guide is mailed to you if you have registered for previous programs or you may pick one up at any Montgomery County Parks facility. The new online registration system requires a PARKpass account.
The regional parks offer a wide variety of recreational facilities and each nature center has its own personality and features. A trip to each of them will give you a different experience.
Black Hill Visitor Center-Black Hill Regional Park, 20926 Lake Ridge Dr., Boyds, MD 20841 301-916-0220.
Brookside Nature Center-Wheaton Regional Park, 1400 Glenallen Ave., Wheaton, MD 20902 301-946-9071.
Locust Grove Nature Center- Cabin John Regional Park, 7777 Democracy Blvd, Bethesda, MD 20817 301-299-1990.
Meadowside Nature Center- Rock Creek Regional Park, 5100 Meadowside Lane, Rockville, MD 20855 301-924-4141.
See More Nature Centers in the Washington DC Area