Searching for fun, free indoor spaces to explore with the kids during the colder fall and winter temps ? Then check out the Watkins Nature Center in Maryland’s Upper Marlboro! The Center is full of hands-on exhibits and live animal displays – perfectly sized for pint-sized preschoolers and older kids. More on our fun time below!
Indoor Fun at Watkins Nature Center
Located inside Watkins Regional Park, the Nature Center is about a 20-25 minute drive from Hyattsville / College Park area. With a parking lot adjacent to the Center and likely an hour+ of playtime, it’s a mighty convenient option for simple, indoor fun.
Insects, Amphibians, Reptiles
Once you head inside the Nature Center, you’ll find a number of exhibits featuring both live and not-so-live creatures. Like some crazy scorpion you can only see using a special flashlight (kids love the flashlight almost as much as the scorpion…!),
There’s also a number of hands-on activities, like a puzzle wall where the children can mix and match pieces to make new types of animals – or mimic those they’ve already seen. Another fun activity was one where the kids had to reach into covered boxes, using just their senses of touch and sometimes smell to identify what was hidden inside. (Can’t lie: Had a couple of Chrissy Teigan freak-out moments doing this stuff with them!)
Puppet Show, Anyone?
And if, say, you arrive and your young’n is just not yet feeling like looking at a hissing cockroach or a cornsnake, then know that there’s a play area where they can enact a puppet show and/or read plenty of books about nature.
Wizard of Oz Playground
In the event that you happen to visit the Nature Center on a relatively pleasant day, why not take a walk outside along the lovely nature paths to the simply amazing Wizard of Oz Playground?!? Not hyperbole to note that this is the best. playground. ever.
Watkins Nature Center is located at 301 Watkins Park Drive, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774