Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium
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.
Rock Creek Park is a beautiful place--abundant trees, trails, and views. If you are visiting the DC area, or if you live here, it is a space away from the city, yet conveniently located.
Nice little park with sufficient parking and a fun little planetarium and visiting center as well. Looks like a great place to bring family and kids and getting a good walk.
I'm in the park nearly every day with my dogs, walking or running on the quieter trails until I forget whatever is bothering me and just enjoy all that Nature gives so freely. RCP is truly a wonderful, sacred space. Let's respect and protect it for years to come!
The park is terrific for bicyclists, walkers & runners, hiking and more - particularly on weekends and some holidays when portions of Beach Drive and some other roads in the Washington portion are closed to motor vehicles. For access to picnic areas, portions of Beach Dr. remain open. In Maryland, some of the attractions are Lake Needwood, Lake Bernard Frank, Meadowside nature center and another scenic road named Beach Drive. Needwood golf course is alongside Lake Needwood. Seasonally, rental boats are available here. In Washington, the Rock Creek golf course is near Military Road.
Two and a half times the size of NY's Central Park, this is a bit of wild in the middle of the District. In addition to actual wildlife -- there are deer running through it -- the National Zoo is nearby. Great on weekends when they shut parts of the parkway down.