Robinson Nature Center, Columbia

4.5
#3 of 8 in Things to do in Columbia
The James and Anne Robinson Nature Center is a park and nature center operated by the Howard County, Maryland Department of Natural Resources.HistoryThe Nature Center was built on 18.3 of 22 acres of a 31-acre parcel that had been split from the Simpsonville Mill property by William and Rebecca Simpson and sold to Sophia Stern in 1891; subsequent sales were to Isaac Goldstein and Louis Abram in 1894, Eli Goldstein and family (Russian immigrants) in 1897, David and Agnes Johnson in 1902, Charles and Alice Baldwin in 1911, John Clifford and Martha Wall in 1914 (then 23.75 acres), and Harry and Rachel Saumenig in 1921. The property was purchased by James and Anne Robinson in 1957; it is adjacent to the modern Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and the core properties on Cedar Lane that were assembled to start the Rouse development of Columbia, Maryland. After decades of offers to sell the property for dense development, Anne Robinson approached the county in 2002 about passing the land to them for operation of a nature center. The purchase was settled on February 18, 2005, with funding from $1.7 million in county development excise taxes and $300,000 of Program Open Space money. The Robinson Foundation, which Anne and her accountant created in 2003 to hold the property, returned $1 million of the proceeds of the sale as a contribution toward construction of the facility. The Robinson's mid-to-late 19th century frame house adjacent to the Simpsonville Mill, in which Anne had lived until 2004, was immediately demolished. Anne Robinson died days later at age 89; her husband James had died in 1977. (In 2014, the Robinson Estate also sold a 640-acre farm in Goldsboro, Maryland for $2.25 million that had been placed into agricultural preservation.)
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Robinson Nature Center Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
83 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • It is easy to get to, plenty of parking and there were many exhibits and paths to walk on a somewhat small grounds. Bring your family and kids as they have many activities for all.  more »
  • The indoor activities are quite fun for the family. The outdoor park is outstanding for all those youngsters who like to make believe! The big nest is really special.  more »
  • Great museum for kids to learn about nature and wildlife. Has walking paths and water features. Cool animals.  more »
Google
  • Spent an hour in the discovery room and had so much fun we didn't even get to see everything else before it was obviously nap time! We can't wait for next time. And we met some awesome new friends. Looks like a great place for kids of all ages, even babies. Bring a picnic! Lots of nice tables to eat at in the garden.
  • Great place for toddlers through middle school. Events for older kids and adults throughout the year. Educational for all ages. You will come back again and again. Touch tank on weekends. Special activities, camps - mostly via reservations.
  • The center itself and the grounds are beautiful. I'm sure in spring or earlier fall it's even better! The downstairs exhibit was neat. The discovery room wasn't what I had envisioned. There are plenty of toys and games, but I was imaging more unique activities to be in there. The staff was friendly. We had the Discovery room to ourselves initially because of another event going on. Unfortunately, our visit got cut pretty short because there was a four(ish) year old who came with an unattentive guardian. Neither the guardian, nor the staff member said anything as that child kept trying to rip toys out of my two year old's hand. I could only distract mine for so long before he ended up in a fit:-(
  • Delightful place to visit, especially with kids. The staff is friendly and they have many things to explore.
  • My fiance and I attended a space-themed adult exhibit and were pleasantly surprised by the overall quality of the presentation. Payment and ticket pick-up were stress-free and simple and the presentation started on time with no delays. We are very excited to visit again!

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