About

Address: 6692 Cedar Lane, Columbia, MD 21044

Nature Center & Grounds: Wednesday-Saturday: 9am-5pm; Sunday: Noon-5pm; Closed Mondays & Tuesdays

Main Phone410-313-0400

General Admission Prices:
$5 Adults
$3 Children ages 3-17 yrs
Free Children under 3 yrs
We also offer annual memberships

Inclement Weather: 410-313-4452 (option 6)

Closed: January 1, Easter Sunday, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving (Thursday & Friday) & December 25.

Amenities: Indoor exhibits and children's discovery room, outdoor trails and natural play area, planetarium, gift shop, rental spaces and more.

Virtual Tour

Robinson Nature Center
For Visitors
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Center Rules and Expectations
Content

Guest Expectations

  • Visitors that do not meet the facilities expectations may be asked to leave.
  • Please stay home if you have a fever (100.4 or above) or are experiencing symptoms of illness.
  • Practice good personal hygiene (wash hands, cover sneeze/coughs).
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times when visiting the Nature Center, Nature Place and trails.
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About Us
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We are a unique LEED Platinum-certified nature education facility situated on 18 acres of land adjacent to the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area. We offer educational programs, field trips, birthday parties, home school, scout programs, and more. 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.

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.

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Annual Passes and Memberships
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Memberships to the Nature Center help support and enhance our programs, and allow members to access special benefits.

Annual Pass
Annual Passes are sold in the following categories. Prices listed are (R) for Residents of Howard County or (NR) for Non-Residents of Howard County.

Senior or Student - $20 (R)/ $40 (NR)
Students must present valid school identification. Senior rate for individuals 50 years and up.

Individual - $25 (R) / $50 (NR)

Family - $50 (R) / $100 (NR)
Includes family members of the immediate household. 

Friends Membership
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.

Patron - $175 
Includes two complimentary tickets into the NatureSphere. 

Supporter - $250
Includes two complimentary tickets for the NatureSphere and two complimentary guest passes into the nature center. 

Sustainer - $500
Includes four complimentary tickets for the NatureSphere and two complimentary guest passes into the nature center. 

Lifetime - $1,000
Includes lifetime complimentary admission for an individual; four complimentary tickets for the NatureSphere and four complimentary guest passes into the nature center. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Annual Pass and Friends Membership

How long do memberships last?  
Memberships are valid for one year from the date of purchase. 

What are the benefits of my Annual Pass?  

  • Complimentary general admission to the Center & trails
  • Member-discount pricing on select programs
  • 10% Member discount on purchases from the gift shop
  • Optional member e-newsletter updates (center projects, upcoming programs and special offers)
  • The ANCA reciprocal membership program allows Robinson Nature Center annual pass holders free or reduced admission at other nature centers that participate in the program. For a list of nature centers that participate in the ANCA reciprocal membership program, click here.

What are the benefits of my Friends Membership?  

  • All the same benefits of an annual pass, plus
  • Friends-only benefits (listed next to each Friends level above)
  • Financial support for Title 1 school scholarships
  • Friends-only activities and events

Does my Family Pass include my Grandchildren/Grandparents?  
Family passes cover everyone in the immediate household. Below are two exceptions:

  • Grandparents may purchase a Family pass to include their grandchildren, however the children’s parents are not included under this pass.
  • A Family Pass issued to parents can cover grandparents bringing the children to the center, but not when parents and grandparents are visiting together.
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Exhibits & Gift Shop
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Permanent Exhibits

Our indoor permanent exhibits provide locally-relevant information and interactive interpretation. Exhibits span two stories and are wheelchair and stroller accessible.

Experience the Chesapeake Bay Watershed exhibit:

  • “Fly” through the Chesapeake watershed on a digital, tilting table display.

Discover the Changing Lives, Changing Landscapes exhibit:

  • View artifacts and a historical timeline of local land use.
  • Turn the wheel of our model grist mill and watch it transform grain into flour.

Wind your way through the Life of the Forest exhibit:

  • Delight in the sights and sounds of life through the seasons in an Eastern North American deciduous forest through the seasons and shifts in day and night.

Travel to outer space and back:

  • The audio-visual alcove hosts ViewSpace, streaming a live feed of video and text from NASA’s Space Telescope Science Institute.
  • The Backyard Habitat exhibit features a demonstration honey bee hive and bird feeders.

Discovery Room
COVID-19 Reopening Reopening Considerations: Our hands-on activities have been returned to our Discovery Room! Please feel free to place used items in our black bins labeled 'dirty' for staff to sanitize. Hand sanitizer stations are available outside of the Discovery Room for your convenience.

  • Try out scientific skills at our field station.
  • Open a themed Discovery Bin to investigate local plants, animals and ecology.
  • Perform your own puppet show starring animals of your choosing.
  • Enjoy a nature storybook from our rotating collection of children’s nature books while overlooking the forest below.

Animal Wall
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.

Saltwater Touch Tank
While the touch tank is not currently open for physical touch, you are welcome to visit and view the animals inside this 1,000 gallon saltwater tank during your next visit to our Discovery Room. 

Rotating Exhibits

Stephanie Przybylek
This popular Delaware artist returns to our gallery with her colorful nature inspired artwork. Mixed media depictions of fish and acrylic paint paterns of plants and insects will be on display through August 23, 2021. All pieces are available for sale with a proceed of sales benefiting Robinson Nature Center. 

Looking to display your art or to extend the reach of your exhibit?
Local artists are welcome and encouraged to apply to display their art work in the Robinson gallery space. Organizations that loan exhibits temporarily and are seeking to engage new audiences are encouraged to contact us at 410-313-0400. 

Gift Shop

The Robinson Nature Center gift shop is open during our building hours. Access to the gift shop does not require admission.

