Friday, December 23, 2016

Holiday Hours


The Nature Center will be CLOSED on the following days:
Christmas Eve:  Saturday, December 24th, 2016
Christmas Day:  Sunday, December 25th, 2016
Monday: December 26th, 2016
New Year's Day:  Sunday, January 1st, 2017
Monday: January 2nd, 2017
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day:  Monday, January 16th, 2017

The park grounds will be open daily from 8 AM to 5 PM.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Visitors enjoy chatting with our volunteers at The Great Frederick Fair.

The Frederick County Nature Council 
supports both of our county's Nature Centers:
Fountain Rock Nature Center in Walkersville & 
Catoctin Creek Nature Center in Middletown. 
Enjoy a visit with our volunteers and see 
what cool things they brought from 
the nature centers to share with 
you and your families. 
We are located in the 
City Streets/Country Roads exhibit area. 
Volunteers will be at the booth from 10 AM - 3 PM 
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday this week.

Monday, August 15, 2016

SEPTEMBER 2016 PROGRAMS: See Catoctin Creek's Programs starting in September below. . .

CALL 301-600-2936  or go to

Creek Chubs Club

Little nature lovers have enjoyed this program since the Nature Center opened! Your child will learn about the natural world through stories, live animals, nature walks, hands-on crafts, and games. This is a parent/child class.  Dress for indoor & outdoor activities.

 Ages:  2-3 years
 Classes:  4
 Day:  Friday
 Dates:  9/9, 9/23, 10/14, 10/28
 Time:  11:15 AM-12 PM
 Fee: $38.00

Home School Days

Allow our experienced naturalists to enrich your child's studies through multidisciplinary approach using nature as a focus. Sessions include an information session and activities based on our theme that day. Dress appropriately for indoor and outdoor activities.  6 different themes offered in the order given below.

#8969  Amazing Arthropods
#8991  Weather & Climate
#8988  Ecosystem Exploration
#8996  Rockin’ Rocks
#8998  Tracks & Traces
#9000  Awesome Animals 

Ages:  5-13 years
Classes:  1 for each topic listed above
Day:  Friday
Dates:  9/16, 10/7, 10/21, 11/4, 11/18, 12/2
Time:   1-2:45 PM
Fee:  $8.00 per class

Archery 101      #9125
For 3 weeks we will show you how to properly handle and use archery equipment safely with lots of time to practice each new skill.  We provide all of the necessary equipment, a safe place to shoot, and a Level 1 Certified Instructor to help out. Please bring a water bottle and dress for the weather.

Ages:  8+ years
Classes:  3
Day:  Sunday
Dates:  9/4, 9/11, 9/18
Time:  1—3 PM
Fee:  $35.00

Cave Exploration     #9003
Join our experienced naturalist John Powers for a sneak peek at one of our local caves.  Learn about the local geology and history of this hidden wonder.  Please remember:  Bring a water bottle, wear long pants & sturdy footwear (no sandals).  Be prepared to get a little dirty! Helmets and lights provided.  Cave tour is mostly walking and stooping.  Cave temp. is 54 degrees.  Trip includes 3 mile round trip hike along the C&O canal.  Directions:  Go on-line to

Ages:  8+
Classes: 1
Day:  Sunday
Date:  9/18
Time:  1-3 PM
Fee:  $10.00 

Friends with Nature     #9016
Come discover nature, wildlife, and the world around you through stories, activities, crafts, songs, and outdoor adventures!  Each month will highlight a different type of animal.  This is a parent/child class.

Ages:  3-5 years
Classes:  3
Day:  Saturday
Dates:  9/17, 10/15, 11/19
Time:  11 AM-12:15 PM
Fee:  $28.00

Monday, July 25, 2016


Tawny Emperor:   Photo by Kathy Barylski
Thanks to everyone who helped count and identify the butterflies at Catoctin Creek Park.  Over 40 people showed up!  Below are the results with the number counted next to the common name for the butterfly.  Thanks to Kathy Barylski for the photo of the Tawny Emperor she found on Sunday.

