As of March 1, 2017, admission fees apply to all visitors Weds – Sun. This change is being implemented to ensure the quality of visitor’s experiences and to reduce parking, overcrowding and safety concerns.
Columbia, MD 21044
Directions:PDF | Google Maps
Hours:Wed.- Sat., 9 AM-5 PM Sun., Noon-5 PM The Center is closed Mondays & Tuesdays. Also closed Apr 16, Nov 23 & 24, 2017.
Daily Admission to Trails/Building*:
Children (3-17 yrs) $3
Under 3 FREE
*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 the "Get Involved" section under "Plan Your Visit".
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
January 25 - July 23, 2017
With 335 active farms in Howard County, farming is part of the fabric of this county. Come “ride” a model tractor, invent a new farming tool and guess where crops grow across Maryland. The Nature Center is proud to host this interactive “Here We Grow” exhibit, on loan from Port Discovery Children’s Museum through July 2017. Family audiences will delight in learning about farming in today’s world. Discover connections to where products are grown; meet the farmer as scientist, businessman and problem solver; and learn about healthy eating and the conservation of natural resources.
January 3 - April 8, 2017
Our current art exhibit features mixed media pieces from local artist Denée Barr. Her work includes textural, multi-layered art that reflects how our world is constantly changing, growing and evolving. Denée's art has been described as interpretive, lyrical, surreal and otherworldly. The displayed images are offered for sale; a portion of their proceeds will benefit Robinson Nature Center. Denée Barr lives and works in Columbia, MD.
Please join us for a closing reception to meet Denée, Saturday, April 8, 6-8 PM in the first floor gallery space.
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 was originally put on display on the front lawn of the Nature Center as part of Howard County Art Council's "2014 ARTsites" program that seeks to make art more accessible by placing it in public spaces throughout the community.
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*
*Please note, on Sunday, January 22nd, due to our special event "Frozen Fest" the regularly-scheduled touch tank hours will not occur.
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.
Sycamore Stroll Trail at Mill Race
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 no improvement projects underway.
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 note, we are unable to accommodate summer field trips this year. We apologize for the inconvenience.
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:
2017-2018 home school classes are full, however there are still spots in the Spring 2017 home school workshops that meet on April 13 and May 11. Call 410-313-0400 if interested in participating.
**Registration for school year 2017-2018 classes and workshops opens June 1, 2017 for Howard County Residents, and June 8,2017 for all other participants. **
4-5 yrs / $30 per child per season (includes 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. Click here for online registration.
Fall Topics: Maps & Directions, Native Americans, Farming Fun
Winter Topics: Solar System, Meteorites & the Moon, Rocks, Mud & More
Spring Topics: Mammals, Creepy, Crawly Critters, Taking Care of the Earth
Thursday 2017-2018 class dates: Sep 7, Oct 5, Nov 2 & Dec 7, 2017; Jan 4, Feb 1, Mar 1, Apr 5 & May 3, 2018
6-13 yrs / $30 per child per season (includes 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. Click here for online registration.
Fall Topics: Navigation, Native Americans, Milling Era
Winter Topics: Solar System, Comets & Meteors, Geology
Spring Topics: Vertebrates, Invertebrates, Living Green
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. Register for one, two or all three seasons of workshops. Each adult and child that plans on attending must register individually for the workshop. Price is per person/per season. You must call 410-313-0400 to register. There is no online registration for these workshops.
Workshops are held on Thursdays. Workshop 2017-2018 dates are: Sep 14, Oct 12, Nov 9 & Dec 14, 2017, and Jan 11, Feb 8, Mar 8, Apr 12 & May 8, 2018
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
Currently accepting registration for:
None at this time. More workshops will be offered in school year 2017-2018.
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. We plan to host another Master Naturalist class at Robinson in Spring 2018. Applications for this program will be accepted in December 2017. 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! 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 "Astronaut" 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. Share this event with your friends on Facebook by clicking here.