We carry a variety of sustainable goods including science kits, field guides, books, children's toys, puppets, astronomy items and much more. Here's a sample of what you can find:

  • Educational toys and interactive science kits
  • Local, hand-crafted ceramics and wooden bowls
  • A wide selection of books for children and adults
  • Artistically designed "Blue Q" bags and pouches made from 95% recycled post consumer materials
  • Plush, award-winning specialty puppets from Folkmanis
  • Hand-crafted, nature-inspired jewelry
  • Cooperative learning games suitable for the whole family
  • Nature-and-animal-themed, kid-friendly crafts
  • Disposable kitchen alternatives
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Outdoor Trails & Nature Place
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Trail System

Robinson Nature Center has approximately one mile of trails. Portions of the trail are paved, while the majority of the trails traverse rugged, wooded terrain. The paved portions of the trail are wheelchair- and stroller-accessible. Download or browse Robinson's Walking Trails brochure and a map of the trails.

Accessing 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 (Weds - Sat from 9AM to 5 PM, and Sun from Noon to 5 PM). For safety reasons, the trail may be closed if there is maintenance scheduled or if there are high winds.

What You Can Expect
Along our trails, you will encounter a stream crossing and views of the Middle Patuxent River. 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.

Trail Rules
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.

Dog Policy
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. Service animals trained to assist patrons with disabilities are welcome in the building and on the trails when harnessed.

Nature Place

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.

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Full Dome Digital Planetarium
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In 2020, the Robinson Nature Center welcomed a new Digistar planetarium system to our full-dome movie theatre.  This new system is much brighter, sharper, and higher resolution than our old planetarium system. The new projectors show a 4k resolution image - twice the resolution quality of our old system! Our education staff can customize our astronomy shows to include STEAM topics and explore space with more depth with real time updated planetary surfaces from NASA satellite imaging.  A staff favorite, the system also features a “free flight” mode to explore the universe like an astronaut! Public programs are scheduled throughout the year, and private parties can be booked in the space.

Film Previews

Space & Astronomy

Family Adults
Astronaut  Astronomy: 3,000 years of Star-gazing
Earth, Moon & Sun  Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity
One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure  Faster Than Light 
The Little Star that Could  Impact! 
We Are Aliens  Passport to the Universe 
We Are Stars  Stars
  Two Small Pieces of Glass 
  Wildest Weather in the Universe 

Nature & History

Family Adults
Bugs! A Rainforest Adventure  Dynamic Earth (captioned) 
Dinosaurs Alive!   
Life of Trees   
Molecularium  
The Weather   
Titans of the Ice Age   
Zula Patrol: Down to Earth   
Zula Patrol: Under the Weather  
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Sensory Friendly Visit
Content

Call us if you need assistance: 410-313-0400.

The Robinson Nature Center welcomes your family's visit. In partnership with Leadership Howard, Howard County Recreation & Parks' Therapeutic Recreation program and the Howard County Autism Society, we have developed visual, social, communicative and sensory supports for children and adults with autism spectrum disorder as well as developmental, sensory and learning differences. You will find these supports throughout the nature center and can read more about them below. Additionally, we offer regular training opportunities for our staff and volunteers on how to accommodate children and adults with developmental, sensory and learning differences. We hope our staff, volunteers and tangible supports help your family to have a successful visit and leave you feeling happy and eager to return and to continue exploring nature as a family.

Sensory Backpacks
Upon request, we have sensory backpacks at our front desk for your family's use. The backpacks contain noise-reducing headphones, sensory fidgets and a Robinson "Nature Explorer" badge. You will also find a copy of  our sensory friendly building map and information about Howard County's Therapeutic Recreation program inside the bags. 

These bags are free for use throughout your visit. All we ask is that you leave a drivers license or other ID at the front desk which will be returned to you upon your departure. 

Orientation
If you are planning a visit with a child who has special needs, you may call ahead of your visit to notify our front desk. When you arrive and check in with the front desk, they can provide you with more information on the visual/sensory supports available and/or check your family out a sensory backpack to enhance your child's experience at the Nature Center. If you would like any items removed from your backpack, please mention when you call ahead and we can have the backpack ready when you arrive.

Sensory Friendly Building Map
The maps below show our building's quiet areas and headphone zones and give an idea of what to expect in each area of our building. Click on the links below to preview the picture-based map or the text-based map.


Quiet Areas and Headphone Zones
Our Headphone Zones are locations where we expect the noise level to be higher due to exhibit sounds or due to high use on busier days. These are areas where those sensitive to loud noises might prefer to use noise-dampening headphones.

Our Quiet Areas are places where we expect the noise level to be reduced. If you’re looking for an area to unwind, these locations are the best to visit indoors. Getting out on our trail system can also provide a very relaxing experience.

Social Narrative
Preview, download, print and/or read the social narrative below about visiting the Nature Center with your child. This narrative covers what to expect during the visit and provides pictures of different areas indoors and outdoors to help your family prepare for your visit.


Planetarium Visit/Social Narrative
If you will be joining us for a planetarium program or are booking a group visit with this component, see the planetarium visit social narrative below. Please call ahead of your visit if you would like to reserve a bean bag seat, soft blanket, fidget items or a weighted item for your child’s lap. To find out when planetarium programs are offered, see our program page.


Survey
We would love to hear how your visit to the Robinson Nature Center went, and any improvements that could be made to help you feel more welcome and at ease. Call or click here to take our brief online survey. During your visit, should you utilize a sensory backpack, there is a card with a QR code that also links to our sensory friendly visit survey. Thank you for your feedback!

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Sponsorship Opportunities
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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. 

You can support the animals residing at Robinson Nature Center with an annual sponsorship. Each sponsorship comes with a package of benefits and make great gifts! 

Planetarium/Full-dome films – $3,000-$10,000

Robinson Nature Center’s “NatureSphere” is the only planetarium in Howard County offering regular programs for the public. The Center partners with sponsors to acquire new, exciting, full-dome films for public viewing. Become a Tier 1 or Tier 2 sponsor by sponsoring the cost of a license agreement for one of these films.

