MN Nature Activities: July 25–July 30

MN Nature bids July 2016 farewell with a grand list of outdoor activities that stretch late into the bright summery evenings. Be sure to relish in the long days and enjoy the bountiful lightning bugs gracefully dotting the landscape just at dusk. As always, these recreation events are free unless otherwise noted, and many are family-friendly. Oh, and we all probably knew it was a matter of time before Parks picked up on the Pokemon craze. Well, let’s go!

MONDAY — 07/25/2016

Little Explorers: P is for Patterns in Nature
10 AM to 11 AM Through stories, activities and a craft our smallest visitors discover a new letter of nature’s alphabet each week. This special program is designed to capture the interest of children ages 3-6 and their adults. This week, have a blast discovering why patterns are important in nature. Join the fun at the visitor center each Monday at 10 AM from June 13 to Aug. 29 (with the exception of July 4). Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Interstate State Park

Wildlife Ambassador Meet & Greet
11 AM to 11:30 AM Come to the St. Croix Lodge Interpretive Center to see us feed the turtles, fish and frogs. Call 320-384-6591.
St. Croix State Park

Gooseberry Pokemon Hunt
11 AM to 12 PM Have you been playing Pokemon Go? Did you know that Gooseberry is a Pokemon Haven? Test your skills and catch some Pokemon at the park. Come for a short walk where we discover the history of Gooseberry while catching and battling Pokemon. We will hit up 6 Pokestops and test our Pokemon at a gym. There will be a lure to start the hike and don’t forget to put an egg in the incubator before we go catch ’em all!
Gooseberry Falls State Park

Pothole Exploration Tour
12 PM to 1 PM Discover how lakes of lava and gushing glacial waters formed the park’s unique potholes as you journey over, under and through world-renowned rock features on this naturalist-guided tour. This 45-minute walk includes some uneven terrain and stairs. Meet at the visitor center.
Interstate State Park

Saint Louis River Fishing Excursion
1:30 PM to 4:30 PM Join one of our naturalists on an exclusive fishing experience on the St. Louis River. We will meet at the River Inn and then hit the trail for a 30-minute hike to the fishing hole, where we will spend up to 2 hours fishing. Equipment and bait will be provided, but please bring water, hiking boots, tick/bug prevention, and a snack. No fishing license required. Pre-registration is required (maximum 8 people).
Jay Cooke State Park (Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center)

Slinky Stinky Weasel- Junior Naturalist (ages 5-15)
3 PM to 4 PM Join the naturalist to learn about amazing otters, sneaky weasels, tree climbing fishers, and other mammals in the weasel family. You will be able to touch many things and learn about some of their abnormal adaptations.
Lake Carlos State Park (Meet at the Visitor Center)

Evening Nature Hike
8 PM to 9 PM Lace up your boots to take a hike with a naturalist and you’ll be sure to learn something new. Tonight we will hike into blueberry heaven, aka the bountiful rocky outcrops within Jay Cooke State Park. Let’s see what bounty nature has in store for us!
Jay Cooke State Park

 

TUESDAY — 07/26/2016

Itasca’s Presenters Under the Pines: Itasca: The First 125 Years Talk and Wildflower Walk with Author Deane Johnson
10:30 AM to 11:30 AM Deane Johnson, author of The Best of Itasca: A Guide to Minnesota’s Oldest State Park, will talk about some of the little-known stories of early explorers and visitors to the park, and how their travels and wild claims triggered Itasca’s formation. Then he will focus on the wildflowers in bloom now. Talk begins at 10:30 a.m. followed by a walk to explore summer flowers, with tips for wildflower photos.
Itasca State Park (Meet at Forest Inn)

Falls View Hike
11 AM to 12 PM Come witness the rich history of Gooseberry Falls State Park as we hike around the falls. Don’t forget your camera. Hike includes descending stairs on this 3/4 mile walk.
Gooseberry Falls State Park (Meet at the Visitor Center Art Column)

