Educational and School-Year Programs

Mount Rainier Nature & Recreation Center Curriculum-Based Programs

Mount Rainier Nature & Recreation Center offers specific curriculum-based programs for school groups. Most programs generally last about 45 minutes. All programs are by reservation only. A limited number of adult chaperones and teachers will be admitted free, additional adults will be charged the same rate as students. Some of the programs may include a craft, game, hike, or story. Call for reservations. Listed below are the program titles, descriptions, and grade levels.

Educational Programs


Mount Rainier Nature Center offers curriculum-related programs for school groups as well as Community Outreach programs held at your location. For program reservations, please call the nature center. Our multipurpose room can hold 100 people. Larger groups can be divided. We have a playground and places to eat lunch outside. There is no fee for walk-in visitors and self-guided tours except during special events. Walk-in groups are encouraged to call first.


Programs presented at Mount Rainier Nature Center (minimum 10 people)  
Prince George's and Montgomery County Schools $3 per person
Schools in all other counties  $4 per person 
Programs presented at your location (minimum 10 people)  
Prince George's and Montgomery County Schools $4 per person
Schools in all other counties 
 $5 per person 

Educational Programs Offered

Most of our programs can be modified for all grade levels. 

Live Animal Show (Pre-K & up)

Using a variety of live animals: insects, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. Students will enjoy a hands-on learning experience. As they discover the characteristics and habitats of animals as well as what they eat, how they move and how they adapt to survive.

Animal Homes (Grades Pre-K-2nd) 

Learn about the habitats of animals. Through interactive activities, visuals, and nature items will help the students learn about their natural world.

Sense of Nature (Grades Pre-K & K) 

Students will use their five senses to learn about their natural environment. Students will: 1). Identify the five senses and the related body parts. 2). Classify objects based on sensory information to include color, texture, size, sound, taste, or shape. 

Dinosaurs and Fossils (K & 5th)

Travel back in time to discover the secrets of prehistoric life. Investigate prehistoric plants and animals using visual aids, fossils, games and hands-on activities.

Creepy Crawlers (Grades 2-8)

Explore the world of insects and how they benefit the environment with a special focus on life cycles and metamorphosis of butterflies and moths. Make scientific observations using visual aids, and specimens. Outdoor insect discovery included.

Rocks & Minerals (Grades 2-8)

Classify rocks by their properties: size, weight, color, texture, and shape. How igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rock are formed. This hands-on presentation examines nature's building blocks and explores how these natural resources are used.

Vertebrates (Grades 2-8)

Using visual aids, and live animals, explore the characteristics and habitats of vertebrates: mammals, reptiles, birds, fish, and amphibians. Focus will be on the adaptations for survival: locomotion, diet, body coverings, communications, reproduction, migration, and hibernation.

Wetlands and the Chesapeake Bay (Grades 2-8)

Focus on various types of wetlands, their functions and importance to the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Hike along the creek or lake and discuss the water cycle, watersheds, pollution, erosion, and other factors affecting wetlands. Use charts, nets, and trays to study live aquatic animals and plants. Students should wear old clothes and shoes that can get wet. This program can be conducted for indoors as well as outdoors.

Plants & Photosynthesis (Grades 2-8)

This is a grade appropriate exploration program with an emphasis on plant structure, functions, characteristics, and reproduction. Learn the importance of green plants and energy flow, the process of photosynthesis, and the respiration cycle. 

Native Americans of Southern Maryland (Grades 3-8)

Compare and contrast the Native Piscataway's use of natural resources in their daily lives with our use of natural resources today. This program incorporates the use of slides, Native American artifacts, and replicas.