Columbia, MD 21044
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Hours:Wed.- Sat., 9 AM-5 PM Sun., Noon-5 PM The Center is closed Mondays & Tuesdays. Also closed Jan 1, Mar 27, Nov 24 & 25, and Dec 25, 2016.
Daily Admission to Trails/Building*:
Children (3-17 yrs) $3
Under 3 FREE
* Wednesdays are complimentary for families and individuals. Group visits are subject to admission fees and must be booked in advance.
Annual Pass Information:
Family, Individual, Senior and "Friends"-level annual passes are available. For more information, see Memberships.
Do you have questions or comments about our new website? Contact us!
We are a unique nature education facility situated on 18 acres of land adjacent to the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area. Geothermal heating/air-conditioning, porous paving, solar panels, innovative water conservation methods and a host of other features make this building environmentally-friendly and have earned it the LEED Certified Platinum designation. Each year, the Center runs over 420 programs including field trips, public programs, birthday parties, home school and scout programs. This Center was made a reality through the foresight and generosity of James and Anne Robinson. The Center continues to be partially supported by the James & Anne Robinson Foundation and is owned and operated by the Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks. Download our Facility Guide and/or plan your visit below!
Inclement Weather Line: 410-313-4452 (choose option 6). Call to find out about closings/cancellations related to weather.
Robinson Nature Center
Our indoor permanent exhibits provide locally-relevant information and
This month's art exhibit features "paintings" done by our residents reptiles. Turtles and snakes at Robinson had the chance to crawl and slither across the canvass leaving behind their special marks. Take home a unique animal creation for yourself or as a gift and support our animal care program at Robinson Nature Center. Or consider an Animal Sponsorship for a very special gift.
On extended loan
Foon Sham, a sculpture professor at the University of Maryland College Park, sculpted the "Chapel Oak" to memorialize a large White oak tree that had been a landmark on the university’s campus. The sculpture is comprised of more than 1,500 individual pieces of wood and weighs approximately 5,000 pounds. The piece is on display on the front lawn of the Nature Center as part of Howard County Art Council's "ARTsites" program that seeks to make art more accessible by placing it in public spaces throughout the community.
Aug 2014 - September 2015; Exhibit loan extended through 2016!
This piece is on loan from the Walters Art Museum through their "Off the Wall" program - an open-air exhibition that brings reproduced classic paintings to main streets and outdoor spaces. You can find the piece as you walk along the entrance drive circle from the parking lot to the Nature Center building.
Local artists are welcome and encouraged to apply to display their art work in the Robinson gallery space. Please download the Artist Exhibit Guidelines and Application for more information.
Organizations that loan exhibits temporarily and are seeking to engage new audiences are encouraged to contact us at 410-313-0400.
Many of our programs include live animal presentations. When the animals are not out and about, you can visit them in the Discovery Room where our animal wall provides you a view of their tanks.
Come meet the animals in our touch tank! The touch tank is open:
Saturdays, 10:30AM-11:30AM and 2-3 PM
Sunday, 1-3 PM
The NatureSphere is a digital planetarium and full-dome movie theater located on the mezzanine level of the Nature Center. The NatureSphere seats up to 50 people. Public programs are scheduled throughout the year (see our Public Programs tab for a schedule), and private parties can be booked in the space (see our Parties & Rentals tab for details).
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally-recognized, consensus-based green building certification system. Buildings are evaluated and awarded LEED certification at one of four levels: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The higher the level, the more aspects of green design and construction must be addressed and documented. Very few buildings reach the Platinum level. Robinson Nature Center was certified as LEED Platinum in February 2012.
Click on the links below to read more about the LEED features in Robinson's Green Construction for Green Education brochure.
The Robinson Nature Center gift shop is open Weds - Sat; 9 AM - 5 PM and Sun; Noon - 5 PM or during special programs and events. Access to the gift shop does not require admission.
We carry a variety of sustainable goods including local honey, science kits, field guides, books, children's toys, puppets, astronomy items and much more.
Here's a sample of what you can find:
Robinson Nature Center has approximately 1 mile of trails. Portions of the trail are paved, while the majority of the trails traverse rugged, wooded terrain.
Click on the links below to download or browse Robinson's Walking Trails brochure and a map of the trails.
Our trails are accessible to pedestrian traffic when the building is closed. However, if you are driving to the Center, please note that the parking lot gates are only open during the building's hours of operation. For safety reasons, the trail may be closed if there is maintenance scheduled or if there are high winds.