Turtle Tuesday
1 PM to 2 PM Turtles love prairie potholes and we love turtles. Join the naturalist for a turtle story or activity then watch a snapping or painted turtle swim, exercise and hunt in an outdoor pool.
Sibley State Park (Meet in the Interpretive Center Pond Room)

Minnesota’s Moose Discovery Cart
1 PM to 2:30 PM Learn about Minnesota moose. Discover the features that enable moose to thrive in the northwoods and identify signs of their presence in the woods.
Gooseberry Falls State Park

Stories in Stone
1 PM to 2 PM Jay Cooke State Park has been shaped by many natural events over time. Join us on this geology walk along the river as we discover the stories left behind in the stone.
Jay Cooke State Park (Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center)

Nature Time at the Beach
1 PM to 2 PM Hey kids! Join a naturalist at the beach for a hands-on nature activity. Meet at the Beach.
Whitewater State Park

Outdoor Kids: Bugs ‘n’ Stuff
2 PM to 3:30 PM Kids of all ages come out and explore nature at your leisure. This program series allows kids to connect with nature through hands-on activities that focus on life around the lake. Have fun discovering Itasca while hanging out at the swimming beach or playground.
Itasca State Park: Meet by the Swim Beach/ Playground (at the south end of the picnic grounds on Lake Itasca)

Pollinators and Beeswax Candle Making
2:30 PM to 4 PM Join the naturalist to learn about honey bees, Minnesota’s native bees, and other pollinators that play an important role in food production and many other things we love. Stick around to learn how to make your own set of beeswax candles to take with you. Small donations are appreciated to cover the cost of the supplies. All are welcome.
Lake Carlos State Park (Meet at the Visitor Center)

Junior Naturalists – Spying on Birds
4 PM to 5 PM Explore the outdoors during this kid?s program. Learn to identify some common bird songs, explore the science of flying and head out on the trail to spy on birds. Binoculars provided. Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center.
Jay Cooke State Park

Tree Steward Training
4:30 PM to 8:30 PM The University of Minnesota Department of Forest Resources, Tree Trust, the Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa, and HandsOn Twin Cities have partnered with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to provide support for the “Improving Community Forests Through Citizen Engagement” grant. Funding for this project has been provided by The Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). Overall, 12 communities have been selected for this grant and will be provided technical and educational support to diversify, maintain, and monitor their community forests through the assistance of citizen volunteers. More information http://www.mntreesource.com/
Newell Park Recreation Center 900 Fairview Avenue S, St. Paul, MN 55116

Northeast Minnesota Moose Study
7 PM to 8 PM Join us for the current status of the Adult Moose Mortality Project that is now in its’ forth year. Dawn Plattner currently works for the Minnesota DNR’s Wildlife Health Program as the field biologist on this important project.
Bear Head Lake State Park

Life of a Voyageur!
8 PM to 9 PM Paddle back to the days of the North American Fur Trade and explore the lives of the hardy French-Canadian Voyageurs. Audience participation is definitely included as you?ll watch an ?average Joe? transform into a robust fur trader right before your eyes!
Jay Cooke State Park (Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center)

 

WEDNESDAY — 07/27/2016

Lake Superior Yoga $$$
8 AM to 9 AM Let your partner get the kids fed at your campsite and come on down to Lake Superior for a relaxing yoga session. This free yoga session will meet on the plaza behind the Visitor Center or in the Tettegouche Meeting Room if the weather is not nice. Bring a yoga pad or sleeping mat if you have one, otherwise loaners are available. $10 per person fee.
Tettegouche State Park

Beginning Canoeing
9:30 AM to 11:30 AM Join us every other Wednesday in June, July and August to learn canoeing basics from a Naturalist. We will cover safety, parts of the canoe and paddles, and learn strokes before heading out on to the water to practice our skills. Equipment will be provided, so come enjoy a paddle on a quite lake. Please call the park to register for this event or for more information.
Glacial Lakes State Park (Meet at the boat access near the beach)

