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Home > Visit a Gateway > Patuxent Research Refuge - National Wildlife Visitor Center
Patuxent Research Refuge - National Wildlife Visitor Center - Laurel, MD
Activities: Patuxent Research Refuge is divided into three areas:
  • North Tract, which offers hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, trails, and many interpretive programs

  • Central Tract, where the offices and study sites of research biologists are located

  • South Tract
  • , where the refuge’s National Wildlife Visitor Center and its trails are located.

The National Wildlife Visitor Center and North Tract are the only areas open to visitors.

The visitor center features interactive exhibits that focus on global environmental issues, migratory bird studies, habitats, endangered species, and the tools and techniques used by scientists. The visitor center also offers hiking trails, tram tours, a seasonal fishing program, wildlife management demonstration areas, and an outdoor education site for school classes.

Cash Lake—located off of MD Route 197—is open for fishing, and the refuge conducts a seasonal fishing program from mid-June to mid-October. This site has a fully accessible pier and dock. (Note: You must have a valid fishing license. Contact the visitor center for more details.)

Patuxent prohibits traditional park-like activities such as swimming, boating, tubing, rafting, picnicking, and sunbathing.

Patuxent prohibits traveling off roads and off trails, and in closed areas is prohibited. The refuge also forbids firearms (except for permitted hunting) and alcoholic beverages. Visitors may not disturb, introduce, or remove plants and animals (except for permitted hunting and fishing).

Biking Educational Programs Fishing Tours / Walking Tours Hunting
Facilities: The Patuxent Research Refuge’s visitor center features a large auditorium and meeting rooms, as well as a bookstore. Although the National Wildlife Visitor Center is temporarily closed for repairs, outdoor programs will continue and grounds will remain open ‘till 4:30 daily except federal holidays. Please make sure you provide accurate contact information when you register.
Size: 12,750 acres
Accessibility: The visitor center is handicapped accessible, and there is a paved trail. Sign language interpreters are available if requested at least two weeks in advance of your visit.

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