Tier 1 – $5,001-$10,000

  • Thank you screen at the beginning of public showings of the planetarium movie for the duration of the license agreement (between 5 and 20 years)
  • Private showing of the film for employees prior to film “opening” to the public
  • Recognition in the planetarium film brochure

Tier 2 – $3,000-$5,000

  • Thank you screen at the beginning of public showings of the planetarium movie for the duration of the license agreement (between 5 and 20 years)
  • 20 complimentary tickets for planetarium programming
  • Recognition in the planetarium film brochure

School Field Trip – $3,500

The center is the host to many school field trips each year. Your sponsorship covers the cost of a field trip program and busing for a group of students from schools serving populations where 75% or more of the students are in the Free & Reduced Meal program (Title 1 schools). Choose a school close to your business or donate to support any of these schools. In return for your generosity, receive...

  • Recognition through a thank you social media post
  • Thank you screen on our lobby digital screen for a year
  • Thank you slide for one month at the HCRP headquarters' digital screen
  • Sponsor recognition in the Nature Center’s classroom spaces during the field trip
  • Sponsor recognition on the Nature Center’s Field Trip webpage

Outdoor Structure or Play Elements – $2,000

The center includes a Children’s Garden, Nature Play Area and Trail system. Help us engage visitors through sponsoring new components for these areas (ex: sculptures, instruments, and planters). In return for your generosity, receive...

  • Recognition on plaque for new element for the duration of the element’s lifetime
  • Thank you post on social media
  • Thank you post on our lobby digital screen for a year

The Nature Center – $1,500

Help support the nature center’s mission. Donations support tree and garden plantings, live animal care costs, educational programming and Discovery room games, books and toys. In return for your generosity, receive a...

  • Thank you post on social media
  • Thank you post on our lobby digital screen for a year

Animal Sponsorship – $60 

  • Place your name on digital signs for a year at the nature center.
  • Receive a certificate of sponsorship, a fact sheet about the animal, and a special gift*.
  • Get the opportunity to experience a private, behind-the-scenes encounter with all of our animals.
  • Receive a “letter from camp” (a mid-year update) from your sponsored animal.

Touch Tank Sponsorship – $25 

  • Get your name on digital signs at the nature center (to celebrate your partnership with our touch tank program for one year).
  • Receive a certificate of sponsorship and a special gift* celebrating aquatic animals.

*Gift subject to change based upon availability.

Contact the front desk at 410-313-0400 for details.

For Program Participants
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Programs, Camps, Home School and Special Events
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We offer over 250 different public programs throughout the course of a year. From nature walks, to outdoor puppet shows and from planetarium programs to tastings, there is something for everyone to enjoy!

We offer monthly home school classes for ages 4-12. Staff from the Center lead home schoolers in nature and science explorations using the Center's grounds and resources to engage students. Click on the links below to register for classes.

During the summer, we offer numerous camp experiences for ages 2-3 with their parents and ages 4-12 without a parent. Click on the links below to find out more and to register.

Check out our upcoming program calendar with the next three weeks of programming happening at Robinson by clicking here. Alternately, you can use the links below and sort by date using the filter. 

Below is a listing of the programs and camps offered throughout the year. 
If nothing is offered currently, please check back.

Pre-K (0-5 yrs)
Nature & EnvironmentOutdoor PreK ClassesPre-Home School ClassesParent/Child ProgramsOutdoor Puppet ShowsPlanetarium ProgramsTake Nature Home ProgramsFamily Programs

Youth (5-12 yrs)
Nature & EnvironmentHome School ClassesJunior NaturalistPlanetarium ProgramsTake Nature Home ProgramsFamily Programs

Teens & Tweens (11-17 yrs)
Nature & EnvironmentHome School ClassesJunior NaturalistPlanetarium programsTake Nature Home ProgramsFamily Programs

Adults (18 yrs +)
Nature & Environment: Nature walksTastingsLadies Night Out ProgramsPlanetarium ProgramsFamily Programs

Active Adults (55 yrs +)
Nature & Environment Nature walks, Tastings, Ladies Night Out programsPlanetarium programsFamily Programs

 

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Forms
Content

Visit our Forms & Publications page for all required forms. 

For Instructors
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Field Trip Planning and Title 1 Sponsorships
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Helpful hints for your field trip planning 

Check out all of our offering in this short video.

  • We begin accepting requests for Fall and Winter field trips (September - February) the Wednesday after Memorial Day (May 31, 2021 for the 2021-2022 school year).
  • We begin accepting requests for Spring and Summer field trips (March - August) on the 4th Monday in August (August 23, 2021 for the 2021-2022 school year).
  • We offer on-site field trips at the Nature Center, Robinson on the Road programs (brought to your school) and virtual field trips. Each program has a separate request form.
  • Outdoor seating is available for field trip lunches at the Nature Center (weather-dependent). Please note, if your field trip is larger than 30 students, we will need to rotate groups through the outdoor seating area.
  • Because our field trips are first-come, first-served, we cannot "hold" dates. To secure your desired date, you must complete and submit a field trip request form, Robinson on the Road request form or virtual field trip request form. Please submit the form prior to submitting your requested date to your school admin for approval. If you wait to submit a field trip request form until admin approves your date, you may lose your date due to someone else booking it before you. If your administration does not approve your date, you may always re-schedule or cancel 30 days prior to the field trip without penalty.
  • Please submit your request form for field trips at the Nature Center at least one month in advance of the field trip date you are requesting. Robinson on the Road programs and virtual field trips should be requested at least two weeks in advance of the field trip date you are requesting. You should receive an email confirmation once your form has been submitted.
  • All field trip communication (confirmation forms, teachers' packets, schedules and invoices) will be provided via email. Please add [email protected] to your email safe list to ensure that you receive these documents.
  • If you see any changes that need to be made to the schedule or the number of students and adults that will be attending the field trip, please call Ellen Reinecke at 410-313-0407 at least one week in advance of your trip so that the nature center can accommodate any changes. The nature center cannot guarantee accommodations for groups that fail to make requested changes known prior to the day of their trip.
  • We recognize that you may wish to cancel for a variety of reasons, but our policy encourages early decisions as to not affect other schools. All cancellation requests must be submitted to the Nature Center in writing at least 30 days prior to the field trip. If a field trip is cancelled less than 30 days prior to the scheduled date, the cancellation will be subject to a 20% administrative fee. The fee is calculated based on the total cost of the scheduled field trip. This policy also applies to schools that are considered a ‘no-show’ for their confirmed field trip. 