Nature in All Seasons
10 AM to 11 AM Join a naturalist and explore the world of Gooseberry as we create a unique journal and record nature observations. Be ready to find nature on a short ? mile walk.
Gooseberry Falls State Park (Meet at the lower campground shelter)

Geocaching 101
11 AM to 1 PM
Location: Sibley State Park
Description: GPS? Geocache?! Join a naturalist to discover more about the great high tech treasure hunt! Find the naturalist outside the lake Andrew store near the beach. In case of inclement weather, find the naturalist at the interpretive center.
Directions: On U.S. Hwy. 71, 15 miles north of Willmar.
More Information: Call 320-354-2055.

Itasca’s Mysteries in History: Vacation Playland- Bygone Resorts of Itasca, Car Tour
11 AM to 12 PM As early as the late 1890s tourism was so popular at Lake Itasca that various resorts and stores sprang up to meet their needs. Tourists would arrive by rail to the town of Shevlin then be transported via stage coach to the park if they didn’t have their own horse or automobile. Join the naturalist on this combination walking/car tour of the former resort sites of Itasca including McMullen’s Ranch, Wegmann’s Store, Park View Resort and the original Headwaters Inn. Notes: Bring your car to the parking lot by the picnic shelter in the main picnic grounds (near Wegmann’s Store).
Itasca State Park (Meet at Picnic Shelter parking lot)

Nature Explorations: Wild Wednesday Junior Naturalist Programs
1 PM to 3 PM Join us for a different nature program every other Wednesday in June, July and August. These programs are designed for children aged 5-15, but all are welcome. We will be exploring topics like frogs and toads, insects, fish, and more. Call the park or check online for more specific information regarding a specific date. Please call the park for more information and to register for this event.
Glacial Lakes State Park (Meet at the picnic tables by the beach area)

Wednesday Trail Walk
1 PM to 2:30 PM Get outside and discover whatever natural happenings we can see along the trail. Add to your miles for the 125 mile challenge!
Gateway State Trail

 

THURSDAY — 07/28/2016

Two Wheeled Tour – Biking the Munger Trail
10 AM to 12 PM Join us on the Tour de Jay Cooke State Park to learn about the history of the park as we bike the scenic Willard Munger State Trail. The round trip bike ride is 7 miles which can be applied to your “Bike, Boot, or Boat” mileage celebrating Minnesota State Parks 125th Anniversary! Bring your own bike and helmets are required. Preregister at the park office or interpretive center.
Jay Cooke State Park (Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center parking lot)

Circle Time Under the Pines: O is for Otters (2-5 years old)
10:30 AM to 11:30 AM Below Wegmann’s Store, underneath a big pine tree, join us on the large blanket to explore the world of otters through stories, song, craft, and outdoor discovery. Adults must accompany children. Consider bringing a picnic lunch and enjoying your noon meal at the park after the program.
Itasca State Park (Meet by the Museum Amphitheater, Look for a large blanket underneath a big pine tree; If raining, meet inside Lakeside Museum)

Prairie Preschool: Water Series
10:30 AM to 11:30 AM Little naturalists, ages 2-6, are welcome each Thursday for Prairie Preschool. We will explore a monthly theme using play, stories, hands-on activities, and short hikes. Children of all ages welcome but lessons are designed for early learners. Water theme topics during the month of July include: dragonflies, fish, turtles, and rivers. Program starts at the Nature Center. Consider packing a lunch and your swimsuit to enjoy the picnic grounds and swimming beach at Buffalo River State Park. Event is free but there is a $5 daily fee to enter the state park or you can purchase an annual pass. In the event of rain, program will take place inside the Nature Center.
Buffalo River State Park

