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The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission

Locust Grove Nature Center – Facility Rentals

IMPORTANT: Reservations must be made at least 14 days (2 weeks) in advance of the reservation date, but you can reserve up to a year in advance. See instructions below for making reservations in Active Montgomery.

Campfire Rings & Picnic Pavilion

Imagine sitting around a cozy campfire roasting marshmallows and sharing stories with friends and family… then come to Locust Grove and make it happen! Private groups may reserve fire rings in 3-hour blocks year-round (available time blocks are shown by date in Active Montgomery). Expect to put out your fire in the last half hour of your reservation and fire must be fully out within 15 minutes of the end of your rental.

Each fire permit includes an agreement to accept responsibility for your group complying with all park rules and regulations while using the fire ring.

Cabin Patio and Fire Cooking Hearth: OPEN

patio with picnic tables
Cabin Patio
fire cooking hearth
Cabin Patio Fire cooking hearth

The new cooking hearth at the Cabin Patio is part of a level flagstone patio enclosed by a fence.  Limited to 30 guests. You can access this hearth easily from the parking lot and have the ability to pull up to unload or load decorations or food. The rental fee is $200 for 3 hours.  It is not available during birthday party time slots. Includes:

  • 4 picnic tables with umbrellas
  • 2 outdoor hearths with grill grates, wood included
  • Stair-free access from parking lot
  • Use of cabin indoor space which includes 3 picnic tables

We have three campfire rings available to rent. The fee is listed below for each 3 hour rental. Reservations must be made via Active Montgomery at least 2 weeks ahead of time. There is a $50 cancellation fee (see policy below).  

The N.E.A. Fire Ring: OPEN

Plant, Leaf, Tree, Natural landscape, Vegetation, Architecture, Grass, Sunlight, Shade, Outdoor furniture

The N.E.A. Fire Ring is located inside the Natural Exploration Area adjacent to the nature center. It provides convenient access to the building and features of the park.  It is partially separated from the play space with landscaping.  All children must be supervised in the exhibit area at all times. The fire ring is open and sunny and a shaded picnic bench is close by. It comfortably seats about 30 people. The rental fee is $150 for 3 hours.  The rental hours are limited to times when the NEA is not open to the public. Gates will be closed to keep the area limited to your group.  Please be aware that after dark rentals are for the fire ring are only. The play space is not illuminated and cannot be used after dark.

Oak Grove Fire Ring: OPEN

Oak Grove Campfire Area with benches at Locust Grove Nature Center

The Oak Grove Fire Ring is shaded and private. It is at the top of the hill and provides convenient access to the Picnic Shelter, which can be rented in conjunction with the fire ring. Limited to 40 guests. You can access this fire ring via a short trail from the top of the hill, or from the sidewalk along Democracy Boulevard (no stairs but steep slope). The rental fee is $150 for 3 hours.

The Sycamore Fire Ring: OPEN

Sycamore Fire Ring at LGNC
Sycamore Fire Ring at LGNC

The Sycamore Fire Ring is our largest and most distinctive. It is situated under the beautiful arching branches of our 200+ year-old sycamore tree. The murmuring sounds of Cabin John Creek can be heard nearby. The site is ideal for ceremonies of any kind. It also offers two picnic tables. The Sycamore is furthest from the parking lot and the nature center and requires walking down either a long staircase or a steep gravel trail to access. Limited to 60 guests. The rental fee is $175 for 3 hours.

Included in All Fire Ring Rentals:

  • Enough fuel (wood logs) for 3 hours. Additional firewood available at no additional charge but the quantity you are given is the correct amount for a safe fire. Flames must be under 3 feet high at all times and you may not forage additional wood from the park.
  • An empty safety bucket. You are required to fill this with water and keep it close to the fire ring at all times until the fire is fully put out. The bucket can be filled in one of our nearby spigots or in the creek and must be returned to the nature center at the end of your rental.
  • Access to the restrooms and water fountain in the nature center.

You must provide:

  • A starter, such as matches or a lighter, and any kindling needed to start the fire.
  • Marshmallows, roasting sticks, and any other food your group wishes to enjoy.
  • Trash bags (you must pack out all trash).
  • Someone to start the fire, and someone to watch the lit fire at all times.

Picnic Pavilion: Open

Would you like to host an event with shade or protection from the rain? The picnic pavilion is available sunrise to sunset, seven days a week. The pavilion is covered and includes six picnic tables. Capacity is approximately 40 people. This is an exclusive rental and is on a first come, first served basis. If you would like to book the pavilion with a fire ring, the Oak Grove fire ring is close to the pavilion.
Fee: $25 per hour. Reservations must be made via Active Montgomery at least 2 weeks in advance.  There is a $50 cancellation fee (see policy below). 

Picnic Pavilion at Locust Grove Nature Center
Picnic Pavilion at LGNC

Considerations for all Rentals:

  • Locust Grove Nature Center does not provide trash cans or trash pick up. All trash must be carried out by the renter. Disposing of food in fire rings or in the woods is considered littering and cleanup fees or fines may be assessed for trash or food left behind. All strings, signage, tape, and decorations must be removed at the end of the event.
  • All fires must be completely out (cold) prior to leaving the site. You should put out your fire a half hour before the end of your rental time to ensure it is cold and all other items are packed out by the end of your rental.
  • For the safety of wildlife, balloons and piñatas are not allowed.
  • Inclement Weather Policy: Locust Grove Nature Center encourages people to enjoy nature in all conditions. Events scheduled at the Fire Rings or Picnic Pavilion may be rescheduled in the case of inclement weather.

Cancellation Policy:

The host facility reserves the right to cancel the rental due to hazardous weather or facility conditions including emergencies and power outages. If canceled by the host facility, every attempt will be made to reschedule the reservation. If client does not wish to reschedule a full refund will be granted.  The client may cancel for any reason. All cancellations/changes must be made in writing via email to the host facility. If the reservation is canceled at least two weeks in advance, the fee will be refunded less a $50 cancellation fee to cover administrative costs. If cancellation occurs less than two weeks in advance, there is no refund of fees. We offer a one-time transfer of date change. Transfer of date is subject to availability and IS NOT guaranteed.

*These policies may be waived for extenuating circumstances like illness due to COVID. Please reach out to the host facility to discuss. We want everyone to be safe, even if that means rescheduling or cancelling a party or gathering.