The Friends of the Robinson Nature Center provide sponsorship 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.)

 

Title
Field Trips at Robinson Nature Center
Content

Check out all of our field trip options in our Field Trip Brochure

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Robinson On the Road
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Robinson on the Road (Programs brought to your school)
We offer programs that can travel to your school, library or day care center. Full offerings are listed below. To book, please fill out the in-school program request form. For booking questions, call 410-313-0407. If you are a Title 1 or Title 1 TSA school, please note that there are a limited number of scholarships available from the James and Anne Robinson Foundation to cover the cost of bringing Robinson on the Road to your school. When booking, please mention your intent to apply for the scholarship. 

Hands-on Nature
Expose your students to a variety of nature’s sights and sounds in the comfort of your own classroom! The Nature Center’s staff lead students in an exploration of animal mounts, fur, skulls, feathers, shells, and more. Your students can get hands-on with nature like never before. Learn what makes a bird a bird and a mammal a mammal as we explore the five different groups of animals with backbones.
HCPSS: Q1 & Q4, Kindergarten; Q1, 1st
Grade; Q4, 2nd Grade; Q1 & Q4, 3rd Grade; Q4, 4th
Grade & Q4, 5th Grade
NGSS Standards: 1-LS1-1, 2-LS4-1, 3-LS4-2, 3-LS4-3, 4-LS1-2 and 5-LS2-1
All grades / $175 (1st program); $150 (each additional program)

We Are Scientists
Do all scientists wear lab coats? In this engaging program, your class not only learns that there are many different types of scientists, they have the chance to “become” different scientists. Students move between various stations, make observations and manipulate special tools used by scientists. Enjoy watching your students investigate birds, insects, rocks, archaeological objects, and more. This program is a great way to get students excited about science investigations for the remainder of your school year!
HCPSS: Q1, Kindergarten
ELA-Literacy Common Core State Standards Connections:
SL.K.1, SL.K.3, SL.K.4, SL.K.5, SL.K.6, RI.K.10
Math Common Core State Standards Connections: K.MD.3
K-2nd grade / $175 (1st program); $150 (each additional program)

Variation Celebration
Why don’t all sunflowers grow to the same height? Why are some turtles’ shells different shapes? Even within a single species of plant or animal, variety exists. The Nature Center staff lead your students in a hands-on exploration that simplifies the complex concept of variation. At stations, students investigate everything from tree branches to insects to skulls in order to determine whether two different specimens are the same species. Students are delighted and surprised as they solve these natural riddles and gain a better understanding of variation among species.
NGSS Standards: 3-LS3-1; HCPSS: Q1, 3rd grade
3rd-5th grade / $175 (1st program); $150 (each additional program)

Virtual Power Tour
In this exciting program, investigate your energy use and explore energy sources using virtual reality technology. Travel to the sea floor where oil is extracted and to a farm where wind turbines generate electricity. Visualize what makes fossil fuel non-renewable and inspect the technology that allows renewable energy sources (like wind and the sun) to be converted into energy. Each student will use their own pair of VR goggles as the Nature Center staff guides them in an investigation of our non-renewable fuels and renewable sources.
NGSS Standards: 4-ESS3-1; HCPSS: Q1, 4th grade
3rd-5th grade / $200 (1st program); $175 (each additional program)

Di-Skull-very
Explore the fascinating world of animal adaptations through hands-on exploration of skulls, pelts and tracks. The Nature Center staff teach students to use these clues to determine how animals may have lived, what they ate, whether they were predators or prey, and how their coats help them survive. Students work in pairs to identify a mystery animal using only its skull, then present evidence on how an animal’s coat is specialized for that species and how it helps them survive.
NGSS Standards: 4-LS1-1 HCPSS: Q4, 4th grade
4th-6th grade $175 (1st program); $150 (each additional program)

NEW! A Bunch of Bones
We bring hands-on experiences to your students’ genetics learning! Using real world examples of how species have evolved to serve their survival needs, students measure and classify structures of different animal skulls of both predator and prey species. We teach skull ID clues and students determine how specific animals are adapted to their lifestyles as predator or prey by examining eye placement, the presence or absence of a sagittal crest and teeth types.
NGSS Standards: MS. LS2-2 HCPSS: Q1, 7th Grade
All grades $175 (1st program); $150 (each additional program)

NEW! Vectors of Disease
Students can apply knowledge of disease transmission to real world scenarios in this challenging experience. Students examine case studies of patients with tick-borne illnesses along with evidence (including the type of tick found on the patient, the symptoms and the appearance of disease-causing organisms under the microscope). Students then examine their own patient case studies and determine the specific disease by synthesizing information they’ve collected from a patient case report, tick identification via dichotomous key and histological investigation using microscopes. Please note that teachers must secure microscopes from their school for this program or rent microscopes from Robinson Nature Center for an additional fee.
NGSS Standards: MS.LS1-1, MS.LS1-2, MS.LS2-2 HCPSS: Q2, 7th Grade
All grades $175 (1st program); $150 (each additional program)

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Virtual Field Trips
Content

Bring the wonder of nature virtually to your students!

