Irvine Nature Center
Your Place to Explore Nature
11201 Garrison Forest Rd
Owings Mills, MD 21117
A four and a half year-old boy makes his way down a wooded trail. A butterfly hovers near him and he turns to observe its every move. Suddenly, he gets an idea…he can get this butterfly to listen to him. “Come here, little butterfly. I won’t hurt you,” he charms. He sticks out his tiny little finger. To the boy’s amazement, the butterfly lands for a few moments, before heading off to explore other sights and sounds in its natural world. This brief moment has left the boy, now the “butterfly whisper”, changed. He will forever feel connected with the natural world.
These are the magical moments that can be found at Irvine Nature Center, a 116-acre campus of woodlands, wetlands and meadows, including a 17,200 square building with green features in Owings Mills, MD. The Nature Center and its grounds serve as a beautiful backdrop for more than 500 educational programs attended by more than 20,000 visitors each year. In and around the walls of the Center, Irvine staff are inspiring children, families and adults to appreciate and respect the natural world; whether they find it while visiting a honeybee hive in the interactive exhibit hall, enjoying a trail walk in the woods or exploring the beautiful meadow at the overlook of Caves Valley.
Throughout the year, children, families and adults can expect to participate in a variety of programs – everything from Summer Nature Camps for children ages 2 – 15, the Doodlebugs Nature & Art Program for 3, 4 and 5 year-olds, Field Trips, Birthday Parties with exciting natural world themes. The Center also offers special events throughout the year, like Native Plant Seminar, workshops and a sale for plant enthusiasts which takes place on August 29th, and PumpkinFest, a fall harvest festival for families taking place October 17 and 18.
“Our tag line is Your Place to Explore Nature because we offer so many educational programs at Irvine that anyone can come here and find a way to connect with the natural world,” says Director of Education, Rob Mardiney. “In addition to our birthday parties and our Doodlebugs Nature & Art Program, some of the programs that families really enjoy are Campouts and Night Hikes. People are often amazed that they can find such a peaceful experience just outside of the 695 beltway.“
“Irvine Nature Center is not only a great place to have fun, but also a place where your children make connections with nature, spend more time exploring the outdoors, and learn the fundamentals of environmental stewardship. We invite families to visit us not just when the weather is warm but 365 days a year.“
Irvine Nature Center is free and open to the public from 9 – 5 Monday thru Friday and 9 – 6 Saturday and Sunday. (Note: hours will change to 9 – 5 daily effective September 1, 2009).
Article Date: 8/3/2009