Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Park

Visitor Services


EASTERN NATIONAL provides quality educational products and services to the visitors to America's national parks and other public trusts.

Eastern National operates 3 bookstores in Rock Creek Park. You can order online at: and select Rock Creek Park.

Nature Center

5200 Glover Road, NW

Open Wednesday through Sunday, 9:00 am. - 5.00 pm.
Closed on New Years Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
The Rock Creek Nature Center was first developed as a pilot project in the 1950s in the Peirce/Klingle Mansion. For many years, the mansion had served as a personal residence for a succession of tenants. Due to lack of maintenance, the building had become somewhat run-down, and the National Park Service decided to rehabilitate it for public use rather than return it to a private residence. The concept of a nature center was new to the park, so the Peirce/Klingle mansion's nature center served as a sort of experiment to give the park the experience needed to decide what to include in a permanent nature center.

The new, permanent Nature Center was opened on June 4, 1960. Meant to appeal primarily to young people, the Center's dedication ceremony was conducted entirely by children.

Today, the Rock Creek Nature Center is the major information center and focal point for activities related to the park's natural and cultural history. Exhibits tell about the park's wildlife and forest, and a library, open to all, has many books on natural history. A Discovery Room will encourage hands-on activities. An observation beehive is located on the back wall of the exhibit room. Visitors can watch the bees at work in the hive, visible through glass panes. The hive is connected to the outdoors by a plastic tube.

Guided nature walks and curriculum based environmental education programs take place daily. The Center hopes to instill an affection for wild places, the ability to find a sense of wonder in them, and discover the joys of the outdoors. Programs attempt to teach the concepts of ecology, to identify the local flora and fauna, and to understand man's interrelationship with nature. A wheelchair-accessible, self-guiding nature trail is nearby. The Center and all programs are accessible to wheelchairs.

The Nature Center encourages teachers and youth group leaders to use the facilities and staff during the week. Advance group reservations are required. A monthly calendar of activities is available upon request.