• Hosted on Zoom or Google Meets
• Most use Nearpod for engaging each student in interactive activities
• Live interactions with environmental educators at the Robinson Nature Center
• Includes a pre-recorded virtual hike or planetarium presentation
• Accommodates up to 50 students for a 45-minute long experience

Trip Offerings

Wildlife Wonders 
Grades K-1 | $90 per session (1 hour)
From foxes and finches to frogs and fish, introduce your students to common kinds of animals with an emphasis on the five vertebrate groups (birds, mammals, fish, reptiles and amphibians). Investigate the similarities and differences between vertebrate groups through props and mounts. Older students further explore life cycles and gain an understanding of how young animals, particularly amphibians, can differ drastically in appearance from their parents. Along your virtual hike, search for signs of each type of creature and meet a live animal along the way.
NGSS Standard: 1-LS3-1
 

Earth’s Place in Space
Grades 1-2 / $90 per session (1 hour)
The nighttime sky is dynamic but what exactly causes it to change from one evening to the next? In our virtual planetarium, witness the sunset and watch the transformation of our sky as the stars appear. Young students engage in making observations about the world around them as they see the movement patterns of objects in the sky. Interact with models showing Earth’s movements in relation to the sun and moon. Investigate the surface of Earth’s moon with an engaging experiment. HCPSS Recommended Field Experience: 1st grade, Quarter 2.
NGSS Standards: 1-ESS1-1, 1-ESS1-2


Happening Habitats
Grades 2-3 | $90 per session (1 hour)
Adaptations are everywhere! Using organisms found throughout the nature center, discover how special features of plants and animals allows them to survive in specific habitats. Compare man-made inventions to features found on plants and animals, and determine how humans and organisms use these features to meet their basic needs. Along the virtual hike, pass through various habitat types while examining clues to the survival of animals and plants that call each habitat “home.”
NGSS Standards: 1-LS1-1, 2-LS4-1, 3-LS4-3, 3-LS4-4 and 4-LS1-1


Going Buggy
Grades 2-4 / $90 per session (1 hour)
Insects are incredible! Through mounts and specimen displays, discover the diverse world of insects. Investigate what sets an insect apart from other invertebrates and then create your own insect based on your knowledge. Make observations about the incredible transformations insects make. Meet a live animal to learn more about an insects important role in the food chain. Concepts include life cycles, environmental influence, and adaptations. HCPSS Recommended Field Experience: 3rd Grade, Quarter 4.
NGSS Standards: 3-LS1-1, 3-LS3-2


Starlight, How Bright?
Grades 4-5 | $90 per session (1 hour)
Witness the wonders of the night sky in this virtual planetarium program! In our virtual planetarium, observe Earth’s relationship to our sun and moon. See how Earth’s movement though space causes patterns in the appearance of stars and other celestial objects. Explore the constellations and learn why stars change position seasonally. Investigate the scale of our solar system and the planets within it. Discover different types of stars, what makes them appear brighter or dimmer in our night sky, and how to estimate the number of stars for a given area.
NGSS Standards: 5-ESS1-1
 

NEW! A Bunch of Bones
Middle School | $90 per session (1 hour)
Look at how structures have evolved to serve function by comparing animal skulls of both predator and prey species. We provide a live presentation teaching you skull ID clues, and then students use PearDeck to look for evidence of how specific animals are adapted to their lifestyles as predator or prey by examining eye placement, presence or absence of a sagittal crest and teeth types.
NGSS, MS.LS2-2
 

NEW! Vectors of Disease
Middle School | $90 per session (1 hour)
Students can apply their learning about disease transmission to real world scenarios in this challenging experience. Students examine various case studies of patients with tick-borne illnesses. We present a case study and provide various evidence including the type of tick found on the patient, the symptoms and the appearance of disease-causing organisms under the microscope. Students then get the chance to examine their own patient case studies and argue which tick-borne illness is causing their patient’s symptoms by synthesizing information they’ve collected from a patient case report, tick identification via dichotomous key and histological investigation.
NGSS, MS.LS1-1, MS.LS1-2, MS.LS2-2

Title
Nature Treasure Chest Rentals
Content

Open the Lid to Nature Discovery!
Are you a teacher, home school parent or scout leader looking to give your kids a hands-on nature experience? Allow us to introduce the new Nature Treasure Chest Rental program through the Robinson Nature Center.

What are Nature Treasure Chests?
Robinson Nature Center has created four thematic “treasure chests” full of natural objects that bring the wonder of nature into your classroom or home. From pelts and skulls to books and activities, these trunks can provide valuable teaching tools for your nature and science lessons. Nature Treasure Chest themes include: Reptiles & Amphibians, Nocturnal Animals, White-tailed Deer and
Water History & Heritage.

How do I rent a Nature Treasure Chest?
To rent a Nature Treasure Chest, you may contact Robinson Nature Center by phone at 410-313-0400 or visit the Nature Center and request one from our front desk. Nature Treasure Chests are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are rented for two weeks at a time. Payment and
rental agreement required.

What is the cost of renting a Nature Treasure Chest?
Each Nature Treasure Chest can be rented for $35 for a period of two weeks. Additional fees are assessed in the incidence of loss or damage to a trunk item or if the trunk is not returned by its due date.

