Gulf Branch Nature Center & Park


About this Nature Center

Gulf Branch Nature Center hosts year-round programs and special events, including seasonal festivals, nature walks, hikes, and campfires. 

Staffed by friendly and knowledgeable people, the nature center features exhibits on natural and cultural history, as well as live animals.

Wooded trails take you through Gulf Branch Park.  Features include a vernal pond, pollinator gardens, and a restored 19th century log cabin.  Gulf Branch stream flows from the surrounding neighborhoods to the Potomac River.  Additional trails take you from the center to the river along Gulf Branch, traveling through one of Arlington's Natural Resource Conservation Areas.


  • View available activities at Gulf Branch. Center staff provide year-round programming for community members of all ages and abilities. Seasonal festivals and special events are also a highlight!
  • Request a naturalist-led program for your school, scout troop, preschool, etc. Many of our school programs have been aligned with VDOE’s Science Standards of Learning. To request a program, call 703-228-3403 or email  Please request your program at least three weeks in advance. Requested programs for private groups are available during open hours. 


Displays on natural and cultural history, live animals, pollinator gardens, trails to the Potomac River, a vernal pond, a stream, a campfire ring, and a restored 19th century log cabin.


Gulf Branch Nature Center has been a part of the Arlington community for more than 50 years! Gulf Branch was Arlington County’s very first nature center.  Since 1966, nature center staff have provided environmental education and nature programming to Arlington residents of all ages.

Blacksmiths at Gulf Branch

The Blacksmiths Guild of Potomac operates the forge at Gulf Branch and meets the first and third Friday at 7:30 p.m. Meetings are free and open to the public. The guild also shares its craft at special events and programs throughout the year.

Celebrate Your Birthday

Children ages 4 and up will love this chance to go wild on their birthdays. Parties include the use of our classroom for three hours and a live animal show with a naturalist, featuring your choice of turtles, snakes or frogs. We also provide trail maps, scavenger hunts, and more ideas for naturally fun activities. Download the flyer for more info. To request a date for your party, call 703-228-3403 or email Please request your party at least three weeks in advance.


Click here to learn more about volunteer opportunities.

Gulf Branch Nature Center Volunteer With Us Poster

RiP – Gulf Branch Invasive Plant Removal

Do you like working outside? Join community volunteers in protecting the local environment from invasive plants. This is a continuing project on the second Saturday of each month to reclaim the natural area near Gulf Branch Nature Center from invasive plants. Learn more about this ongoing volunteer opportunity.

Directions Transit Parking

Parking: Limited

Nature Center Map, Park Map

Visit Gulf Branch on Facebook or Instagram

TTY: 711
Inclement Weather Line: 703-228-4715

Learn Park Rules and Regulations. And remember, please don't smoke in our parks.


3608 North Military Rd, Arlington, VA 22207  View Map

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