Along our trails, you will encounter a stream crossing and views of the Middle Patuxent River. Currently, the section of the trail with access to the ruins of the Simpsonville Mill is closed due to construction. The trails are non-surfaced and take approximately 20-30 minutes to hike. Along the trails, you can enjoy a variety of trees marked by arboretum signage generously donated by the Howard County Forestry Board.
Please pay admission or purchase an annual pass if you plan to use our trail so that we may continue to maintain the trail.
Please stay on our trail, marked with the yellow trail hiker symbol. Do not make your own trail.
Bikes are not allowed on our trails as the trails are narrow and we do not want our walking patrons to be disturbed.
Keep the Nature Center Wild! We request that you refrain from bringing a dog to the Nature Center or the Nature Center trail. Many visitors come to the Nature Center to see birds and other wildlife that dogs scare away. Additionally, the Nature Center serves a large number of children who may be scared of dogs. We want children to feel safe and to have the chance to enjoy the wildlife. Please note that the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks maintains numerous trails on which leashed dogs are welcome.
Have you ever spent time in our Children's Discovery Room and wished your child could take that same opportunity for inquisitive play outdoors? Your wish is now a reality with the Nature Place at Robinson!
Developed in consultation with a design team from the nationally-recognized Nature Explore group, this space provides opportunities for children to explore nature with their imagination, creativity and energy. See a video of the ribbon-cutting here.
We hope you enjoy the new space. You can also be a part of making this space for connecting children with nature at Robinson even better. Check out the opportunities below.
Small, large and in-kind donations are welcome. Click here to see all of the exciting play elements that you can contribute towards.
Would you like to be one of our Play Naturalists facilitating activity and orienting families to the space? Contact us (410-313-0400) and let us know of your interest.
By becoming a Friend of the Robinson Nature Center, or by purchasing an annual pass, you can support the upkeep of the Nature Place in addition to other membership benefits!
Currently, the Nature Center has two improvement projects underway.
Skylight for Front Entryway - Glass panels will be added to the skylight above the Center's front entry to provide patrons entering and exiting the building with protection from bad weather. Projected completion in spring of 2016.
Robinson Conservation Office – The new Robinson Conservation Office was completed in Spring 2016. The office houses staff involved in conservation stewardship efforts along the Robinson trails as well as additional equipment needed to maintain trails.
Please use the following links for more information about field trips or to request a field trip:
Scholarships for Howard County Title 1 Schools the Friends of the Robinson Nature Center provide sponsorships for field trips to the Robinson Nature Center for Howard County’s Title 1 Schoolwide and Title 1 TAS schools. This request form must be completed for Howard County Title 1 Schools seeking funding for their field trip. (Please read eligibility criteria before submitting.)
Helpful hints for your field trip planning:
4-5 yrs / $30 per child per season (3 classes)*
Give your young homeschooler a chance to learn skills and gain exposure to nature and science topics at an age-appropriate pace. We offer three seasons of classes (fall, winter, and spring) focusing on different themes (listed below). Sign up to attend classes on the first Thursday of the month or to attend on the first Friday of the month. Classes are held between 2:30 and 4 PM. Parents may attend class with their children. Siblings younger than 4 years old are welcome, but must be accompanied by a parent at all times. *Registration opens June 1 for Howard County residents and June 8 for non-residents. Click here for online registration.
Fall Topics: Habitats, Seasons, First Impressions
Winter Topics: Nature at Night, Dinosaurs, Animal Signs
Spring Topics: Snakes & Turtles, Butterflies, Birds
6-13 yrs / $30 per child per season (3 classes)*
Give your home-schooled student hands-on, immersive experiences in nature and science topics. We offer three seasons of classes (fall, winter, and spring) focusing on different themes (listed below). Students are divided by age (6-9 yrs & 9-13 yrs). Children ages 6 to 9 can sign up to attend classes on the first Thursday of the month or to attend on the first Friday of the month. Classes for children ages 9 to 13 are offered on the first Thursday of the month. Parents may attend class with their children. Siblings younger than 4 years old are welcome, but must be accompanied by a parent at all times. *Registration opens June 1 for Howard County residents and June 8 for non-residents. Click here for online registration.
Fall Topics: River Ecology, Meadow Ecology, Forest Ecology
Winter Topics: Stars & Constellations, Fossils & Dinosaurs, Tracking Animals
Spring Topics: Herpetology (Reptiles & Amphibians), Entomology (Insects), Ornithology (Birds)
Join us for monthly opportunities to connect with other home-school families in an informal learning environment. Children socialize and collaborate with one another on parent-assisted educational projects and imaginative play opportunities. By joining, gain special access to a private, collaborative classroom space reserved specifically for home school families,special equipment, a tailored student project and social play opportunities on the 2nd Thursday of each month (September-May). Register for one, two or all three seasons of workshops. To ease crowding, please choose from one of two time slots (1 to 2:30 PM or 3 to 4:30 PM) when you register. Each adult and child that plans on attending must register individually for the workshop. Price is per person/per season. *Registration opens June 1 for Howard County residents and June 8 for non-residents. Click here for online registration.