Title
Scout Programs
Content

Let us help you earn badges!
We can help you earn the badges listed below or other similar badges related to these topics. Programs range between 1.5 and 2 hours depending on requirements.
*Asterisk denotes two-hour programs

Nature Badges
• Eco Learner (Daisy)
• Eco Friend, Bugs*, Senses* (Brownie)
• Flowers*, Animal Habitats* (Junior)
• Trees* (Cadette)
• Water* (Ambassador)
• My Tiger Jungle, In the Wild (Tiger Cub)
• Paws on the Path, Call of the Wild (Wolf Cub)
• Furs, Feathers, and Ferns* (Bear Cub)
• Earth Rocks*, Into the Woods*, Into the Wild* (Webelo)

Space/Planetarium Badges
• Sky is the Limit (Tiger Cub)
• Astronomy (Boy Scout)
• Space Science Explorer (Daisy)
• Space Science Adventurer (Brownie)
• Space Science Investigator (Junior)
• Space Science Researcher, Night Owl (Cadette)
• Sky (Senior)

Sustainability Badges
• Make the World A Better Place, Use Resources Wisely (Daisy)
• LEED Building/Grounds Tour

Outdoor Exploration Badges
• Hiker*, Outdoor Adventurer* (Brownie)
• Geocaching* (Junior)
• Paws on the Path (Wolf Cub)

Science Badges
• Home Scientist (Brownie)
• Super Science (Bear Cub)
• Earth Rocks* (Webelo)

Private Planetarium Experiences
Looking to meet space-themed badge requirements? When booking a planetarium experience for your troop, reservations must be made three weeks or more in advance of the program. The cost includes admission to the nature center for your troop and an hour-long, customized experience
led by an educator in the planetarium to meet badge requirements of your choosing. Each planetarium program can accommodate up to 40 people (scouts/adults/siblings). There is no minimum group size, though the following fees apply:
1 hr private planetarium program:
$15/participant ($250 minimum)
* Participants include all scouts, chaperones, troop leaders and siblings.

Reservations & Pricing
Reservations are required for all programs and must be made at least two weeks in advance. Each scout program can accommodate a max of 20 participants. There is no minimum group size, though there is a minimum fee dependent on program length.
1.5 hr programs: $12/Scout ($120 minimum)
2 hr programs: $15/Scout ($150 minimum)
*All children over the age of 3 will be charged the cost of the program, including siblings. Adults will be charged the $5 admission fee for the Nature Center. Troop leaders are Free.

Cancellation Policy
Cancellation requests must be submitted in writing at least 30 days prior to the scheduled scout program. Cancellation requests received less than 30 days prior to the scheduled date or “no shows” are subject to a 20% administrative fee. The fee is calculated based on the total cost of the scheduled scout program.

Requesting a Scout Program
Scout programs at Robinson Nature Center include admission to the nature center and a naturalist-led program that allows your scout troop to complete requirements necessary for selected badges.

Title
Trainings & Teacher Resources
Content

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 include:

Growing Up WILD
Project WILD
Getting Little Feet WET
Project WET
Project Learning Tree
Flying Wild

There are currently no scheduled trainings at this time.

Private and custom training can be scheduled for groups of 10 or more. For more information, or to schedule a custom training, contact Kevin Costin at 410-313-0410 or [email protected].

For Volunteers
Title
General Information
Content

We are extremely grateful and appreciative of our amazingly skilled volunteers! COVID-19 Safety procedures are in place for all volunteer activities currently.

If you would like additional information about volunteer opportunities at the Robinson Nature Center please contact:

Monica Horan, Assistant Volunteer Coordinator at 410-313-0674 or [email protected] 

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.

Title
Volunteer Roles & Requirements
Content

Volunteer Roles

  • Public Programs 
  • Special Events
  • Craft Preparation
  • Photography
  • Touch Tank Docent
  • Discovery Cart Docent
  • Live Animal Discovery Cart
  • Representing the Nature Center at Outreach Events
  • Animal Care
  • Trail Work & Invasive Species Removal
  • Gardening

Volunteer Requirements

  • In-person interview with one of our Volunteer Coordinators
  • Satisfactory Results of Criminal Background Check – this applies to all Robinson volunteers 18 years of age or older
  • Building Tour with one of our Volunteer Coordinators (30 minutes)
  • Applicable Trainings – there are online trainings that are required before you can volunteer.  Other training will be “on the job” and there are specific trainings with sign up spots in Better Impact that are either in-person or online that allow you to sign up for more variety of volunteer opportunities.
  • Physical requirements – ability to stand for more than one hour, lift 10 to 40 pounds depending on the role, walk unpaved trails
  • Ability to be respectful of others and follow our Volunteer Handbook policies
  • Typical hours – We are open Wednesday through Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday 12pm-5pm.  We sometimes have volunteer opportunities outside of these hours, but in general our opportunities are during our regular business hours. Volunteer shifts range in length from one to four hours.
  • Age Requirement - All Robinson volunteers must be at least 16 years old. This includes gardening volunteers.
  • Commitment: 5 hours minimum volunteering per year
Title
Group Conservation Projects
Content

Would you like to bring your corporate, school, or other group to Robinson Nature Center for conservation activities? We run various programs allowing groups to participate in tree plantings and invasive weed removal throughout the year. Please submit this form and we will contact you to schedule a project appropriate for your group.

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.

Title
Scout Projects & Awards
Content

Scout Volunteering
If you are a girl scout or a boy scout looking for a project, 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 workdays 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 Workday, please contact the Nature Center’s Volunteer Coordinator, Brian Campbell at 410-313-0406 or email him  at [email protected]

Scout Projects & Awards
Offered in spring and fall, we facilitate 1.5-2 hour volunteer project days for scout groups ranging
from stream clean up, tree planting, invasive plant removal, trail maintenance and gardening.
Requirements to participate: Ratio of 1 leader to 12 or less scouts. Sign up in advance. 60 max group size.

Looking for projects to earn a Silver or Gold Award or an Eagle Scout Project?
Please contact the Nature Center’s Volunteer Coordinator at 410-313-0406 if interested in these opportunities.

Title
Maryland Master Naturalist Certification
Content

The Maryland Master Naturalist Certification and volunteer training program is a special opportunity for volunteers who want to learn about and share knowledge of the natural world in Maryland. Individuals accepted into the program receive 60 hrs + of instruction and participate in field study with natural history experts. Master Naturalists give back 40 hours of volunteer service. Upon completion of the program's requirements, participants are awarded their Certification as a Maryland Master Naturalist. The fee for the certification is $250 and is due to the University of Maryland upon acceptance into the program. 

