Looking for Nature in Baltimore? Try Exploring Cylburn Arboretum
There is an organic, agrarian intensity about Cylburn Arboretum– an almost comical amount of butterflies and bees swarm over the flowers and herbs, as if Snow White herself left only moments ago. Seen at the end of summer, the park (located in Baltimore, Maryland) is in a constant state of idyllic splendor, a bustling harmony of colors competing for attention. Yet the park still has a hushed peace about it, the kind of calm that can only be found when outdoors, surrounded by greenery. For kids and adults, Cylburn Arboretum is a scenic escape from the city that offers environmental education in the context of dense, verdant surrounds, balancing information with the fun of exploration.
Cylburn was originally the estate of Jesse Tyson, a Quaker businessman and heir to a mining fortune. Built in 1863, the mansion at the heart of the grounds is an impressive example of the Victorian Renaissance Revival, elegantly overlooking the gardens that surround it. Outside the formal grounds however, Cylburn is allowed to exist relatively undisturbed, its woodlands altered only by hiking paths, which are open to the public and bordered by well-cared for wildflowers.
The carriage house to the north of the mansion harbors the Cylburn Nature Museum, which offers a hands-on approach to explaining the surrounding the environment. Almost every Saturday they’re open, the museum also hosts a free Nature Wonders event; each session focuses a different topic (previous and upcoming subjects include Maryland state nature symbols, “corn craze”, and the fall equinox). The programming is geared towards younger kids, but nature-inclined adults will enjoy participating, too.
With an awareness of the past and plenty of plants in towe, Cylburn manages to educate without feeling dry or tedious. The space is very much alive– learning seems to happen through observation and osmosis as much as anything else. While historic homes don’t typically conjure a great sense of adventure, Cylburn is exciting in its quaint, nature-focused way, and invites even the most aimless wanderer to harness their own curiosity.
To learn more about Cylburn Arboretum and their upcoming events, check out their website.