To attend the home school program, each child 4 years and older must register and bring in a Participant Information Form. Siblings under the age of 4 are welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
All participants must agree to abide by the Code of Conduct during the program and at all times in the facility and on the grounds of the Robinson Nature Center. Repeated infractions of the Code of Conduct, or severe infractions that jeopardize the safety of other participants and patrons, may result in dismissal from the program.
Click here to download the Participant Information Form and the attached Code of Conduct.
Robinson Nature Center periodically offers environmental education and natural history training programs throughout the year to teachers, educators and interested members of the general public. Some workshops offered may count towards professional development for schools certifying or re-certifying as Maryland Green Schools.
Workshops offered in the winter season may include:
Growing Up WILD
Project Learning Tree
Registration for workshops offered will open in December 2016.
Private and custom trainings can be scheduled for groups of 10 or more. For more information, or to schedule a custom training, contact Kelly Vogelpohl at 410-313-0408 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maryland Master Naturalist Certification Training
Certified Maryland Master Naturalists engage citizens as stewards of Maryland's natural ecosystem and resources. Individuals apply, and if accepted into the training course, receive over 60 hours of instruction from experts in diverse fields. Class topic range from insects, mammals and stream ecology to interpretation, astronomy and geology and include hands-on experience outdoors. In order to receive certification, participants in the program must give 40 hours of volunteer service to host sites and pay the certification fee to UMD Extension.
Robinson Nature Center typically hosts a class of Maryland Master Naturalists every other year. Please note our 2016 class is currently in session and no longer accepting applications. To find out about other locations offering the program, go to www.extension.umd.edu/masternaturalist and click on "Train in the Piedmont Region."
Browse our Scout Program brochure below for information on our current offerings.
Scout programs at Robinson Nature Center include admission to the nature center and a naturalist-led program of your choice that allows your scout troop to complete requirements necessary for selected badges or achievements. At the end of each program, scouts receive a certificate of program completion. Please note that scout leaders are responsible for securing badges once their troop completes all requirements.
Click on the links below to read more about program options in Robinson's Scout Programming brochure.
Planetarium Programs - These programs are designed to help fulfill requirements for the Senior “Sky” badge, Cadette “Night Owl” badge, Tiger “Sky is the Limit” elective and Boy Scout “Astronomy” merit badge. Each program can be tailored to meet the needs of your group.
LEED Tour - Learn how engineers build “green!” LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a green building certification system that promotes sustainable development and environmental health. LEED tours can be tailored to any level of scout.
Scout Volunteer Work Days - Get to know other scouts in your community while working together to help the environment! Potential projects include forest and stream clean up, tree plantings, invasive plant removal, trail maintenance and garden work. All groups must sign up in advance and maintain a ratio of 1 leader per 12 scouts. Scout work days are free to attend and open to scouts of all ages. Tools, gloves and snacks will be provided. If you are interested in participating in our next Scout Work Day, please contact the Nature Center’s Volunteer Coordinator at 410-313-0406.
If you are interested in a scout program, call our front desk for information at 410-313-0400. You can also submit an online request for a program by clicking here. Please note that programs are run during the operating hours of the Nature Center (Weds-Sat from 9AM to 5PM and Sunday from Noon to 5 PM). The latest start time for a scout program is between 2 and 3 PM (depending on the length of the program.)
We recommend pre-registering for programs as some fill up before the day of the program. Additionally, some programs may be cancelled if a sufficient number of participants do not register in advance of the program. If you plan on walking-in, we recommend calling to make sure there are still spots available for the program.
**If you are deaf, hearing impaired or have speech disabilities and require the services of an interpreter for any of the programs below, please contact us at 410-313-0400 at least 2 weeks in advance so that we may accommodate your needs.
NEW! Sunday Afternoon Full-Dome Movie 1-1:30 PM. Ages 7+. $3 per person with daily admission or Robinson annual pass. On the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month, we show the short, family-friendly full-dome film Life of Trees. Due to dark conditions, we cannot seat late arrivals once the show has begun. Please arrive early to be seated.To see a preview of the film, please click here.
