RESERVATIONS: BOOK NOW ~ or call ~ 410-461-4636

Explore the Outdoors at the Robinson Nature Center 


Robinson Nature Center

The Robinson Nature Center trails feature a stream crossing and outstanding views.


The Robinson Nature Center in nearby Columbia is a wonderful place for lovers of the outdoors to experience Maryland’s stunning landscapes. (For more recommendations on the best things to do in Howard County, download our free area vacation guide!)

Open from Wednesday to Saturday, 9am-5pm, and Sunday from noon-5pm, you won’t find a better place to bridge the gap between people and nature. The Robinson Nature Center excels at connecting you with the environment in memorable and meaningful ways.

About the Robinson Nature Center

Established and maintained with a gift from James and Anne Robinson and their foundation, the Robinson Nature Center is owned and operated by the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks.

Situated on 18 acres of Howard County land, even the center itself is a marvel of contemporary technology paired with nature. 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.

Permanent Exhibits

The Chesapeake Bay Watershed exhibit stands out with a stunning, hand-painted floor map of the Bay. Equally impressive is the digital, tilting table display that allows you to “fly” through the Chesapeake watershed.

The Changing Lives, Changing Landscapes exhibit highlights artifacts and history from local land use. From native peoples to a model grist mill, you’ll experience the many layers of human life in Howard County.

The Life of the Forest exhibit shows what you might encounter out on the trails: the life hidden in logs and seasonal vernal pools on the forest floor; the mystery of the nighttime forest; and more.

Turn your eyes toward the stars in the audio-visual alcove featuring ViewSpace, a live-streaming feed from NASA’s Space Telescope Science Institute.

The Gift Shop itself is a great place to visit: a variety of sustainable goods like local honey, field guides, books, astronomy items, and locally made artisanal crafts all will tempt you to take them home as a wonderful souvenir.

The Robinson Nature Center Trails

The Robinson Nature Center features about a mile of trails. Portions of the trail are paved, while the majority of the trails traverse rugged, wooded terrain.

Programs at the Center

Come wearing good hiking boots: you’ll encounter a stream crossing and views of the Middle Patuxent River.

You may wish to visit the center for one of its special programs.

On Friday, February 3, an 18+ adult NatureSphere program features the full-dome movie Passport and a planetarium presentation of the night sky and space science.

On Saturday, February 11, a 21+ adult program will have you and your sweetheart making truffles and tasting wine. For $25 per person, you’ll learn how to roll delectable chocolate truffles and taste local wine. Each person will taste six wines and take home ten truffles—if you can resist eating them, that is.


Come stay with us at the historic Wayside Inn in Ellicott City. Treat yourself and your sweetheart to a weekend away and a truffle-making evening in Howard County this Valentine’s Day. Our free area vacation guide can help you plan your getaway!