Falls View Hike
11 AM to 12 PM Come witness the rich history of Gooseberry Falls State Park as we hike around the falls. Don’t forget your camera. Hike includes descending stairs on this 3/4 mile walk.
Gooseberry Falls State Park (Meet at the Visitor Center Art Column)

Wildlife Ambassador Meet & Greet
11 AM to 11:30 AM Come to the St. Croix Lodge Interpretive Center to see us feed the turtles, fish and frogs.
St. Croix State Park

Nature Time at the Beach
1 PM to 2 PM Hey kids! Join a naturalist at the beach for a hands-on nature activity. Meet at the Beach.
Whitewater State Park

Nature Play – Tracking the Wild Animal
1 PM to 2:30 PM Investigate clues animals leave behind and learn how to identify them, and check out our scent post stations to see who’s recently dropped by. Learn how to explore the outdoors during this kid’s program series. Each week we’ll investigate a different topic through fun games and hands on activities. Special emphasis is placed on nature observation skills, exploring safely and activities to do in your own backyard. The “Nature Play” series of programs will occur weekly from June 9–August 25.
Jay Cooke State Park (Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center)

Birds Discovery Tent
1 PM to 3 PM Discover the many birds that call Gooseberry home. Try your luck identifying birds based on their unique songs and calls. Make a pine-cone bird feeder to take home. Drop by along the paved trail to Middle Falls.
Gooseberry Falls State Park

Historic CCC Buildings Walk
1:30 PM to 2 PM Learn about the ‘boys’ that built Forest Inn, Old Timer’s Cabin and more. Come for the walk as we talk about the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) on this walking tour of buildings around the Douglas Lodge area, ending at the CCC Old Timer’s Cabin.
Itasca State Park (Meet outside Forest Inn, across from Douglas Lodge)

Old Timer’s Cabin, Open Tour
2 PM to 3:30 PM Only 4 (massive) logs tall, learn more about this Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) constructed building. The Naturalist staff will have the cabin open for you to tour at your leisure.
Itasca State Park (Held at the Old Timer’s Cabin, located along the boardwalk below Douglas Lodge)

Thursday Evening Trail Walks
6 PM to 7:30 PM
Explore the trail on foot to see what new mysteries we discover this week. Add to your miles for the 125 mile challenge!
Gateway State Trail (Meet at Ramsey County Court building parking area.)

Batty about Bats
7:30 PM to 9:30 PM Join us in search for these “creatures of the night” and learn their special adaptations and abilities. The fun, family evening includes games, songs, activities, and the chance to see the bats begin their nightly search for food. Please use the back (winter) entrance and meet by the Alaska Shaft. The program is held outside, so dress appropriately. There is no charge for this program.
Lake Vermilion – Soudan Underground Mine State Park

The Real Batman
8 PM to 9 PM Who swoops and glides through the night to catch a tasty treat? Join a naturalist to dive into the world of Minnesota’s rad creatures of the night sky.
Sibley State Park (Meet at the interpretive center)

100 Years at Jay Cooke State Park
8 PM to 9 PM Discover what has happened in the park over the past century during this historic photo and video presentation.
Jay Cooke State Park (Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center)

Throwback Thursday Movie Night
7:30 PM to 8:30 AM Come out for an evening of good old fashioned nature movies These educational nature center classics are reminiscent of the old fashioned 16 mm film and VHS video format.
Itasca State Park (Held in the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center)

 

FRIDAY — 07/29/2016

Fishing Frenzy Fridays
9 AM to 11 AM Join a naturalist every Friday for a morning of fishing and hands-on learning. We will discover the world of fish and then show you how to catch them. Bring your own bait, worms work best. Also bring a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a water bottle. Limited rods and reels will be provided. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Meet at the amphitheater. Only non-Minnesota residents need a fishing license.
Lake Carlos State Park

Parks for Monarchs: Meet the Butterfly Guy
10 AM to 2 PM The Monarch is our state butterfly but is facing population decline. Come learn about this beautiful insect, and meet live Monarch members in all stages of life. Perhaps you’ll even be able to take one home to raise and release on your own! Drop by to find him inside the Visitor Center.
Gooseberry Falls State Park