*SOLD OUT* Magical Monarch Tea Party 2-4 PM. Ages 3+ with parent. $25, child; $20, adult. Enjoy a butterfly program in which you learn about the beautiful monarchs that migrate through our area in the fall. Enjoy photo ops as your little one dons his/her own pair of wings and journeys through the nature center and then creates his/her very own decorative butterfly puddling stone to take home. After your adventure, savor an impeccably catered sit-down tea service by Sweet Simplici-Tea tea room. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult. As this is a catered event, you must register no later than September 18 to attend.
First Saturday Discovery Days - 11:30 AM to Noon. Ages 3-10 years with an adult. On the first Saturday of the month, join us as we introduce a new, nature theme through games, stories and crafts. September's theme is Insects. You can continue to explore the theme throughout the rest of the month in the Discovery Room's Field Station and with docent-led activities. This program is available on a first-come, first-served basis to the first 15 children and their adult chaperon. No registration necessary. Program is free with daily admission or annual pass.
Animals, Animals, Animals - 1-1:45 PM and 2-2:45 PM. Ages 3-10 years with an adult. Bring your family to Robinson Nature Center to explore our wild planet, creatures of the night and more in an engaging, play-to-learn platform with staff from the Port Discovery Children's Museum. Programs last about 45 minutes and are offered twice on each date. No registration necessary. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Program is free with daily admission or annual pass.
Family NatureSphere Night- 6:30-7:30 PM. Ages 7 years and up with an adult. $6 per person. This program features the full-dome movie "Back to the Moon for Good" preceded by a fun, family-friendly planetarium presentation about current happenings in our night sky. Due to dark conditions, we cannot seat late arrivals once the show has begun. Please arrive early to be seated. To see a preview of the film, please click here.
NEW! Friday Late Nights in the NatureSphere- 8 to 9 PM. Ages 18 years and up. $6 per person. This program is for adults and features the full-dome movie "Passport" preceded by a planetarium presentation about current happenings in our night sky and space science. Due to dark conditions, we cannot seat late arrivals once the show has begun. Please arrive early to be seated. To see a preview of the film, please click here.
NEW! NatureSphere at Noon Noon-12:30 PM.
Ages 5+. $3 per person with daily admission or Robinson annual pass. Explore Robinson Nature Center's trails, Discovery Room and Nature Place, and before you leave for lunch, join us for the short, family-friendly full-dome film, Earth, Moon & Sun. Due to dark conditions, we cannot seat late arrivals once the show has begun. Please arrive early to be seated. To see a preview of the film, please click here.
NEW! Sunday Afternoon Full-Dome Movie - 1 to 1:30 PM. 5 years and up with an adult. $3 per person with daily admission or Robinson annual pass. Come explore Robinson Nature Center's trails, Discovery Room, Nature Place, and NatureSphere - a full-dome movie theater and planetarium! On the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month, we show a short, family-friendly full-dome film at 1PM. No late seating. Registration/Info: 410-313-0400.To see a preview of the film, please click here.
Ladies Night-Hike Out - 7:30-9 PM. 21 years and up. $10 per person. Join other nature-loving gals on this unique Friday night adventure! Immerse yourself in the nocturnal wonders of the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area (MPEA). Knowledgeable Robinson Nature Center naturalist are guides for this hour and a half-long hike. Enjoy discovering the wonders of night hiking. Meet at the South Wind Circle entrance to MPEA. You must preregister for the program. Please note, there are no bathrooms at the MPEA and parking is limited. The hike covers approximately 2 miles on unpaved terrain. Bring a flashlight. Registration/Info: 410-313-0400.
Lil' Acorns Dinosaur Dash - 10-11:30 AM. Ages 2-3 years with an adult. $18 for one parent and one child. Fall is full of new discoveries for you and your little one. Hold your lil' acorn's hand through an unforgettable morning discovering the dinosaurs through tot-friendly investigations! This parent/child interactive program includes song, sensory activities, a puppet show and a short walk through the woods. Register an additional person ($9) by calling 410-313-0400.
NEW! NatureSphere at Noon - Noon-12:30 PM. Ages 5+. $3 per person with daily admission or Robinson annual pass. Explore Robinson Nature Center's trails, Discovery Room and Nature Place, and before you leave for lunch, join us for the short, family-friendly full-dome film, We Are Stars. Due to dark conditions, we cannot seat late arrivals once the show has begun. Please arrive early to be seated.To see a preview of the film, please click here.