NatureSphere at Noon - Noon to 12:30 PM. Film: Earth, Moon & Sun. Ages 5 years and up. Explore Robinson Nature Center’s trails, Discovery Room and Nature Place, and before you leave for lunch, join us for a short, family-friendly, full-dome film! This program is held in the NatureSphere planetarium. Film previews are available at www.howardcountymd.gov/RNCNatureSpherefeatures. No late seating. $3 per ticket with daily admission or annual pass. Share this event with your friends on Facebook by clicking here.
Kids Night Out at the Nature Center - 6-9 PM. Ages 5-12 years. Spend a Friday night out with your friends at the Nature Center after-hours! We provide a pizza dinner and tons of fun activities including a sun-set hike, live animal presentations, a full-dome movie in our NatureSphere planetarium, and more! Mom and dad, enjoy your own evening out, and return to learn all about your child’s discoveries. This program is a drop-off program and requires a participant information form for each child. $40 (non-member); $30 (member); $20 (additional sibling, non-member); $15 (additional sibling, member). Share this event with your friends on Facebook by clicking here.
Lil' Stars - 11 - 11:30 AM. Ages 3-10 years with an adult. Give your child a special nighttime experience during the day by letting them discover outer space through interactive activities! Each month focuses on a different theme. March's theme is "Stellar Stretching" and combines movement activities with stories and planetarium views of different constellations. Preregister to secure your spots. Fee is per person. $3 per ticket with daily admission or annual pass. Share this event with your friends on Facebook by clicking here.
NEW! Community Collaborative: A to Z Nature Trail - 1-3 PM. Help us create an A to Z nature trail during this “draw your world” art event. Once completed, the exhibit will be installed on the Robinson Nature Center’s grounds. From apple blossoms to zebra swallowtails, the A to Z trail provides visitors with opportunities to practice reading skills, get active, and enjoy the natural world. We’ll provide ideas and materials, and you bring your artistic creativity (no experience required). If you can’t join us on the 26th, we’ll have drop-in participation throughout the spring. Info/details: www.howardcountymd.gov/Anniesart or 410-313-0400. Share this event with your friends on Facebook by clicking here.
NEW! First Saturday Stories - 11:30 AM to Noon. Ages 3-10 years with an adult. Join us for the first Saturday of the month as we introduce a special nature theme through an engaging story. April's theme is Mushrooms. Each month’s theme will be highlighted for the remainder of the month at the Discovery Room Field Station (7 years +) and during special weekend hours with docent-led activities (all ages).This program is available on a first-come, first-served basis. No registration necessary. Program is free with daily admission or annual pass. Pick up a program ticket at the front desk. Share this event with your friends on Facebook by clicking here.
Spring Eggstravaganza for Tots - 10 AM to Noon. Ages 1 year and older with an adult. Hop on down for a tot-friendly adventure through Robinson Nature Center's indoor exhibits and along paved portions of the trail (weather-permitting). Enjoy spring-themed crafts, music, and a miniature egg hunt. Meet and learn about some amazing bunnies (available for adoption) with the rescue organization Friends of Rabbits. To help ease parking congestion and crowding, we ask that families preregister for a program start time (10 AM, 10:15 AM, 10:30 AM, 10:45 AM, 11 AM and 11:15 AM) and arrive promptly. All adults and children 1 year and older must register to participate. No online registration, call 410-313-0400 or register at the center in person. $6 per person. Free, siblings under 1 year. Share this event with your friends on Facebook by clicking here.
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 "Stars" 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. Share this event with your friends on Facebook by clicking here.
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 "Black Holes" 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. Share this event with your friends on Facebook by clicking here.