Master Naturalist Requirements:  

  • Complete 60 hours of classroom and field training
  • Give back, within one year, 40 hours of approved volunteer service to your training site
  • For continued certification, perform 40 hours of approved volunteer service and 8 hours of advanced training annually

For more information about the program, visit the Maryland Master Naturalist Website at: https://extension.umd.edu/masternaturalist

Our next class of Maryland Master Naturalists is currently being planned. Our 2020 class graduates spring of 2021. Congratulations!

If you have questions about the Master Naturalist Volunteer Training, please contact Kevin Costin at 410-313-0410, kcostin@howardcountymd.gov.  

Title
Frequently Asked Questions
Content

How often do I have to volunteer?

Starting in 2021, we require that you volunteer five hours per year in order to remain active.  If you have a special circumstance that prevented you from volunteering, please let us know.

Do I need a background check?

Yes, all Robinson Volunteers, including gardeners, must get a background check, unless you are under the age of 18. It must be renewed each year.

How much does the background check cost?

It is free for you!  The county pays for the background check. 

Can I bring my child/children with me while volunteering?

No children are allowed to come with you.  We need you to have your full attention on your volunteering tasks.

Can my child volunteer?

Your child can apply to become a volunteer if they are at least 14 years old.

I have a child who is 14-17 and is a volunteer. Can they volunteer without me?

They may volunteer without you; however, you must be on the property while they are volunteering.

What is the link to log in to Better Impact? 

https://app.betterimpact.com/Volunteer/Main

If I cannot make my shift due to illness, how should I let you know?

Please let us know as soon as possible by calling our front desk at 410-313-0400

Is there a place I can put my belongings while I volunteer?

Yes, we have lockers that you can use and bring your own lock if you like. Or you may bring your belongings with you. We recommend that you not leave valuables in your vehicle in our parking lot.

Can I volunteer with animals?

We have several ways that you can volunteer with animals.  We are always in need of help with weekly turtle tank water changes.  We also have Live Animal Docent Cart Opportunities and Touch Tank Opportunities, once you have completed 25 hours of volunteering with us and once you are 16 years old.

What should I wear while volunteering?

Please always wear your volunteer T shirt and volunteer badge as well as closed toed shoes and clothing appropriate for the weather.  We like to go outside!

If I have questions, who should I contact?

You may contact Monica Horan at 410-313-0674 or [email protected] with any volunteer questions. 

If I need computer help to sign up, whom should I contact?

You may contact Monica Horan at 410-313-0674 or [email protected] with any volunteer questions. We have trainings in Better Impact that you can sign up for if you wish!

Interested in a Rental Venue?
Title
Weddings and Rentals
Content

Weddings

Celebrate your special day at Robinson Nature Center for your:

  • Small, intimate outdoor ceremony among our 18-acre property
  • Large outdoor ceremony on our Mezzanine Patio
  • Tent our Mezzanine Patio to have an outdoor reception overlooking our forest.
  • Cozy up in our auditorium for a smaller, indoor reception or ceremony
  • Contact the Nature Center Rental Coordinator at 410-313-0410 to discuss options and pricing.

Rentals

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. Read the Robinson's Rental Guide brochure to learn more about rental options.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the nature center open for event rentals?
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.

Are there additional fees for after-hours events?
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.

Do I need to include setup and cleanup time in my rental?
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.

Is alcohol permitted during event rentals?
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.

Is a security deposit required?
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.

What is the cancellation policy for rentals?
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.

Title
Rental Frequently Asked Questions
Content

When is the nature center open for event rentals?
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.

Are there additional fees for after-hours events?
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.

Do I need to include setup and cleanup time in my rental?
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.

Is alcohol permitted during event rentals?
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.

Is a security deposit required?
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.

What is the cancellation policy for rentals?
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.

Title
Birthday Parties Info and Packages
Content

Indoor or Outdoor Birthday Parties Available

  • Saturdays: 10am-noon or 2-4pm
  • Sundays:  2-4pm
  • Our outdoor area is available seasonally and can be booked from April 1 to October 31.
  • All options include a $200 security deposit.
     

Packages
If you are interested in more than a room rental for your birthday party, we offer packages that include the following:

  • All of the amenities of a room rental, plus a program led by a staff naturalist. Programs last approx. 30 minutes unless otherwise noted.
  • A complimentary, half-hour prior to your party’s start time to set-up. (Arrive at 9:30am to set up for 10am parties or at 1:30pm for a 2pm parties.)
  • Invitations for 20 guests. 

Paper decorations, birthday banner and table coverings. (Please note that the decorations and banner are to remain in the room after the party.)

Please note that all packages require a $200 refundable security deposit in addition to package fees.

Birthday party packages are listed in age order. Looking for adult & teen options? Ask about our hike, full-dome movie and live animal programs!

Legend

  • C = can book classroom space for party
  • O = can book outdoor space for party between April & October

Nature Puppet Theater
Your little one will be the star of the show in this fun-filled puppet adventure! Let your imagination run wild and watch as our animal puppets come to life! After the puppet show, we’ll follow our puppet friends on a short walk along our trails or through our exhibits to learn about the real animals that live in and around the nature center. This party includes a short, live animal encounter.
Ages: 2 years and up Package cost: $325 C,O

Butterfly & Bug Bonanza (offered seasonally, between April & October)
Each birthday is a big step in the life of your child. In this birthday program, children discover how butterflies and moths change in different stages of their lives. Each participant dons a pair of wings and takes a journey along our trails or through our exhibits. 
Ages: 3 years and up Package cost: $325 C,O