NEW! Family NatureSphere Night - 6:30-7:30 PM. Ages 7 years and up with an adult. $6 per person. Treat your family to an evening of spectacular space delights. This program features a full-dome movie preceded by a fun, family-friendly planetarium presentation about current happenings in our night sky. This program is held in the NatureSphere, a digital planetarium and dome-style movie theater. Due to dark conditions, we cannot seat late arrivals once the show has begun. Please arrive early to be seated.To see a preview of the film, please click here.
NEW! Nature Painting on Driftwood - 6:30-8:30 PM. Ages 18 years and up. $40 per person ($15 materials fee due at first class). Learn the art of painting on driftwood from Delaware-based artist, Stephanie Przybylek. Her nature-inspired artwork was most recently featured in the Robinson Nature Center's gallery. Discover how to find and finish driftwood in artistic projects. Then, practice the art through recreating your own version of one of Stephanie's stunning, painted pieces. All materials (brushes, paint, driftwood, cutouts) provided for use in future projects. Materials fee due at first class. Space is limited. Must register by Thursday, October 6. See examples of Stephanie's art, visit http://creativeanimal.net/home.html Registration/Info: 410-313-0400.
Lil' Stars - Rocky Planets - 11-11:30 AM. Ages 3-8 years with parents. $3 per person with daily admission*. Let your little one discover outer space through views of the stars and planets, stories and song. Give your child a special nighttime experience during the day! October's theme is Rocky Planets. This program is held in the NatureSphere, a digital planetarium and dome-style movie theater. Due to dark conditions, we cannot seat late arrivals once the show has begun. Please arrive early to be seated.
Trick or Treat Among the Trees - Choose a start time from 4-5:15 PM. Program lasts 90 minutes. Ages 5 years and up with a parent. $10 per child, $5 per adult. Celebrate Halloween with a trick-or-treating adventure along the Robinson Nature Center trail where each stop offers fun, live interpretation of fall nature happenings and healthy treats from our sponsors (Giant Foods and David's Natural Market) to take home. Preregister for one of the program times to secure your spot and arrive promptly as your group leaves for the trail immediately. Please note that our trails are unpaved and not easily navigable with a stroller. Please see our Enchanted Forest Trick-IN-Treat program for a stroller-friendly option. All children must be accompanied by a registered adult. Registration/Info: 410-313-0400 or www.howardcountymd.gov/RNCtrickortreat
Trick-IN-Treat for Tots - Choose a start time from 10-11:15 AM.. Ages 2-6 years with a parent. $10 per child; $5 per adult; Free, under 2. Celebrate Halloween with a trick-or-treating adventure along the Robinson Nature Center trail where each stop offers fun, live interpretation of fall nature happenings and healthy treats from our sponsors (Giant Foods and David?s Natural Market) to take home. Preregister for one of the program times to secure your spot and arrive promptly as your group leaves for the trail immediately. Please note that our trails are unpaved and not easily navigable with a stroller. Please see our Enchanted Forest Trick-IN-Treat program for a stroller-friendly option. All children must be accompanied by a registered adult. Registration/Info: 410-313-0400 or www.howardcountymd.gov/RNCtrickortreat.
NEW! Family NatureSphere Night- 6:30-7:30 PM. Ages 7 years and up with an adult. $6 per person. This program features the full-dome movie "Earth, Moon & Sun" preceded by a fun, family-friendly planetarium presentation about current happenings in our night sky. Due to dark conditions, we cannot seat late arrivals once the show has begun. Please arrive early to be seated. To see a preview of the film, please
Friday Late Nights in the NatureSphere- 8 to 9 PM. Ages 18 years and up. $6 per person. This program is for adults and features the full-dome movie "Impact!" preceded by a planetarium presentation about current happenings in our night sky and space science. Due to dark conditions, we cannot seat late arrivals once the show has begun. Please arrive early to be seated. To see a preview of the film, please click here.
First Saturday Discovery Days - 11:30 AM to Noon. Ages 3-10 years with an adult. On the first Saturday of the month, join us as we introduce a new, nature theme through games, stories and crafts. November's theme is Animal Tracks. You can continue to explore the theme throughout the rest of the month in the Discovery Room's Field Station and with docent-led activities. This program is available on a first-come, first-served basis to the first 15 children and their adult chaperon. No registration necessary. Program is free with daily admission or annual pass.
Lil' Stars - 11 to 11:30 AM. 3-8 years with an adult. $3 per person with daily admission or Robinson annual pass. Let your little one discover outer space through views of the stars and planets, stories and song. Each month we focus on a different theme. For the month of November, our Lil' Stars will explore "Gas Giant Planets". Preregister to secure your seats, and please arrive 5-10 minutes before the program so we may begin promptly.