Junior Naturalists – Learning to Fly
10:30 AM to 11:30 AM Birds go through many changes in the short time before they leave the nest. Kids will explore the many stages of a bird from egg to fledgling through fun activities. No flying experience necessary! Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center.
Jay Cooke State Park

Kids’ Fishing Fridays
10:30 AM to 12 PM Kids, bring an adult with you and learn the new skill of fishing. Suitable for ages 6-12. NOTES: An adult must accompany children. Bring your own fishing pole or use one provided (limited number). Poles are available on first come first serve basis. Artificial bait provided. Non-Minnesota residents will need a fishing license (within the park, purchase at Itasca Sports Rental).
Itasca State Park (Meet at the Itasca Fishing Pier, below Douglas Lodge)

Mississippi River Facts Walk
11 AM to 11:30 AM Learn about fun facts of the Mississippi Headwaters during this short naturalist-led walk to the Headwaters of the Mississippi River. Topics vary.
Itasca State Park (Meet at the compass rose under the porch of the Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center)

Birding for Beginners
11 AM to 12 PM
Meet the naturalist inside the St. Croix Lodge Interpretive Center to learn the basics of birding and take a birding walk with the naturalist. This program is appropriate for ages 8+.
St. Croix State Park

Pothole Exploration Tour
12 PM to 1 PM Discover how lakes of lava and gushing glacial waters formed the park’s unique potholes as you journey over, under and through world-renowned rock features on this naturalist-guided tour. This 45-minute walk includes some uneven terrain and stairs. Meet at the visitor center.
Interstate State Park

Nature Time at the Beach
1 PM to 2 PM Hey kids! Join a naturalist at the beach for a hands-on nature activity.
Whitewater State Park (Meet at the Beach)

I Can Fish! – Shoreline Fridays
1 PM to 3 PM Have you always wanted to learn how to fish but had no one to teach you? Or perhaps you?d just like to enjoy a relaxing afternoon fishing with the kids. Join us each week as we learn all about fishing: identifying, casting, equipment and more. Then take your new skills and spend a little time with us fishing along the shore of the river. Equipment, bait, and instruction provided. MN residents do not need a fishing license. The walk from the visitor center to the fishing spot is ¼ mile.
Jay Cooke State Park (Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center)

Trail Trivia Timeout!
1 PM to 3 PM
Test your skill and knowledge of the Gateway and Brown’s Creek state trails. Find the naturalist at the rest stop at Duluth Junction (the intersection of the two trails near Hwy 96 in Grant) to learn some fun facts about the trails you love.
Gateway and Brown’s Creek State Trails

River Life – Starring the Crayfish
1 PM to 3 PM The pool at the mouth of the Baptism River is teaming with crayfish…and other aquatic creatures, as well. Come dip for crayfish and learn how to tell boys from girls and perhaps even model your own Crayfish Earrings (a Tettegouche State Park exclusive)!
Water shoes are encouraged. Plan to get a little wet!
Tettegouche State Park

Archery in the Parks
2 PM to 3 PM Archery in the Parks is hands-on instruction shooting a bow and arrow from certified instructors in a safe and supportive environment. Aim for family adventure with kid friendly equipment designed for beginners age 8 and older. Children age 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Personal archery equipment is not allowed. All archery programs are free with a Minnesota State Parks vehicle entrance permit. No registration necessary.
St. Croix State Park (Meet outside the St. Croix Lodge)

I Can Fish!
3 PM to 5 PM Join us as we learn all about fishing – identifying species, casting, and more. Then use your new skills to fish from the bank of the Rum River. We provide the poles, bait and instructor. Minnesota residents do not need a fishing license for this activity. Meet at the interpretive Center. We will walk a short distance, fish until 4:30, then finish up back at the interpretive center by 5 p.m.
Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

