The Mt. Rainier Nature/Recreation Center is a very small center located near historic Mt. Rainier. It is perfect for pre-schoolers or young elementary-aged children. I'd be willing to put money down on the bet that on any given day your family will be the only visitors. That ended up being a nice bonus for us since we had 6 week old Nathaniel with us--he was fast asleep in his car seat so we could set him down while we explored and simply move him from room to room with us: there are only three rooms so he wasn't moved often!
Lucas enjoyed looking at snakes, salamanders, turtles (the alligator turtle was a big hit!) and frogs. We all had fun watching the rabbit eat and the adults got a big kick out of the poem and lesson on scat (aka poop!). There is a great book corner with lots of books for your kids to look at and for you to read to them. There are also lessons about Native Americans, recycling and insects.
And, to fulfill the "recreation" designation: there's an air hockey table and Foosball table. Just ask the front desk for the balls/pucks and, with an adult present, they'll hand them over. We enjoyed several spirited games!
If you are looking for an interesting, but low-key, free activity for about an hour (possibly 2 hours depending on your child's interest in spending time with the books or doing each activity), then the Mt. Rainier Nature/Recreation Center is a great place to visit.
Later this spring, they'll be offering a pre-school nature club, puppet shows and campfires: come back to Out by Ten on March 1 for the dates and details. We also spied two fun-looking playgrounds nearby. After the snow melts (and mud dries up!) they would be fun to visit in conjunction with the Nature Center.
Mt. Rainier Nature/Recreation Center
4701 31st Place
Mt. Rainier, MD 20712
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 9am-5pm
Original post by Out by Ten. Thanks for reading!