NEW! Sunday Afternoon Full-Dome Movie - 1 to 1:30 PM. 5 years and up with an adult. $3 per person with daily admission or Robinson annual pass. Come explore Robinson Nature Center's trails, Discovery Room, Nature Place, and NatureSphere - a full-dome movie theater and planetarium! November will feature the family-friendly full-dome film, Astronaut, at 1PM. No late seating. Registration/Info: 410-313-0400.To see a preview of the film, please click here.
Robinson Nature Center offers birthday party room rentals and birthday party packages.
Click on the links below to read more about options available in Robinson's Birthday Party brochure.
Birthday parties are scheduled on the weekends during the following time slots.
Saturdays 10AM – 12PM or 2PM – 4PM
Sundays 2PM – 4PM
*All options include a $200 security deposit.
By when do I need to sign the permit for my birthday party?
We request that you sign and return your permit one week from the date you book the party. You MUST sign and return your permit no later than 30 days in advance of the party. If we do not receive the signed permit 30 days in advance, the permit will be cancelled. If booking a party less than 30 days in advance of the event, your permit will need to be signed at the time you book the party. You may drop off, fax, mail or scan & email your signed permit. Fax to 410-313-0409 and call 410-313-0400 to confirm the fax was received.
What is your rescheduling policy?
You may reschedule one time prior to 30 days in advance of the event with no penalty. Rescheduling less than 30 days in advance of the event is considered a cancellation.
What is your cancellation policy?
If you cancel your party more than 30 days in advance of the event, you will be refunded your deposit and payment minus a 20% administrative fee. If you cancel your party or need to reschedule the party less than 30 days in advance of the event, no refunds will be issued. If you are rescheduling the party, Robinson can transfer your deposit to the new date. You will be responsible for paying the price of the birthday party package or room rental for the new date.
Can I arrive early to set-up?
Birthday party packages provide a complimentary half-hour prior to the rental time listed on the permit. You may arrive a half-hour early to set-up, but please do not arrive earlier as we will not be able to accommodate your set-up any earlier. If you are renting a room only, your set-up time must be included in your rental time.
Can I stay later than the time listed on my permit to clean up?
Time for cleanup is included in your 2 hour birthday party package. If you must stay later than the time listed on your permit, you will need to pay for the additional time or it will be taken out of your deposit. If you are renting a room only, your clean-up time must be included in your rental time.
If I have more than 40 guests, what do I do?
Please note that maximum occupancy of the birthday rooms (40 people) is set and enforced by the Office of the Fire Marshal. Any violations could result in fines. If you would like to invite more than 40 guests, please speak to the Rental Coordinator about renting a larger space. If more than 40 guests arrive on the day of your party, only 40 will be permitted to enter the birthday party room.
What types of decorations are allowed and who decorates the room?
For birthday party packages, we decorate the room with non-helium balloons and a birthday banner before you arrive. If you would like additional decorations, you are welcome to set them up during your complimentary half-hour set-up time. However, hanging decorations from the walls or ceiling is not permitted. No helium balloons.
Why can't I bring helium balloons?
Please do not bring helium balloons as our ceilings are high and helium balloons are difficult to rescue once they escape.
Why can't I hang things on the walls or from the ceiling?
Please do not hang things on the wall or from the ceilings. Tape from decorations can strip paint and the ceiling tiles can be easily damaged.
What am I required to do for clean-up?
You must complete your clean-up by the end time listed on your permit. Before you leave, you must ensure all trash from the party is in the trash or recycling bin, the floors have been swept and the tables have been wiped down. Broom and paper towels are provided. We will take the trash out to the dumpsters.
The Nature Center offers room rentals and facility package rentals for large events and weddings. Rental requests can be made by calling, 410-313-0400, or visiting the nature center.
Click on the links below to read more about rental options in Robinson's Rental Guide.
Q: When is the nature center open for event rentals?
A: Event rentals are permissible Wednesday through Sunday. The nature center is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday 9 AM to 5 PM and Sunday 12 PM to 5 PM. Rentals may not begin earlier than 8 AM or end later than 11 PM.
Q: Are there additional fees for after-hours events?
A: Yes, any rental occurring outside our regular operating hours (Wednesday through Saturday 9 AM to 5 PM and Sunday 12 PM to 5 PM) will incur a $ 50 per hour administrative fee.
Q: Do I need to include setup and cleanup time in my rental?
A: Yes, you are allowed access to your rental space only during the hours you have paid for as indicated on your permit. All materials may only be brought in and removed during that time. The schedule for setup and take down of tent rentals for the Mezzanine Patio must be coordinated in advance. We can provide contacts for local tent rental companies at your request.