I Can Fish: Fishing Friday
3 PM to 5 PM Join us to try your hand at a classic Minnesota hobby. You’ll learn about some common Minnesota fish species, how to bait a hook and cast, and much more! Equipment provided, no license required for Minnesota residents. Registration required. Call 612-725-2724 to register — please call 612-725-2724 to be placed on the waitlist.
Fort Snelling State Park

Whose Scat is That? Station
3 PM to 4 PM Everyone does it … but who left behind what? Learn how you can tell which creature left behind which evidence during this drop-in station with the naturalist. This ongoing station takes about ten minutes. The station will be located in an area with even, paved surfaces.
Interstate State Park

Day Hill Hike
3 PM to 4 PM Humans have long left their marks on the Northshore, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park has been no exception. Join a naturalist as we discover the vibrant pieces of Split Rock Lighthouse State Park?s past that make it a dynamic mosaic of cultural history on a guided one mile hike up to the top of Day Hill. Be prepared to hike on uneven terrain and short steep hill section. Water bottle and camera are recommended.
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park (Meet at the campground bathrooms)

Nature in All Seasons
3 PM to 4 PM Seasonal changes in nature are called Phenology. Join a naturalist and explore the world of Gooseberry as we take a closer look at the phenology of the park. You?ll create a unique journal to record and remember your nature observations. Be ready to find nature on a short ¼ mile walk. Bug spray and camera are recommended.
Gooseberry Falls State Park (Meet at the Visitor Center Art Column)

Ghost Town Cemetery Field Trip
6 PM to 8 PM The town of Beaver was abandoned in 1938 after repeated flooding. This ghost town cemetery holds many stories of pioneers, civil war veterans, Minnesota conservation hero Richard Dorer and others who have lived in the Whitewater Valley. Join us for a cemetery visit and learn some fascinating history about the area. Bring your own transportation as the cemetery is located 5 miles north of the park. We’ll begin at the Visitor Center.
Whitewater State Park

Tools of the Trade, Logging Days
6:30 PM to 7:30 PM Before St. Croix State Park had roads, it had logging camps. Meet the naturalist at the Council Ring to learn about the division of labor in the early days of lumbering and try antique hand tools.
St. Croix State Park

Birds of Brown’s Creek State Trail
7 PM to 8 PM We will leave the Nature Reserve parking area (Neal Avenue crossing) at 7 p.m. and return to the starting point at 8 p.m. We will identify as many species as we can by sight and sound during the hour. Bring binoculars if you have them a limited number are available.
Brown’s Creek State Trail Neal Ave area

Cats of the Northwoods
7 PM to 8 PM ere Kitty, Kitty, Kitty. Come see for yourself how you size up to some of the wild cats that call the Northwoods home. Join a Naturalist to discover some interesting information on the secretive world of the park’s felines.
Gooseberry Falls State Park (Meet at lady slipper lodge)

Mary Gibbs Heroine of Itasca with Charlie Maguire Centennial Troubadour for Minnesota State Parks. Happy Birthday Itasca! Weekend Festival
7:30 PM to 9 PM Join us for a presentation on the courageous young woman Mary Gibbs, first female Park Commissioner, and her challenge of defending the forest of Itasca State Park against armed lumbermen at the headwaters in 1903.
Itasca State Park: Meet for the Campfire program at the Museum Amphitheater (inside the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center if raining).

