Scales & Tales

Park Ranger with Scales and Tales Hawk 

Many people consider it a tremendous thrill to catch a glimpse of a mysterious owl as it flies across a dark country road at night, or to see a majestic hawk soaring high in the sky on a bright clear day. Fewer people have seen these creatures from merely a few feet away.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources provides this opportunity to Marylanders every day. Scales & Tales, an environmental education program of the Maryland Park Service, affords people the opportunity to see live wildlife, mostly native to Maryland, up close and personal. This informati​ve and entertaining program uses live non-releasable birds of prey and reptiles to promote stewardship of our wildlife and other natural resources. Through the stories, or "tales" of how these animals come into the care of the program, Scales & Tales naturalists discuss very important environmental issues, such as loss of habitat, environmental pollution, resource management and biodiversity.

Scales & Tales presents these educational messages to the people of Maryland on a regular basis. Through formal program presentations at parks, schools, community centers, senior centers, and other similar facilities, as well as wildlife displays at numerous fairs and festivals, Scales & Tales reaches hundreds of thousands of people every year.


Photograph of Bald EagleScales & Tales could not help wildlife through education without the generous donations of our many supporters. Find out how you can help support Scales & Tales in our valuable mission through our animal Adoption Program.


Scales & Tales​ is presented in one of two formats. Naturalists can conduct a 45 minute presentation highlighting several of the animals individually. Each animal is discussed in detail and its tale is presented to address a particular stewardship message. Programs include:

  • Wings & Things
    All age groups
    Reptiles and birds demonstrate how we often judge an animal's value by the way it looks. Learn that all wildlife serves a purpose in nature.
  • Wings & Things Raptor Wrap-up
    All age groups
    Prepare for an in-depth look at raptors and other birds as we explore their natural history, conservation topics, and tell the "tales" of how each was brought into our care.
  • Reptile Wrap-Up
    All age groups
    The scaly creatures will captivate you as we share myths, histories and benefits of these often misunderstood animals.
  • Animal Sounds
    Children explore animal sounds and colors and how they use these in the wild. Reptiles and birds are used to delight even the youngest preschoolers.
  • Scales & Tall Tales
    Packed full of tales, fables and enhanced by various wildlife, this program is storytelling at its finest.
  • Adaption-Specialization
    Middle School to High School
    This program explores a wide range of specialization topics.
  • Wildlife LIVE: Environmental Issues
    Middle School to High School
    An innovative approach using student participation. Join the LIVE show to stimulate awareness, education and action. Pre-planning with educators is necessary.
  • Threatened & Endangered Species of the Chesapeake Bay
    Middle School to High School
    Offers an in-depth look at why species become endangered and the positive effects of wildlife conservation. Prepare for an Eagle encounter! Also available as a display.
  • Forest Friends
    Ages 4-11
    Two-hour private parties in the park including animal encounters, crafts and nature activities.
  • Campfire & Tall Tales
    All age groups
    Designed to give you the best of camping year-round with songs, storytelling and wild animals! Ask about our "Magic Fire" starter option.
  • Owl Prowl
    All age groups
    A wild adventure to seek the hunters of the night after learning about the magnificent birds!
  • Animal Homes
    Take an imaginary hike through forest and fields. Children learn the importance of healthy habitats when they meet live animals and where animals live in the wild.
  • Feathers in Focus
    All age groups
    Whether you are a professional or amateur photographer, capture our birds of prey on film in their wild setting.
  • Critter Encounter
    All age groups
    This is truly an up-close encounter with wild animals. We will come visit your campsite for a personalized program just for you!


Scales & Tales also features Wildlife on Display, popular at many fairs and festivals throughout the state. These displays feature several birds and reptiles exhibited in an informative and interactive manner. Naturalists are always on hand to answer questions and discuss the animals. Displays, featuring birds of prey and reptiles, can also be reserved for corporate picnics. Find out what package best suits your group. Plenty of children's activities and education fun facts will delight everyone.

More and more schools, libraries, scout groups, church groups and senior centers are discovering the value of this program every day. Reservations for programs can be made up to three months in advance. Scales & Tales has numerous facilities throughout Maryland's state parks. The program is available throughout Maryland and adjacent counties in surrounding states.


A service charge is required for Scales & Tales programs and displays. For reservations or more information about Scales & Tales, contact the Scales & Tales aviary nearest you.

Pocomoke River State Park
(located in Worcester County)

Tuckahoe State Park
(located in Caroline County)

Soldiers Delight NEA (Patapsco Valley State Park)
(located in Baltimore County)

Cunningham Falls State Park
(located in Frederick County)

Rocky Gap State Park
(located in Allegany County)

Deep Creek Lake State Park​
(located in Garrett County)

Program Administrator, Scales & Tales
Ranger Melissa Boyle Acuti

Online Services

Contact the Park Service

  • To Report Violations of Park Rules: 1-800-825-7275 (Park Watch) or 1-410-260-8888 (Communications Center)
  • General Information: 1-800-830-3974 (Annapolis Office)
  • Reservations: 1-888-432-2267
  • Email Us
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