Q: Is alcohol permitted during event rentals?
A: Alcohol is permitted to be served within the rental spaces at the Robinson Nature Center with regulation of its service and consumption covered in the facility rental permit. Alcohol may only be sold if a temporary liquor license is obtained from the Howard County Liquor Board.
Q: Is a security deposit required?
A: A $ 200 refundable security deposit is required for each rental space. Large event and wedding package rentals have a flat $800 refundable security deposit. Security deposits will be returned upon acceptable condition of the rental space at the conclusion of the permitted event.
Q: What is the cancellation policy for rentals?
A: Written notice of cancellation is due at least 30 days prior to the event. Additional notice may be required for larger events, as determined by the Rental Coordinator. If the reservation is cancelled more than 30 days before event, a 20% administrative fee will be retained. If the event is cancelled less than 30 days prior to the event, the security deposit and rental fee will be retained.
Memberships to the Nature Center help support and enhance our programs, and allow members to access special benefits. Membership benefits are listed below in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section.
Annual Passes are sold in the following categories. Prices listed are (R) for Residents of Howard County/ (NR) for Non-Residents of Howard County.
Add $50 to any of the membership levels above, or become a Friend through the membership levels below, to support exciting new projects at Robinson.
**Please note the Friends of the Robinson Nature Center website is experiencing technical difficulties. If you are looking to renew your membership or become a new member, please visit: https://secure.qgiv.com/for/MRLAPF26R3EDWNWVYNPE
Select "Robinson Nature Center Dedicated Fund" for your donation. Thank you for your support!**
How long do memberships last?
Memberships are valid for 1 year from the date of purchase.
What are the benefits of my Annual Pass?
What are the benefits of my Friends Membership?
Does my Family pass include my Grandchildren/Grandparents?
If you would like to volunteer at the Robinson Nature Center please complete the Robinson Nature Center Volunteer Application.
If you would like additional information about volunteer opportunities at the Robinson Nature Center please contact Brian Campbell, Volunteer Coordinator at 410-313-0406 or email@example.com.
The Robinson Nature Volunteer Manual is available online.
Scout Volunteer Work Days - If you are in a scout group, this volunteer opportunity allows you to get to know other scouts in your community while working together to help the environment! Potential projects include forest and stream clean up, tree plantings, invasive plant removal, trail maintenance and garden work. All groups must sign up in advance and maintain a ratio of 1 leader per 12 scouts. Scout work days are free to attend and open to scouts of all ages. Tools, gloves and snacks will be provided. If you are interested in participating in our next Scout Work Day, please contact the Nature Center’s Volunteer Coordinator at 410-313-0406.
In addition to the volunteer opportunities available at the Robinson Nature Center, the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks has numerous other volunteer opportunities. To find out more about these opportunities, click here.
Photo credit: Vic Gladstone
Caring for live animals is a big job and requires many resources. The animals at Robinson Nature Center serve as educational ambassadors, providing numerous learning opportunities for the public and helping us spread a message of awareness and conservation.
An annual aquatic animal sponsorship is $75 and includes the following:
Contact the front desk at 410-313-0400 for details.
Robinson Nature Center partners with groups and organizations that donate their time and resources to the Center. In return, the Center acts as a venue and resource where these groups and organizations can achieve their goals, improve their visibility and reach their constituents. Each organization is unique in its involvement with the nature center. If your organization is interested in finding out more about community partnerships with the center, contact Pam Reese, Community Liaison, at 410-313-0673 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Click on the logos to connect with some of our Community Partners and read about the contributions they make to the Center below:
Support for outdoor nature play space at Robinson, professional development, field trip assistance and environmental activities; coordinates Robinson's Friends group.
Field trip scholarships to Robinson for Title 1 schools.
Middle Patuxent Environmental Area (MPEA) - Partner area for nature programming
Bureau of Environmental Services - Recycling programs at Robinson and free compost bins for County Residents
Office of Sustainability - Support for sustainability initiatives at Robinson.
Animals, Animals, Animals Program Series at Robinson, appearances at special events, and loan of rotating exhibits.
Planetarium programming in Robinson's NatureSphere and appearances at special events.
Permanent exhibits, loan of traveling exhibits, and content for the Robinson's "ViewSpace" exhibit.
Live animal programs at Robinson and appearances at special events.
Safe solar-viewing and telescope viewing on Robinson's green roof.
Collaborative programs with Robinson and loan of temporary exhibits.
Photographs programming at Robinson and provides photos for use in marketing materials.
Donation of Robinson bird mounts, birding programs at Robinson, professional development for staff and appearances at special events.
