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the largest science and environmental education center in the Department of the Interior. This unique U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service facility is located on the 12,841 acre Patuxent Research Refuge.




our Visitor Center designed to provide visitors with knowledge and appreciation of the role of wildlife research in preserving the earth's vital resources. Interactive exhibits focus on global environmental issues, migratory bird routes, wildlife habitats, and endangered species recovery efforts. Surrounding forests, lakes and trails provide opportunities for wildlife-oriented recreation, educational programs and group tours. State-of-the-art exhibits demonstrate the value of wildlife research and the importance of making informed choices for the good of our environment.




from a variety of educational exhibits detailing the wildlife research that takes place on the refuge and research center, and elsewhere across the Nation.



a visit to the National Wildlife Visitor Center-less than 30 minutes from our Nation's Capital-and join the many guests and volunteers who have already experienced the Wisdom of Wildness.

The National Wildlife Visitor Center is the largest science and environmental education center in the Department of the Interior. Designed to accommodate one million visitors per year, this unique facility seeks to impart to young and old alike an increased knowledge of and appreciation for the earth's vital resources. It highlights the work of professional scientists who strive to improve the condition of wildlife and their habitats.

Interactive exhibits focus on global environmental issues, migratory bird studies, habitats, endangered species, creature life cycles and the research tools and techniques used by scientists.

The Visitor Center also offers hiking trails, wildlife management demonstration areas, and outdoor education sites for school classes. A large auditorium and meeting rooms can accommodate national and international scientific conferences, environmental meetings, teacher workshops, environmental lectures, and traveling displays.

A gift shop, Wildlife Images, operated by the Friends of Patuxent, Inc. (a non-profit cooperating association), offers a variety of environmental books and other educational materials. (See hours below.)

In the heart of the Baltimore - Washington corridor, the National Wildlife Visitor Center is located off of Powder Mill Road, 2 miles east of the Baltimore /Washington Parkway, just south of Laurel, Maryland. map  

Facility Schedule
Visitor Center Building

Open Daily   9:00 A.M. - 4:30 P.M.
Closed on Federal Holidays

Wildlife Images Gift Shop

Open Daily  11:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M.
Closed on Federal Holidays

Trails and Grounds

Open Daily   Sunrise - 4:30 P.M.
(Extended hours starting April 1, 2014
Open Daily   Sunrise - Sunset )

Closed on Federal Holidays

Cash Lake Fishing
Normal Schedule

Download a .PDF version of our Visitor Center brochure (Adobe Acrobat)

Our Address is:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Visitor Center, 10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop, Laurel, MD 20708-4027, 301/497-5580

New!Click here to see an aerial photograph of the Visitor Center area taken in Winter 1998

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