One of the many cool things about Charm City is that you can be in the heart of downtown and within a 30-minute drive, be in the heart of the country. Gaining an appreciation for the outdoors is not just for kids. Baltimore offers quite a few cool outdoor education spots for people of all ages.
Eden Mill Nature Center
1617 Eden Mill Road
Pylesville, MD 21132
You may have never heard of the Eden Mill Nature Center, but visiting this beautiful Harford County nature center is a worthwhile trip. At the nature center’s historic Grist Mill Museum and surrounding trails, guides and teachers will help Scout troops get a nature badge and families can campout and learn where and how Native Americans lived in the area. A special summer activity that requires advance reservations is the Twilight Kayaking trip where guides teach you about nature under the stars and on the river. Even a hike along the river and picnic lunch in the peace and quiet perfectly checks the outdoor classroom box.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation Baltimore Harbor Program
Columbus Center (boat launching point)
701 East Pratt St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
For a unique experience, head to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s “Snow Goose” workboat and spend a day on the harbor learning about the interconnection between Baltimore City and the Bay’s ecosystem. Learn firsthand about the birds, fish, crabs, oysters and other organisms that share the river. Click here for detailed information on how to apply for the program and FAQs.
Irvine Nature Center
11201 Garrison Forest Road
Owings Mills, MD 21117
With its beautiful eco-friendly facility and museum plus 116 acres of trails and forests, Irvine Nature Center offers so many environmental educational choices. It will even bring classes to you. From family maple sugar field trips, to its Winter Programs and the very furry Tales and Tails, you could visit this nature center for weekends on end and learn something new each visit.
802 S. Caroline St.
Baltimore, MD 21231
Located on the harbor near Inner Harbor East, this unique educational organization is all about hands-on learning and even job training in its “living classrooms.” Living Classrooms’ education selection is extensive, running the gamut from urban farming after-school classes, to shipboard classes and the Bay Buddies program for students with special needs. Living Classrooms offers summer camps as well, so check out its programs for some amazing outdoor education that you can only find in Baltimore.
Oregon Ridge Nature Center
13555 Beaver Dam Road
Cockeysville, MD 21030
After a short drive from the City up to Hunt Valley, you’ll find the Oregon Nature Center nestled in 1,100 acres of nature. Enjoy loads of classes, hiking trails and a great museum that has an amazing bee colony exhibit that visitors can look into and see the hive activity. Plus, who knew there was a secret beach in Baltimore? It’s true. The Oregon Ridge Beach is a neat retreat in the summer months and is located right next to the nature center. So pack a picnic, leave the electronics at home and hike the Oregon Ridge Nature Center trails and learn some cool facts about our natural world. Then, complete your outdoor education with a swim at the beach.
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Laurel Peltier is a freelance writer. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.