Butterfly Types
Number Counted
Red-Spotted Purple
Hackberry Emperor
Tawny Emperor
Common Buckeye
Question Mark
Red Admiral
Silvery Checkerspot
Cabbage White
   over 100
Clouded Sulfur
   over 35
Orange Sulfur
   over 25
Eastern Tailed Blue
Summer Azure
American Copper
Black Swallowtail
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Pipevine Swallowtail
Spicebush Swallowtail
Unidentified Black Swallowtail (larger variety; not counted as a separate species)
Dun Skipper
Least Skipper
   over 15
Peck's Skipper
Tawny-Edged Skipper
Silver Spotted Skipper
Total Number of Species
Total Number Counted

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


10 AM - 12 PM

Help us find and identify the different species of butterflies in our park!
No experience necessary.

Meeting Location:  Catoctin Creek Nature Center

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Program Openings Available!

Program  Openings are available for the following programs:

We Love Bugs!       
July 18-July 22, 2016

It's summertime and the bugs and butterflies are hopping at
Catoctin Creek Park!  Campers will just love to take bug
hikes, play bug games, make cool bug crafts, and meet
our buggy friends living at the Nature Center.

Ages:  4-6 years old
Time:  9-11:30 AM
Fee:  $72 per camper

Geocaching Series
8/6, 8/13, 8/20

Learn how to use modern GPS technology to find hidden
treasure boxes all over the world.  Topics:  Geocaching for 
Beginners, Deciphering, Puzzles.  
GPS units will be provided, or bring a smart phone with a
Geocaching app (optional).  Also bring a full, refillable
water bottle and hiking shoes.  Under 16 must be
accompanied by a participating (registered) adult.  Sign
up for one or all 3 classes!

Ages:  8+ years
Time:  10 AM - 12 PM
Fee:  $10 per person per class

To Register for these programs:
Call 301-600-2936
Or go to

Monday, June 27, 2016

Butterfly Count

Sunday, July 24th
10 AM

The annual butterfly count is scheduled for Sunday, July 24th, starting at 10 AM at Catoctin Creek Park.  Join Kathy Barylski of the Frederick County Nature Council and members of the 4-H Bug Patrol to count and learn about butterflies in the park.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Purple Martin Update

 As of May 31st,  21 of the 24 gourds have nests. Some are not complete (yet). 12 eggs were found spread out in 8 nests; 4 nests with 2 eggs and 4 nests with 1 egg each.

Next Nest Check:
Saturday, June 11
3:00 PM
Join us at Catoctin Creek Nature Center as we lower the gourd rack to survey each gourd for nests and to count eggs.

Purple Martin pair with the female holding nesting material.

Nest with Eggs inside the gourd.

Friday, June 3, 2016


To Register:  Call 301-600-2936 
           Or go to 
Class Details
Map & Compass

Whether you are going hiking, boating, fishing or hunting; you should always know how to get where you want to go. And even more important, how to return.
This program will teach you the basics of how to read a map and use a compass. Then refine your skills as we hike around the park.
Ages:  12+ years
Classes:  1
Day:  Saturday
Dates:  6/18/16
Time:  1—3 PM
Fee:  $12
Family Fishing

Join us for a relaxing morning by the water.  We will learn about native freshwater fish species, how to safely cast, use artificial lures, different fishing techniques, and much more.

Location:  Shelter # 2 at Middletown Park
Ages:  5+ years
Classes:  1
Day:  Saturday
Dates:  6/18/16
Time:  10 AM—12 PM
Fee:  $10
Archery Open Practice

 Come out and practice at our archery range!   We will have equipment, games to play, and a Level 1 Certified Instructor to answer any questions. Bring a water bottle and dress for the weather.
Ages:  8+ years
Classes:  1
Day:  Sunday
Dates:  6/19
Time:  3—5 PM
Fee:  $8.00
Family Float
The family can come to the park, park their car, and enjoy a short float down the Catoctin Creek with staff, all while staying within the park.  Tubes and PFDs will
be provided.  Bring a picnic and change of clothes and make a day of it!  Each family member must be registered.
Ages:  5+
Classes:  1
Day:  Saturday
Dates:  6/25/16
Time:  10AM—12PM
Fee:  $10.00
Rockin’ Rocks &
Fabulous Fossils

