My First Visit to Rock Creek Park

Friday I was feeling pretty bored, so I decided to go and check out Rock Creek Park. I’ve been envisioning running there for months now, and I wanted to get a feel for how to get there, where to park, where the trails are, that kind of stuff. The map on their website is not very detailed, and so I was also hoping to get a more thorough map of where the trailheads were, and how long each trail is.

This turtle is a good turtle.

This turtle is a good turtle.

I pulled into the Nature Center to pick up a map (unfortunately, it ended up being the same map as on the website). Though the map was a disappointment, the Nature Center was really nice. It had an exhibit with displays about the wildlife and nature that you can see at the park. Plus there were turtles!

The turtles were there to show what a turtle that was native to Rock Creek Park was like, and what a turtle that was not native looked like. Apparently some people release their pet turtles in the park, and those pet turtles are much more aggressive than the native turtles, and so the native turtle population is suffering. Don’t release your pets, people!

The good turtle was swimming around, and was fun to watch. Every so often he would

Oooh, scary!

Oooh, scary!

swim over to that rock that’s on the right side, and pull himself up so his head was above the water and rest like that for a few minutes. Then it was back to swimming in circles! I think he was looking for an escape route.

The bad turtle just sat on some rocks with a heat lamp shining on him. Very boring! The heat lamp was also tinted red, so the bad turtle looked like the aggressive animal he is.

I eventually tore myself away from the turtles and went to check out the rest of the Nature Center. They have a planetarium there, which I think is pretty cool! It wasn’t open, but I saw a couple posters about space and stuff, so that was good. I’d like to go back one day

Exhibit for teh kidz.

Exhibit for teh kidz.

when the planetarium is open. It’s the only planetarium in the national park system, so it’s pretty special.

Downstairs there is an interactive exhibit about the park, called, appropriately, Discover Rock Creek Park.. It think it’s for schoolkids who come on field trips, but I had fun lifting up the panels to see what was underneath, and looking in a microscope, and generally acting like a schoolkid.

Next I headed outside to try a trail. The one closest to where I was (and by that I mean, it started right next to where I parked my car) was the Edge of Woods trail. It’s handicap accessible, which was cool. There was even a rope strung along beside the trail, which blind CIMG5849visitors could use as a guide so that they could enjoy the trail also.

I have to be open with you all and admit that I was really hoping to see a deer on this trip. I’ve read so much about the deer at Rock Creek Park, and I’ve enjoyed seeing them on the trails at home, and so I really wanted to catch a glimpse of at least one, even if it was far off in the distance.

So I was tramping along, keeping an eye out for deer and for slippery rocks and mud pits, when all of a sudden I saw some quick movement to my right. I stopped still, and lo and behold, there were two deer! Hooray! Apparently one of them had bounded away when she saw me, but the other stayed put. I pulled out my camera (which I brought for this purpose specifically), and snapped some pictures. I was afraid they’d all be too blurry, but luckily I got some good ones. So here’s the deer!


Poor quality, but you can see both deer in this picture.

Poor quality, but you can see both deer in this picture.



One Response

  1. Thats very good to know… thanks

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