Walker Nature Center: Connect with Nature in Reston

When the community of Reston was built, the association set aside 72 acres to promote education. The Walker Nature Center was born.

In November 2009, the Nature House opened its doors as a place for the community and visitors to connect with nature.

If you haven’t already been, it’s time you go!

What to See & Do

When you step into the Walker Nature Center, it is unlike any facility you may have been to.

Nestled in the woods, it’s a certified green building, meaning almost everything in the building is environmentally friendly.

Some of the features are harvested cypress siding, reclaimed hardwood floors from barns in Appalachia, recycled carpet flooring and a geothermal heat pump system.

It is an impressive building evoking the feeling like you’re in a cozy cabin.

Let it be known that I am clueless about bird watching, yet I could spend hours looking at birds. Enter the naturalist.

She was so nice and informative educating me on the types of birds that were hitting up the feeders and suet boxes.

walker nature center
Source: Walker Nature Education Center

A variety of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and butterflies have been spotted on the property. On our visit, we saw:

  • The Eastern Gray Squirrel
  • American Crow
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • and Brown Creeper bird

The only living animals inside Nature House are an Eastern Box Turtle and Dace fresh water fish.

It would be nice if they added a few more varieties.

The Children’s Area

A small children’s area has:

  • Stuffed animals and puppets (many of which are found on the property)
  • A kid-sized table
  • Coloring pages,
  • Books & magazines
  • An animal tracks matching game.

Children from infants to age 4 will enjoy these activities.

There are a few touch-and-feel items like a White-tailed Deer antler, Snowshoe Hare fur and bird feathers.

A preserved Southern Flying Squirrel and other stuffed versions of animals and are in cases along with skulls of mammals and the foot of a Great-Horned Owl foot.

Source: Walker Nature Education Center

Parents will like that there are tables, chairs and bay window seating to relax, read a book, or learn on the computer.

See turtles, tadpoles and various frogs in the wildlife pond or hike one of the trails.

The area also has gardens, benches and a covered picnic pavilion. Just down the road is the fire pit which is available for rental. The building is stroller accessible and restrooms have a changing station.

Nature Trails

The nature trail at Walker Nature Center is an enjoyable 20-minute walk through nature as you go through The Discovery Loop Trail, Snakeden Trail then cross onto a paved path going to Lake Audubon.

Source: Walker Nature Education Center

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The Walker Nature Education Center participates in Project Feeder Watch.

Twice a week from November to April, the center records feeder observations and sends the information to scientists at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The purpose is to help scientists learn more about winter bird populations.

When you enter Nature House, check out the board showing upcoming educational programs, wildlife watch and plant preview.

Source: Walker Nature Education Center

Pick up a magazine in the lobby a self-guided map of the park and a scavenger hunt sheet to use on your family’s nature walk. They host regular events for toddlers, elementary student, and adults, with some activities good for all ages.

Reservations are required along and there is an admission fee.

Past events have included Owl Investigations, and Paper Making.

While there wasn’t a lot of stuff my five year old could do, we still had fun spending time communing with nature.

Hours & Prices

Monday, Wednesday – Friday: 9:00am to 5:00pm
Tuesday: Closed
Saturday: 10:00am to 1:00pm
Sunday: 1:00pm to 4:00pm

Admission is free!

Birthday parties

There is a large room with a kitchen that host nature-themed birthday parties. A little gift shop with apparel and stuffed animals is in the common room.

Getting There & Parking

Walker Nature Center is located at 11450 Glade Dr, Reston, VA 20191. They can be reached at 703-476-9689.

They have a small parking area but in case it gets full especially on the weekends, you may also park along Glade Drive.

Things to Do Nearby

  1. Go ice skating at SkateQuest (9 minutes)
  2. See baby animals (in season of course) and ride the carousel at Frying Pan Farm Park (12 minutes)
  3. Visit the beautiful Meadowlark Botanical Gardens (12 minutes)
  4. Visit the wonderful animals of Roer’s Zoofari (13 minutes)
  5. Splash around at the Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole (14 minutes)
  6. See tons of aircraft at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (16 minutes)
  7. Let the kids enjoy the little farm activities at the Heritage Farm Museum (21 minutes)
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