Join Spelunker John Powers and learn about the many rocks and minerals in the collections of Catoctin Creek Nature Center. New fossils have been donated and John is eager to share them with you. This is definitely a hands-on program!
Ages:  6-12 years
Classes:  1
Day:  Sunday
Dates:  7/10/16
Time:  1—3 PM
Fee:  $12.00
Geocaching Series
#8394 :   8/6
#8395:    8/13
#8396:    8/20
Learn how to use modern GPS technology to find hidden treasure boxes all over the world.  Topics:  Geocaching for Beginners, Deciphering, and Puzzles.  GPS units will be provided. Bring, a full reusable water bottle, and hiking shoes. Under 16 must be accompanied by a participating
(registered) adult.
Ages:  8+ years
Classes:  1
Day:  Saturday
Dates:  See the Program # (left)
Time:  10 A M—12 PM
Fee:  $10
Cave Exploration
Join naturalist John Powers for a sneak peak at one of our local caves. Participants will meet onsite and hike to the cave.  See page 33 of the Recreater for more details and directions.
Site:  Dam #4 Parking Area, Downsville, MD
Ages:  10+ years
Classes:  1
Day:  Sunday
Dates:  8/14
Time:  1—3 PM
Fee:  $10.00

Friday, May 6, 2016

New Visitors to the Park!

We spotted this Solitary Sandpiper in the parking lot 
retention pond this week. . .

Photo Credit:  Don Hambright, Volunteer

Other recent sightings . . .

Purple Martins -- they are here to stay we hope!
Bald Eagle
Barred Owl
Blue Herons
Garter Snake


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Nature Fest is this Weekend!

Come celebrate Earth Day
at Catoctin Creek Park
this Saturday, 4/23/16!

Schedule of Events:

Throughout the Day:  
Face Painting*Crafts* 
*Nature Activities*Exhibitors*
Food Vendors* Silent Auction*

10 AM - 11 AM:  Bird walk 
10 AM - 12 PM:  Project Clean Stream
11 AM - 12 PM:  Hands-on-Snakes
12 PM -   2 PM:  Campfire Activities 
  1 PM -   2 PM:  Owl Moon Raptor Center

Project Clean Stream
is the same day!  Help 
clean up the creek and
then enjoy Nature Fest!
10 AM - 12 PM

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

New Hours

Plan to spend more time in the park!
Our longer hours started on April 1st:

Nature Center:  April to October
Mondays:  Closed
Tuesdays - Fridays:  12 pm - 6 pm
Saturdays:  10 am- 6 pm
Sundays:  12 pm - 6 pm

The grounds are open everyday from 
8 am to Sunset.  

Friday, March 25, 2016

April Programs

These programs are starting soon!  
For more information or to Register:  
Call 301-600-2936  or go to

Creek Chubs Club
#7344  10 - 10:45 AM
#7345  11:15 AM - 12 PM
Ages:  2-3
Classes: 4
Day:  Friday
Dates:  4/8, 4/29, 5/13, 5/27
Times:  See above
Fee:  $38 per parent/child pair

Signs of Spring
Ages:  3-5
Classes: 4
Day:  Thursdays in April
Dates:  4/7, 4/14, 4/21, 4/28
Time:  1-2 pm
Fee:  $38 per parent/child pair

Rockin' Rocks & Fabulous Fossils
Ages:  6-12
Classes:  1
Day:  Sunday
Dates:  4/10
Time:  1-3 pm
Fee:  $12.00

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Map & Compass Class

Catoctin Creek Park still has room in this Sunday's . . .

Map & Compass Class

Whether you are going hiking, boating, fishing or hunting; you should always know how to get where you want to go. And even more important, how to return. This  program will teach you
the basics of how to read a map and use a compass. 
Then refine your skills as we hike around
the park. 

Program #:  6754
Date:  Sunday
Date:  3/13/15
Time:  1-3 PM
Ages:  8 and older
Fee:  $20 per parent/child pair

To register:  Call 301-600-2936  
Go to

Friday, March 4, 2016

Purple Martin Event

Purple Martin 
"Raise the Gourds" 
Saturday, March 12th, 10-11:30 AM

Purple Martins are starting to migrate north again! 
 Last year, a Purple Martin housing unit with nesting gourds was installed at the park.  The gourds were stored for the winter after the birds headed south. 
We invite you to help prepare the gourds and raise the gourd rack so they are ready when the Martins arrive in our area this spring.
Local experts from the Purple Martin Society will be on hand with plenty of information to share about these long-distance migrants.