Lil' Stars - 11 - 11:30 AM. Ages 3-10 years with an adult. Give your child a special nighttime experience during the day by letting them discover outer space through interactive activities! Each month focuses on a different theme. April's theme is "Sunlight, Star Bright" and combines movement activities with stories and planetarium views of different constellations. Preregister to secure your spots. Fee is per person. $3 per ticket with daily admission or annual pass. Share this event with your friends on Facebook by clicking here.
Butterfly Gala - 6:30 - 9 PM. Ages 5 years and older with an adult. The Howard County Therapeutics Division and Robinson Nature Center cordially invite families of children and adults with special needs to join in an evening of sensory-friendly activities celebrating spring. Enjoy hands-on activities throughout the center, light hors d’oeuvres, music, and dancing. This event is designed for families; supervision is not provided. $35 per family (up to 5 members). We can’t wait to celebrate with you! Please register by April 5. Check out pictures from last year's event by clicking here. Share this event with your friends on Facebook by clicking here.
Animals, Animals, Animals - 1 - 1:45 PM or 2 - 2:45 PM. Ages 3-10 years with an adult.Join us for an early afternoon or mid-afternoon exploration of 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 at Robinson Nature Center. Programs integrate music, poetry, games and nature exploration for parents and young children. No registration necessary. Free with daily admission or annual pass. Share this event with your friends on Facebook by clicking here.
NEW! The Humane Gardener - 1 - 2:30 PM. 18 years and older. Join local author, Nancy Lawson, for a reading, author's talk and book signing of her new release, "The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Wildlife Habitat." Profiling gardeners from across the country, inspirational chapters address planting for wildlife; providing habitats; avoiding pesticide use; cohabiting with creatures often regarded as pests and more. Registration not required. Free with daily admission or annual pass. Share with your friends on Facebook by clicking here.
NEW! Gardening to Support Native Pollinators Workshop - 3 - 4:30 PM. Join Chris Puttock, Executive Director of Chesapeake Natives, for an insightful workshop covering gardening options for those wanting to combat declining native pollinator populations.
Discover the plants that support bees and butterflies throughout the different stages of their life cycle. See examples of gardens and landscapes that successfully sustain native pollinators. Learn how to transform your garden into a haven that supports plant life. Plants available for purchase at Chesapeake Natives on April 30 or at Robinson Nature Center’s Native Plant Palooza on May 7. $20 per person. Please register by April 2nd to attend. Share this workshop with your friends on Facebook by clicking here.
Wednesday, April 12
NEW! Yuri's Night Space Party - 6:30 - 9 PM. Ages 5 years and up with an adult. Join a global celebration of humanity’s past, present and future in space during Spring Break. Yuri’s Night parties are held around the world every April in commemoration of Yuri Gagarin becoming the first human to venture into space on April 12, 1961, and the inaugural launch of the first Space Shuttle on April 12, 1981. Come enjoy hands-on astronomy activities throughout the building, videos of astronauts’ perspectives of space, and space movies in the planetarium. Sample space foods, touch real meteorites, and create your own nebula in a bottle to take home! $7 per adult and $10 per child. Share this event with your friends on Facebook by clicking here.
Adult Flashlight Egg Hunt - 8-10 PM. (FULL; see May 12th event) Ages 21 years and older. Embark on a nighttime egg hunt using flashlights and your wits. Hundreds of eggs full of raffle tickets lie hidden, awaiting your discovery. Collect as many as you can for chances to win passes to the National Aquarium, gift cards to Wegmans, meal coupons to local restaurants, and other fantastic, nature-themed prizes. Space is limited. Preregister to secure your spot. Rain date: April 28. Photo ID is required to claim prizes donated by wineries and breweries. Share this event with your friends on Facebook by clicking here.
NatureSphere at Noon - Noon to 12:30 PM. Film: We Are Aliens. Ages 5 years and up. Explore Robinson Nature Center’s trails, Discovery Room and Nature Place, and before you leave for lunch, join us for a short, family-friendly, full-dome film! This program is held in the NatureSphere planetarium. Film previews are available at www.howardcountymd.gov/RNCNatureSpherefeatures. No late seating. $3 per ticket with daily admission or annual pass. Share this event with your friends on Facebook by clicking here.
