Visit the Estuary

Visitor Information

Open to the public:

The Anita C. Leight Estuary Center Building

Monday 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Leight Park

Open daily:
Dawn to Dusk Gates close at dusk

Located on the shores of Otter Point Creek, the Estuary Center is open to the public seven days a week, year-round, except for holidays. Stroll through the Visitor Center’s hands-on exhibits to learn about Chesapeake Bay ecology and other fascinating facts about the local flora and fauna. Explore the Discovery Room, home to a 300-gallon freshwater turtle pond and other amazing critters. Meander the 2 miles of hiking trails through dappled upland forests of black gum and maple trees. Your child can play and explore in the Nature Discovery Area right off the Discovery Trail. No matter what you choose, just make sure to come see what the Estuary Center has to offer the whole family!

Hiking and Paddle Trails

Otter Point Creek Component consists of two land areas connected by water:

Trails are open to the public from dawn to dusk. 

In our Reserve, please remember:

Nature Discovery Area

The Nature Discovery Area was developed in 2019 by CBNERR’s Chesapeake Conservation Corps Intern Olivia Wisner as her capstone project.

We welcome it as a wonderful invitation to families to spend time together in the outdoors.

It is a beautiful outdoor setting where kids can exercise their imagination and their muscles. It provides a safe location to explore in a natural area that uses mostly natural materials to stimulate the imagination and creative play. There are stations for everyone – musical, performing arts, weather, kitchen, and even a sunken canoe! Who knows what journey awaits! 

The grounds are open to the public from dawn to dusk. Please remember to follow all Reserve rules.

Exhibit Hall & Live Animals

There are always things to see, touch, and learn about at the Center

Stroll through the Visitor Center’s hands-on exhibits to learn about Chesapeake Bay ecology and other fascinating facts about the local flora and fauna. As you wander along the exhibits, you will learn about the natural history of Otter Point Creek and its part in the Chesapeake Bay. Upon your first visit, you can complete a scavenger hunt throughout the exhibit hall to collect a prize in the gift shop! While our exhibit hall hosts many of the big programs, there are always things to see, touch, and learn about at the Center.

Interested to read about what you might find around the Estuary?

Many of the information boards around the exhibit hall will provide species accounts and other helpful identification tips! Feel free to relax on the back deck while you flip through some field guides and explore our book collection. For an entire listing of all of the species found at Otter Point Creek, click here.

In the exhibit hall sits the Discovery Room, home to a 300-gallon freshwater turtle pond and other amazing critters such as corn snakes and box turtles. Join us and attend a critter program to meet some of our critters; you might even get to feed them! For a full list of our current animals, please click here to download.  The Discovery Room can be viewed at any time while the center is open. Handling of the animals will only be done during one of our programs.  

Would you like to get involved with the animals at the Center? Check out our volunteer page for current opportunities and information to become one of our volunteers. If not, there’s many other ways to help! You can make a donation or check out the items we need on our Amazon Wishlist.