Out of an abundance of caution - all Maryland Park Service Scales & Tales Aviaries are currently closed to the public and all programs with our bird ambassadors are now on hold due to the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. Thank you for your help in keeping both our animal ambassador and local bird populations safe during this time.
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 turtle on a log basking by the river. Fewer people have seen these creatures from merely a few feet away. The Maryland Park Service’s Scales & Tales Program offers that opportunity to everyone!
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 informativeand 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.
Ten parks across the state offer Scales & Tales programs. Some locations may have a small collection with only reptiles, while a wide range of birds are housed at the large aviaries.
Scales & Tales Programs
Scales & Tales is presented in one of two formats.
For smaller groups and individual classes, naturalists present programs highlighting several of the animals and their stories. For larger groups, Scales & Tales features wildlife displays- which are popular at many fairs and festivals throughout the state. These displays feature birds and reptiles exhibited in an informative and interactive manner.
Arrangements for programs should be made well in advance. Scales & Tales programs may be presented on-site at State Park facilities (preferred) or nearby off-site in public areas. Programs can be provided in public locations such as schools and libraries for audiences such as scout troops, church groups or social clubs. Programming, especially at off-site locations, may be limited due to staff availability. Some locations have aviaries that offer scheduled tours or general open hours that may provide alternative opportunities to learn about these fascinating creatures.
Scales & Tales Contact Information
A fee is charged for Scales & Tales programs and displays. To inquire about possibly programs or for general information about Scales & Tales at a particular park, contact the Scales & Tales Program nearest you.
Assateague State Park
Cunningham Falls State Park
Deep Creek Lake State Park
Gunpowder Falls State Park
Pocomoke River State Park
Rocky Gap State Park (Allegany County) 301-722-1480
Tuckahoe State Park
Soldiers Delight NEA- Patapsco Valley State Park (Baltimore County)
Southern Maryland Recreational Complex
* Reptiles Only
Merkle Natural Resources Management Area
(Prince George’s County)
Smallwood State Park
Scales & Tales Program Administrator, Chief of Interpretation
Ranger Melissa Boyle Acuti
How Can I Help?
Scales & 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 the Animal Adoption Program, available at select locations. You may also offer assistance in the form of a monetary donation, or donations of goods and supplies for the animals. Contact your nearest park directly to find out what their needs are and how you can help. Many parks have a “Wish List” of enrichment items for their animals. Some of the programs also need volunteers. All Scales & Tales volunteers must complete rigorous training.