Animals, Animals, Animals - 1 - 1:45 PM or 2 - 2:45 PM. Ages 3-10 years with an adult. Join us for an early afternoon or mid-afternoon exploration of 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 at Robinson Nature Center. Programs integrate music, poetry, games and nature exploration for parents and young children. No registration necessary. Free with daily admission or annual pass. Share this event with your friends on Facebook by clicking here.
Cotton-Tail Bunny Tea Party - 2 - 4 PM. Ages 3 years and older with an adult. Join us for a great, spring expedition while learning about the cute, and sometimes rascally, rabbits that start appearing this time of year. Little ones, come on a “rabbit chase” to help track a missing bunny, and then create a bunny craft to take home. After all the fun, savor an impeccably catered, sit-down tea service by Sweet Simplici-Tea Tea Room. Enjoy tea, lemonade and delightful treats just right for little fingers. Price includes program, materials, tea service, and gratuity. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult. Register no later than April 16. $27 per child. $22 per adult. Share this event with your friends on Facebook by clicking here.
NEW! Improv 101 - 2-4 PM. Ages 18 years and up. Never taken an improv class? Try it out with experienced, Baltimore Improv Group (BIG) instructors! This intro workshop is designed to give the curious an opportunity to experience what an improv class is like. Through simple, fun and supportive games, explore basic concepts like playfulness, listening and agreement in a comfortable, group setting that’s geared specifically towards those who are new to improv. Space is limited. Please sign up ahead of time to secure your spot. $25 per person. Share this event with your friends on Facebook by clicking here.
NEW! Saturday Night Live at the Nature Center. 6:30 - 9:30 PM. Ages 21 years and up. Join us for a night of laughs and live, nature shenanigans at Robinson. The Baltimore Improv Group (BIG) will perform two shows during the evening. Between shows, enjoy roving live animal presentations and touch tank open hours. Food and beverages available for purchase on-site. You must bring photo ID to purchase alcoholic beverages. Buy your tickets early for pre-sale pricing. As space is limited, we recommend preregistering to secure your spot. $22, pre-sale; $25 after April 26. Share this event with your friends on Facebook by clicking here.
NEW! Layering Your Native Garden Workshop - 1-2:30 PM. 18 years and up. Join Lauren Turner, Owner of Lauren’s Garden Service, for a workshop that teaches you how to satiate your gaze at every height in your garden. Learn about the layers of native ecosystems (ground, forbs, grasses, shrubs, small trees, large trees), and how home gardeners can use the layers in eye-catching, beautiful ways. Discover tips and tricks for creating successful plantings, and gain knowledge related to species that do well in different lighting and soil conditions. Leave with printed resources and e-access to the instructor post-workshop for additional consultation. Plants available for purchase at Robinson Nature Center’s Native Plant Palooza on May 7. $20 per person. Please register by April 23rd to attend. Share this event with your friends on Facebook by clicking here.
NEW! Native Gardens for All Seasons Workshop - 3-4:30 PM. 18 years and up. Does your garden wow you in the spring and summer but disappoint come fall or winter? Join Lauren Turner of Lauren’s Garden Service for a workshop in which you discover how to augment your garden with areas that provide interest during each of the four seasons using native plants. Enjoy tips and tricks for creating successful plantings, and gain knowledge related to species that do well in different lighting and soil conditions. Participants leave with printed resources and e-access to the instructor post-workshop for additional consultation. Plants available for purchase at Robinson Nature Center’s Native Plant Palooza on May 7. $20 per person. Please register by April 23rd to attend. Share this event with your friends of Facebook by clicking 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 call 410-313-0400 or renew at the front desk of the Robinson Nature Center. If you would like to make a donation to the Friends, 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