Nocturnal Animals
8 PM to 9 PM Ever wondered which animals are awake and roaming around at night while you?re sleeping soundly in your sleeping bag? Maybe you could have sworn you heard Bigfoot trying to get into your cooler at night! Come learn all about the different nocturnal animals we have here in the park and what adaptions make it possible for them to live their nighttime lifestyles!
Wild River State Park (Meet at the Amphitheater)

Universe in the Park (Night Skies)
8 PM to 10 PM Members of the Minnesota Institute of Astrophysics will be on hand to give an approachable presentation on the Cosmos followed by telescope viewing, weather permitting. This free program is kid-friendly, so bring the whole family!
Tettegouche State Park

Y-O-U-Niverse
8 PM to 9 PM What is a star made of? What if one fell into a black hole? Join a naturalist as we talk about star stuff and other awesome things in the night sky.
Sibley State Park (Meet at the outside Interpretive Center amphitheater)

Life of a Voyageur!
8 PM to 9 PM Paddle back to the days of the North American Fur Trade and explore the lives of the hardy French-Canadian Voyageurs. Audience participation is definitely included as you?ll watch an ?average Joe? transform into a robust fur trader right before your eyes!
Jay Cooke State Park (Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center)

Fantastic Frogs and Toads
9 PM to 10 PM Leap into the world of frogs and toads! Discover which species call Minnesota home and learn about their fascinating lifecycle. Find out which frog is the largest, which frog turns into an ice cube, and which frog has special suction cup-like toes. Hop on down to the amphitheater for a closer look and meet some of these special animals in person.
Forestville Mystery Cave State Park

 

SATURDAY — 07/30/2016

Birding at Bear Head
8 AM to 10 AM
Meet at the park office for a guided walk to listen and look for the variety of bird species within the park. A limited number of binoculars will be available for free checkout or bring your own. Dress for the weather, insect repellent is recommended. Current Minnesota State Park vehicle permits are required.
Bear Head Lake State Park

Eye Spy Photography
9 AM to 12 PM Come join us as local photographer John White shares his understanding of visualizing composition in a natural setting. The program will begin at 9AM Saturday July 30th, at the Bonanza Learning Center. Program is open to all ages, but it is intended as a beginners and introductory level program. No registration is necessary. The park will provide all equipment needed, but some sharing may be necessary depending on number of participants.
Big Stone Lake State Park

Study Monarchs: Citizen Science Opportunity at Assiniboia Skipper Prairie SNA $$$ —Volunteer Opportunity
9 AM to 12:30 PM To understand the monarch migration, researchers in the United States rely on the help of citizen like you to collect data during all phases of the life cycle. Studying the presence of monarchs at Assiniboia Skipper Prairie SNA helps researchers gain insights into population trends and factors influencing migration. This program will teach the basics of egg, larva, and adult identification as well as how to record the information for the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (MLMP). The majority of our time will be spent on Assiniboia SNA collecting data for the MLMP. For more information check out: http://monarchlab.org/mlmp his program will begin in the campground picnic shelter with a short PowerPoint followed by a caravan to Assiniboia Skipper Prairie SNA
Buffalo River State Park

Minnesota Dragonfly Society Workshop
9:30 AM to 4 PM Dragonflies are gorgeous insects and they are voracious predators of many bugs, including mosquitoes! This free workshop given by the MN Dragonfly Society includes a dragonfly presentation and fieldwork. Participants will catch and identify dragonflies with help from experts. Beginners and families are welcome. Dress for the weather and bring a bag lunch, drinks and rubber boots or old shoes. Loaner field guides and insect nets are provided. Meet at the Visitor Center.
Big Bog State Recreation Area

Lake Itasca Region Pioneer Farmers Tour
10 AM to 12 PM Tour begins at the Levorsen Building located on the Pioneer Farmer showgrounds.* The showground is located on the north side of Itasca State Park. Go out the North Entrance to Itasca State Park, entrance is on the east side of the North Entrance Road (across from the church and gas station).*Tour begins promptly at 10 a.m. Get a feel for the early 1900s community of Lake Itasca at the Lake Itasca Region Pioneer Farmers Showgrounds (LIRPF). See the Itasca Historic Sawmill. Explore various buildings from a country school, dove-tail one-room log house and a logging museum.
Itasca State Park

