The Rock Creek Park Nature Center serves as the park's visitor center and offers hiking information, brochures and maps, a bookstore, exhibits on area plants and animals, and a planetarium. Many of the park's ranger-led programs start or take place at the Nature Center.
The facility includes a children's Discovery Room offering environmental education books and games and a "Discover Rock Creek" bilingual (Spanish and English) exhibit geared for middle school audiences. The Nature Center also includes live turtles, fish, snakes, an active beehive, a bird observation deck, and "water-wise" garden.
Located within the Nature Center, The Rock Creek Park Planetarium uses high-tech Spitz software to project the image of the night sky onto a large, dome-shaped ceiling. Rangers lead you on a journey of exploration into our solar system, galaxy, and beyond. Free tickets to each planetarium show may be picked up at the Nature Center front desk up to one-half hour before the show. Out of respect for other planetarium guests, it is highly recommended that parents abide by the age recommendations, stated above. For visitor safety there will be no admittance once the planetarium doors close.
Outside of the planetarium, evening stargazing sessions occur once a month, April through November. Telescopes are set up at Military Field, off of Military Road, NW. The program is run in conjunction with the National Capital Astronomers Association. Programs are cancelled due to rain and a completely cloudy sky.