Nature Extravaganza
Are you a lover of all things nature? In this birthday program, you’ll hike the trails with a naturalist and discover enchanting seasonal changes that happen each year during your birth month. Go on a seasonal scavenger hunt, play nature-themed games, discover the signs of animals that frequent the trails, encounter natural phenomena and more.
Ages: Appropriate for all ages Package cost: $325 C,O

Astronaut-In-Training
Discover what it takes to be an astronaut in this fun-filled party program! Take part in space-themed challenges using astronaut gear or complete a "mission to the moon" challenge. Add on a planetarium movie to this party for an extra adventure!
Ages: 3 years and up Package cost: $325 C,O

Woodland Fairies
Come explore the magic of nature! Learn about the plants, animals and amazing natural phenomena that make up a fairy’s kingdom. Each participant “becomes” a fairy and journeys through Robinson Nature Center’s exhibits or trails searching for signs that fairies, gnomes or other woodland creatures are nearby.
Ages: 3 years and up Package cost: $325 C,O

Full-Dome Movie Party
Ready to take your birthday party out of this world? This birthday program takes place in the digital planetarium. You and your friends will find yourselves immersed in a full-dome feature film experience. With many films to choose from, you have options that include looking at the stars along with Big Bird and Elmo (One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure) and witnessing the birth of a Star (We Are Stars). List of our full-dome feature films.
Ages: 3 years and up Package cost: $400 C,O

Jurassic Jamboree
It’s prehistoric party time! Have fun with fossils and other artifacts found in nature. Take a short hike to our dinosaur dig site where you uncover bones just like a paleontologist! Learn about creatures that lived in Maryland long ago, and those that live here today. Enjoy discovering the signs of animals that visit the trails and have a roaring good time!
Ages: 3 years and up Package cost: $325 C,O

Snow Much Fun!
Enjoy a winter wonderland during any season! In this cold-weather-inspired program, staff bring out furs of different animals for party-goers to touch and teach how different animals survive the cold winter months. Then, enjoy a winter frolic that we’ve brought indoors for you and your guests! In an area separate from your party room, participants will have approximately 20 minutes of self-guided time to enjoy an indoor “snowball” fight, play winter games and dig in “snow."
Ages: 3 years and up Package cost: $400 C

Nature Expedition Challenge
In this exciting birthday program, parents can select from an array of activities that engage children in skills used by early explorers. Activities include learning how to build shelters out of natural materials, learning how to navigate with compasses, survival scenario challenges or safe fire-starting/tending. 
Ages: 6 years and up Package cost: $325 C,O

Amazing Animals
Can you breathe through your skin, climb a tree with no hands or carry your house on your back? Come discover the animals that can! Through exploration of animal mounts, fur, skulls and shells, get an up-close experience with animals and their amazing abilities. Along the way you’ll get to meet live reptiles and amphibians.
Ages: 4 years and up Package cost: $325 C,O

Ex-stream Encounters
(Available seasonally from April-October)
Love the water? Why not celebrate down by the river? This extended* party option takes you and your guests down to the Middle Patuxent River to explore life in the stream and splash around! Guests can choose their level of participation; we recommend guests wear clothes and shoes they can get wet, and bring a towel and a change of shoes. In the event of rain, an hour-long indoor experience featuring stream and sea life encounters and fun activities will be substituted. This party lasts 2 and ½ hours to allow time for guests to reach the river. The naturalist-led portion of the program lasts 1 hour and includes the hike to and from the river. Please note trails are unpaved.
Ages: 6 years and up Extended Package cost: $425 C,O


Birthday Party "Add-Ons"

Looking to extend the fun a little farther? Want us to handle your tableware? Consider one of the following add-ons.

Reptile Encounter
You may add a 15-minute reptile encounter to certain party packages for $40. Your birthday boy/girl and his/her friends can touch and pose with one of our turtles or snakes while learning about what makes it so special! Please note, this does not extend the length of your two-hour party package, but adds an additional 15 minutes of programmed-time to your package. Room rentals and Nature Puppet Theater parties are not eligible for this add-on.

Party Favor Bags
We can provide party favor bags full of goodies from our nature gift shop. Each bag includes a number of items such as a large tumbled stone, a temporary tattoo, a sheet of stickers, and a twig pencil. Items are subject to availability. The cost is $5 per bag for up to 20 bags. Custom gift bags are available at an additional cost. Call 410-313-0400 for details.

Full-Dome Movie
You may add a 30-minute, full-dome movie in our domed-theater and planetarium to a party package for $120. This does not extend the time of your two-hour party package, but adds an additional 30 minutes of programmed time to your package. Please note that room rentals are not eligible for this add-on.

Lawn Games
For birthday parties in our outdoor area, we offer a selection of lawn games that you can set up and use during your party. The cost is $50, and all lawn games must be returned at the end of your event.

Compostable Tableware
Want to reduce the eco-footprint of your party? Robinson can provide compostable tableware (plates, bowls, flatware) and arrange for collection and deposit of these items at Howard County’s industrial composting site. Call for package pricing & options. Compostable tableware packages must be purchased at least two weeks prior to the event date.

Title
Birthday Parties Frequently Asked Questions
Content

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 20 guests, what do I do? 
Please note that maximum occupancy of the birthday rooms (20 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 20 guests, please speak to the Rental Coordinator about renting a larger space. If more than 20 guests arrive on the day of your party, only 20 will be permitted to enter the birthday party room. Outdoor birthday parties are limited to 40 guests with up to 20 children total.

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 recover 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.

Are there options to tie my child’s gifts to the Nature Center?
Yes! In lieu of gifts, your child may ask their friends to contribute toward an animal sponsorship in the child’s name, which benefits the child and our resident animals.

What films can I select for a Planetarium Birthday Party Package or Add-On?
Please see the Planetarium information section for a listing of films you can choose from.

Job Opportunities

Robinson Nature Center is looking for environmentally-conscious, nature-loving individuals to join our team!

Robinson Nature Center in spring with blooming flowers
Tags
Recreation & Parks

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