happyly approved

Locust Grove Nature Center

7777 Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda, MD 20817

Wednesday through Sunday 1 pm - 6 pm, Closed Mondays and Tuesdays


social-distancing, days-out-with-baby, weekend, outdoor-adventures, days-out-with-big-kids, autumn-days, days-out-with-little-kids, days-out-with-toddlers, summer-days, run, hike, spring-days, exercise-oriented-outings

Wonder at Nature at Locust Grove Nature Center in Bethesda, Maryland!

This nature center is an inviting space that visually draws you in immediately as you approach the creative outdoor exhibits before even setting foot in the nature center building. Once inside, the friendly naturalists engaged us immediately, happy to experience all the space has to offer with us, which really piqued the children's curiosity right off the bat. We met the resident animals one by one, with patient attention to the many questions that followed for each. There was an adorable natural wood playset with animals that lit up the kids imagination and a handmade tic tac toe board with rocks as pieces. Exhibits were carefully thought out and placed neatly around the space in stations, and large picture windows provided a beautiful view of the outdoor exhibit area.

After exploring the interior, we ventured outside in light rain to enjoy the Nature Exploration Area with a sandpit, building blocks and logs, musical features and a stage, jumping stumps, a footbridge and more. We viewed the frog pond and pollinator garden before heading on a short hike back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the earth, which passes a dig site where tools are provided to expose a life-size replica of a dinosaur fossil. We wandered a bit more through the woods along the trail and took in its beauty before heading back to the nature center to thank our new friends for their informative and enthusiastic hospitality. Before we departed, the resident naturalist encouraged us to check out a chrysalis growing on a small cherry tree in the parking lot, which was a lovely additional piece of nature knowledge that eased the transition back to the car when our little nature lovers would have preferred to stay.

Be sure to bring your own picnic or snack if you're going to explore for a while, there's not a lot of good options close by.


Parking Restrooms Good for All Ages Admission Free
Thoughtfully captured by:
Randi Banks
Randi (Betts) Banks grew up in New York and graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. She moved to Washington, D.C. more than thirteen years ago with her husband, Eaghmon, and they love to explore the area and seek out adventure, now with their two young children along for the ride. Growing up right near the beach, they are happiest when on or near the water, so exploring the rivers, lakes, and streams in the greater DC area is a favorite pastime for their family. In addition to serving as one of the Washington, DC area ambassadors, Randi is also the Editor in Chief and Co-founder of happyly.
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