Maintenance of Robinson beehives and appearances at special events.
Robinson Legacy room barn-siding carvings and bird trail carvings.
Volunteer naturalist training curriculum for Robinson volunteers.
Compost demonstrations at Robinson and appearances at special events.
Co-facilitate teacher training workshops with Robinson.
Professional development for Robinson staff and appearances at special events.
Facilitate archaeological study and excavation of Robinson's land.
Sponsor Robinson's arboretum and donate trees for events.
Cater and provide generous donations of food for special programs at Robinson.
Provides generous "treat" donations for Robinson's Trick or Treat programs.
Patuxent Valley Nurseries, LLC
Provide tree and shrub donations for Robinson native plant gardens and trail plantings.
Lead "Moving Field Guides" (interactive, intergenerational outdoor movement experiences) at Robinson.
Provide support for native plantings on Robinson grounds.
Members of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service conduct insect surveys and entomology research on Robinson's land.
Conduct research on Baltimore Oriole and Orchard Oriole migration on orioles that breed around Robinson.
Chesapeake Bay oyster reef restoration efforts, educational opportunities and oyster shell recycling at Robinson and other sites across the Bay watershed.
Promotes Robinson Nature Center and special programs through a Media Underwriting Partnership.
Donates prizes for Robinson's annual Adult Easter Egg hunt.
Participates in corporate volunteer projects at Robinson. Promotes Robinson through partnership. Provides donations for various programs.
Graphic design assistance and photography at Robinson events.
Assist with outreach events, publicity, promotion/advertising of Robinson.
Collaborates to offer professional development and joint-programming with Robinson. Supplies temporary exhibits.
Sponsors Nature Center trivia nights through brew donations; These nights raise money for field trip scholarships for Title 1 school children.
Sponsors the HCPSS Pumpkin' Chunkin' competition hosted by Robinson providing competing teams with in-kind donations of materials to build their machines
Partners for the Valentine's Day Wine-Tasting and Truffle Making classes at Robinson; provides prizes for the Adult Egg Hunt at Robinson
Provides prizes for the Adult Egg Hunt at Robinson
Check out our summer 2016 camp brochure or browse camps in order by date below!
Camp registration is OPEN!
Have fun exploring your world at our nature summer camps! We have camps for children and youth ages 2 to 14. At nature camp you can:
Click on the links below to discover more in Robinson's Summer Nature Camp brochure.
Below are nature summer camps held at the Robinson Nature Center. Camps are listed in order by date with links to more information on each camp. Camps that are full are noted below. You can call 410-313-0400 to be added to the wait list for full camps. As summer approaches, we often are able to accommodate wait-listed participants.
To attend these camps, each camper must register and bring in a Participant Information Form as well as a Medication Authorization Form if bringing medication to camp. Please note that a Physician's signature is required on all medication forms for prescription medications. We cannot accept any medications without this signature. Finally, children attending nature summer camps at Robinson must adhere to the Code of Conduct while at camp.
Lil’ Pine Cones Mini-Camp - Amazing Animals (morning session) (FULL)
Lil’ Acorns Mini-Camp (Parent/Child) - Forest Friends (FULL)
Lil’ Pine Cones Mini-Camp - Amazing Animals (afternoon session) (FULL)
Lil’ Pine Cones Mini-Camp - Water Wonders (FULL)
Lil’ Acorns Mini-Camp (Parent/Child) - In, Around & Under the Water (FULL)
River Explorers I Mini-Camp
Lil' Pine Cones Mini-Camp - Water Wonders (FULL)
Lil' Acorns Mini-Camp (Parent/Child) - Forest Friends (FULL)
River Explorers I Mini-Camp (FULL)
Animal Trackers Mini-Camp (FULL)
NEW! Lil' Pine Cones Mini-Camp - Nature Puppets & Play (FULL)
Supervised Camper lunches and movies (Add-on)
River Explorers I Mini-Camp (FULL)
Nature Games - It's On (FULL)
Epic Water Ventures Mini- Camp (FULL)
Surviving Off the Land Camp (Only 5 spots left!)
Nature's Mysteries Overnight Mini-Camp (Only 2 spots left!)
Nature Games - It's On (Only 1 spot left!)
NEW! Nature - the Next Generation
Surviving Off the Land Camp (FULL)
River Explorers I Mini-Camp (Only 3 spots left!)
NEW! Lil' Pines Cones Mini-Camp - Nature Puppet & Play (FULL)
NEW! Surviving Off the Land Camp - Expedition (CANCELLED)
NEW! Sensory Friendly Lil' Nature Explorers Mini-Camp