Established almost 60 years ago, the Patuxent Research Refuge is where researchers study endangered species and environmental contaminants in order to find solutions to the problems that face our nation's wildlife. Although the public cannot visit the captive species areas and biological laboratories, the refuge has several educational offerings for the nature lover.
The refuge has two areas open for visitor activities: one at the North Tract at Bald Eagle Drive and another at the South Tract, which leads to the National Wildlife Visitor Center. All visitors to the North Tract must check in at the Visitor Contact Station and receive an access pass. The North Tract offers hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and trails, as well as a number of special programs throughout the year that are announced in advance.
Located off Powder Mill Road between MD Route 197 and the Baltimore/Washington Parkway in Laurel, the National Wildlife Visitor Center features interactive exhibits, tram tours, a gift shop, hiking trails and auditorium presentations. The center is open daily (except Christmas) from 10:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Call 301-497-5760 for more information.