Programs & Events

Meadowside Nature Center offers quality programs featuring the natural and cultural history of Montgomery County, for people of all ages, interests, and abilities.

Group Programs

Meadowside Nature Center offers weekday programs for school groups, scouts, and other organized groups.

Discovering Wildlife

  • Exploring Habitats
    Plants and animals need food, water, shelter, and space. Students will investigate the four elements of a good habitat. Find out how human beings affect and are affected by natural habitats. Learn what we can do to protect the homes of our wildlife neighbors. Explore several outdoor habitats and look for signs of the animals that live there.
    Grade Level: Preschool – 2nd     
  • Adaptations and Survival
    Discover adaptations, life cycles, patterns, food availability, and survival strategies for the wildlife that call Montgomery County home. Teachers may request an emphasis on amphibians/reptiles, insects/bugs, birds, or butterflies.
    Grade Level:  Preschool – 4th
  • Adaptations and Energy Flow: It Came From Above (Birds of Prey)
    What makes birds of prey such successful hunters? Learn about food webs and the adaptations of these magnificent predators. Discover what they teach us about the world they inhabit. Learn about their feeding habits through an owl pellet dissection activity.
    Grade Level: 4th – 12th

Physical Science

  • Changing Seasons
    Fall, winter, spring, and summer—each season has its own blend of natural events and weather. Compare and contrast the characteristics of each season, and go outdoors to search for signs of the season. Learn about the many ways people, plants, and animals are affected and adapt to weather and seasonal change.
    Grade Level: Preschool  – 1st

People and Places

  • Human Activity Over Time: Native Ways
    Experience the daily life of Eastern Woodland Indians as they lived in our area over 1,000 years ago. Explore where they found shelter, how they prepared food, what they wore, and children’s roles. Discover the importance of certain plants and animals, and how deeply the Woodland Indians were connected to the natural world. Learn how they obtained tools, clothing, and food from plants, animals, bones, and stones.
    Grade Level: Preschool – 4th  
  • Celestial Patterns and Navigation: Geocache Adventure
    Journey to the planets by embarking on your own geocaching adventure along the meadows, forest, and streams of Rock Creek Regional Park. Each geocache along the journey is filled with fun facts about our solar system.
    Grade Level: 5th – 12th

Tips for a Successful Trip

  • We suggest a 5:1 student-to-adult chaperone ratio.
  • Chaperones are responsible for supervision and appropriate behavior of all students in their group.
  • Easy-to-read name tags are highly recommended.
  • Please be prompt! Late arrivals will result in shortened programs.
  • Dress appropriately for your program. We suggest outdoor clothing and appropriate shoes for hiking.
  • Do you have lunch plans? We do not allow food or drink inside the nature center. Ask about our first-come, first-served picnic pavilion.

Registration Information

What is the cost? $6 per student for an hour-long program. Some programs have a supplemental materials and/or activity fee.

To support Montgomery County schools in meeting the Maryland Environmental Literacy Graduation Requirement, programs for all K-12 Montgomery County students are FREE! Supplemental materials and/or activity fee may still apply.

  • Program requests are accepted up to a year in advance.
  • Have several program dates and times in mind when calling for reservations in case your first choice is unavailable.
  • Programs are available Tuesday through Friday.
  • Program times start on the half hour beginning at 9:30 a.m.
  • A $60 non-refundable deposit for all preschools and out-of-county groups is due for each program three weeks prior to the date you reserve.


Call Meadowside Nature Center at 301-258-4030 Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Summer Camps

Check back around January for next year’s schedule. Here are the other summers camps you missed this year:

  • Wee Little Farmers Camp: Join us for some down-home fun on the farm! Come on up to the Agricultural History Farm Park for a week filled with farm stories, activities, and crafts  We’ll even meet some real-live farm animals! A parent or caregiver must stay with each child throughout this camp. Camp meets at the Agricultural History Farm Park (18400 Muncaster Road, Derwood, Maryland), but direct questions to Meadowside Nature Center.
  • Go Wild Camp: Join us for a week of adventures learning the ultimate outdoor survival skills! Build a fort, try your hand at fishing, and learn how to build a fire, use a compass, and tie knots. We’ll take a day trip to an archery range and go hiking! To top off this exciting week, on Thursday night we’ll make a campfire and roast marshmallows before camping out in tents under the stars!
  • Wee Little Farmers Camp: Join us for some down-home fun on the farm! Come on up to the Agricultural History Farm Park for a week filled with farm stories, activities, and crafts  We’ll even meet some real-live farm animals! A parent or caregiver must stay with each child throughout this camp.
  • American Girl Camp: Enjoy some of the crafts, games, cooking, and adventures that your favorite American Girl characters loved! You will have five days full of AG-inspired fun based on the lives of the characters, Addy (1864 Philadelphia), Kaya (1766 Pacific NW), and Julie (1977 San Francisco). Camp fee includes van transportation to local field trip sites.
  • Rock Creek Animal Week Camp: You’ll be surprised by all the different animals that call Rock Creek Regional Park their home! Splash in the creek, poke around in the pond, hike, explore, play games, and create things too! See animals up close and sharpen your observational skills as you look for animal signs and habitats.
  • Animal Caretakers Camp: Animal lovers and aspiring veterinarians won’t want to miss this camp! Learn the responsibility, care, and needs of Meadowside’s animal collection which includes birds of prey, snakes, turtles, and more. You’ll get daily hands-on practice in care, handling, and diet preparation. Field trips (like a visit to an animal rescue and veterinary clinic) and outdoor experiences give campers a close look at how animals adapt to changes in their environment, why wildlife and humans sometimes come into conflict, and why animals may need our help for a second chance.
  • Grandparent-Grandchild Nature Camp: Create great memories with your grandchild as you participate together in fun outdoor activities and field trips. Spend a day on the farm, visit a one-room schoolhouse, see live animals up close, and more.
  • Chesapeake Week Camp: Explore the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed through sailing, camping, canoeing, and more! We’ll begin the week by exploring the Bay by boat as we hoist our sails, trawl for fish, and analyze water samples looking for microscopic life forms. Mid-week, we’ll paddle in canoes to get a more intimate look at the Bay’s waterways, camp for two consecutive nights, and go fossil hunting. We’ll close out the week by examining the lives of those who’ve made the Bay their home, including early American colonists and American Indians living in long house villages. 

Archaeology Camps

  • Archaeology Leader Training Workshop: Want to become an awesome camp counselor, get hands-on archaeological experience, and earn Student Service Learning (SSL) hours? Sign up for this ten-day workshop! In the first week, you’ll learn the basics of archaeological methods, get CPR training, and practice creating and planning camp activities. During the second week, we’ll dig into the real thing! You’ll work with campers and have an opportunity to ask questions and get feedback in our counselors’ afternoon roundtables. Call 301-563-7530 for more information.
  • Archaeology Camp for Children
    Find out what it takes to be an archaeologist! Here’s your chance to work alongside a Parks’ archaeologist and get hands-on experience with mapping, soil identification, and artifact processing. Each week we’ll take a field trip to a different historic site, and weather permitting, do some real excavating! Camp fulfills most of the requirements for the Boy Scout Archaeology Merit Badge.
  • Archaeology Camp: Extended Care: Kids can practice their atlatl skills (a prehistoric hunting weapon), go on a scavenger hunt, take a paddle boat ride on Lake Needwood, play a board game, and more during this supervised free time.


Last Updated: August 29, 2016