Nature centers give enriching and fun chances to nurture one’s curiosity regarding the natural environment. Washington DC is home to many parks with nature programs, which give you a proximate view of wild animals and birds with interactive exhibits, special events and interpretive programs. Several facilities are situated in Virginia’s and Maryland’s suburbs, but you will find a nature center amid the city in Rock Creek Park.
Specialty events are provided for scout groups, school groups, adults, and homeschool students. Participants enjoy programs like campfires, nature hikes, animal shows, storytimes, crafts, puppet shows and more. The parks surrounding the capital area provide various recreational facilities, plus every single nature center here has its features and personality. A visit to some of these will also provide you with a unique experience during your DC bus tours.
Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium
This place in DC is open throughout the year from Wednesday to Sunday between 09:00 am and 05:00 pm. It stays closed on every Monday and Tuesday, plus New Year’s Day, Fourth of July/Independence Day, Thanksgiving and December 25th. The Rock Creek nature center provides exhibitions, lectures, live wildlife demonstrations, guided walks, plus an interactive exhibition for kids aged between 2 and 5 years. The planetarium provides 45 to 60 minutes’ long programs where participants can explore the planets and stars.
Brookside Nature Center
This cozy building in Maryland is a former house turned into a nature center back in the year 1960. It is a complement to Maryland’s Brookside Gardens, plus it gives an interactive discovery space for kids. Some of the displays here are live reptiles, fish, mammals, amphibians, an observational beehive and insects. Self-guided trails will take people along interpretive walkways and wildlife viewing spots, plus bird, native plant and butterfly gardens.
Locust Grove Nature Center
This property was a warming center for a toboggan business. It is now a perfect place to watch small creatures and birds. Exhibitions include a kid-friendly show named ‘Life of an Oak Tree’, plus interactive activities including watching live animals. You can look at wetlands, streambanks and fields all in a walk of this center. Nearby, at the Cabin John Regional Park, there are playgrounds, picnic areas, a snack bar, miniature train, outdoor/indoor tennis courts, lighted fields for athletes, and skating rink.
Croydon Creek Nature Center
The Rockville city operates this nature center, nestled on close to 50 hectares of a winding creek, forest preserve, and open meadows. The facility in Maryland operates various programs to educate adults, kids and families on environmental matters.
Meridian Hill Park
The natives of DC also call this the Malcolm X Park, the grounds of which are historical and a picturesque sight to behold. It was the location of several 1960’s protests for civil rights. There is an artificial waterfall here, which flows to the bottom of a hill, and a nearby steep staircase running from the upper flat land to the lower level of this park.
It is similar to an ‘infinity’ type swimming pool. The park is also known for hosting ‘drum circle’ on Sunday afternoons, a summer tradition that has been a mainstay of it since the 1960’s. This event with drummers and dancers is popular among the natives and to some extent, among the tourists too. It is more of a cultural event, one that maybe even more popular than the park itself.
Theodore Roosevelt Island
You can only access this island in the nation’s capital by car via Virginia. The stunning nature preserve is amid the river Potomac, with Arlington on one side and Washington DC on the other bank. It is an oasis situated between the two urban places in the United States of America. With this being home to the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial, and three-mile-long hiking trails, you will pass through ecosystems, like forests, swamplands and uplands.
Gravelly Point Park
If you do not know what the main attraction of Gravelly Point is, then you have got some plane-watching to do. From here, you can watch flights taking off from and landing in the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
You can also see the sights from the park. In fact, the proximity of it to the Arlington Airport makes it just the ideal place for aircraft and aviation enthusiasts. You can also visit Gravelly Point for a picnic with your family. The fresh, crisp air coupled with azure skies make a perfect atmosphere to have a day out with loved ones.
That said, if you are looking for some solitude and quietness, then you would have to not go to this place because planes fly out or fly in pretty much all the time. If you are a nature lover, then why complain – just go and have fun.