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Thursday, August 18, 2022
Home Fun Irvine Nature Center— Park Spotlight

Irvine Nature Center— Park Spotlight

Irvine Nature Center is situated on over 200 acres of former farmland which allows for a Nature Center, over eight miles of hiking trails, an outdoor classroom, aviary, and Native American site.

Quick Look at Irvine Nature Center

Address: 1120 Garrison Ford Rd, Owings Mills, MD 21117
Website: explorenature.org
Admission: $5 (age 6+); Members are FREE
Hours: Closed on Mondays
Parking: Free parking with admission
Pets: No Pets or Bikes

Places to Explore

The trails take hikers around wetlands, wide open fields, and the woodland garden. The garden has been carefully planted with native plants and is surrounded by a fence to keep hungry deer from nibbling on the plants.

There’s a chance that your trip might not make it much farther than the outdoor classroom if your kids enjoying playing outside on a natural playground. Tree stumps and logs are fun to jump on and use for building. The outdoor kitchen provides a place to imaginative cooks to use dirt, sticks and leaves to create a meal. The outdoor classroom is used for school during the week and is only available for play on the weekends.

Wildlife at Irvine Nature Center

Eight injured raptors now live in the Robert L. Mardiney Aviary, located near the parking lot. These raptors are native to Maryland and after their injuries were unable to live on their own. Enjoy observing their careful stares and strong gripping claws. A short walk from the outdoor classroom is a bird feeding blind that allows visitors to sit quietly and watch song birds come to eat from the feeders. Hiking trails are accessible from the bird watching area.

Because the land that Irvine occupies used to be a farm, there are a lot of open meadows. Over the years, staff has gradually restored the land back to its original state, which means streams and marshy areas criss-cross the property. There are boardwalks and raised pathways that allow visitors close enough to wet areas to observe the birds and critters who make their home there. During the winter months and early spring, without leaves on trees or tall grass, it is easier to observe waterfowl.

The meadows, full of native plants, are beautiful once the flowers have started blooming. Butterflies, song birds and dragonflies enjoy the flowers as much as us humans enjoy watching them. Walking the paths along the meadows is easy and relatively flat. Allow yourself enough time to be an observer. That’s how you will enjoy Irvine Nature Center at its best. It’s a place to savor and not to rush.

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