Mushrooms and More Hike
10 AM to 11:30 AM Want to learn about the many species of mushrooms and edible plants at Forestville Mystery Cave State Park. Wear long pants, closed toe shoes and plenty of bug spray as you will be venturing off trail on forage through the woods. This program is recommended for people 8 and older but is open to all who are up for the adventure.
Forestville Mystery Cave State Park

Little Park on the Prairie
10 AM to 11 AM Minnesota?s native prairies are almost gone, but prairie restorations like Amador Prairie give a small idea what the prairies of the past were like. Join the park naturalist to hike through a restored section of prairie and find out why many people are restoring prairies in their own yards. Long pants, closed-toe shoes and water are recommended. Meet at the Trail Center.
Wild River State Park

Five Facts in Five Minutes: Woodpeckers of Itasca
10 AM to 12 PM Near the Mississippi Headwaters (under the porch of the Mary Gibbs Mississippi Headwaters Center if rain.)
Itasca State Park

Lil’ Park PEEPS – Slumbering Bears
10:30 AM to 11:30 AM Bring your ?Lil? PEEP? to this preschool environmental education program designed for ages 2 ? 5 years. We?ll explore bears and how animals survive winter through engaging stories, songs, activities and outdoor exploration. Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center.
Jay Cooke State Park

Park BINGO Scavenger Hunt
10 AM to 3 PM There are so many things to discover at the park! Stop by the visitor center between 10 A.M and 3 P.M to pick up a BINGO scavenger hunt card as you set out to find unique items within the park. Claim a prize at the visitor center if you succeed.
Interstate State Park

Fossil Field Trip
10 AM to 12 PM On this trip you will find, and can keep, fossils of plants and animals that lived here hundreds of millions of years ago. They were on earth long before the dinosaurs! What can they tell us about this area’s past? Fossil cards, to display your collection, will be distributed. Bring transportation, as the site is nine miles from the park.
Whitewater State Park

Interpretive Nature Walk
10 AM to 11:30 AM Join naturalist Bruce Ause on a 1-mile interpretive nature hike.
Frontenac State Park (Meet at the Amphitheater in the campground)

Archery in the Park
10 AM to 11:30 AM
The sport of shooting arrows has been around for thousands of years. First humans used archery as a way to hunt animals and later as a way to compete against each other. Archery is an activity that people from all walks of life and almost every size and ability can participate and have fun. This program covers the basics of archery (safety, proper care of the equipment and how to use a bow). Archery in the Park provides a safe place for children over the age of eight to learn how to shoot a bow. Participants will be able to practice their new skills on a target. Please meet at the Upper Picnic Area.
Fort Ridgely State Park

Morning Wildflower Stroll
10 AM to 11 AM oin the naturalist for an easy morning stroll on the pondview trail loop, to take in the sights, sounds, and enjoy the late summer blooms. Bring your plant ID books and a camera if you’d like, and we suggest a hat, sunscreen, and water bottle.
Sibley State Park (Meet outside the interpretive center. Starts promptly)

Parks for Monarchs: Monarchs versus Moths! What’s the Difference?
10 AM to 11 AM Hey kids, join the naturalist today to learn about the beautiful Monarch butterfly and how they are similar and different from moths! Learn how to help and attract them to your own neighborhood and make a beautiful butterfly to take home with you! This also counts toward a Jr. Park Naturalist Patch! Learn how you can earn yours today! Meet at the Visitor Center!
William O’Brien State Park

Parks for Monarchs: Meet the Butterfly Guy
10 AM to 2 PM The Monarch is our state butterfly but is facing population decline. Come learn about this beautiful insect, and meet live Monarch members in all stages of life. Perhaps you’ll even be able to take one home to raise and release on your own! Drop by to find him inside the Visitor Center.
Gooseberry Falls State Park

Group Songwriting-Creating the Itasca Birthday Song. Happy Birthday Itasca! Weekend Festival
10 AM to 11:30 AM Campers and park visitors, help us write the 125th Anniversary Song for Itasca with Charlie Maguire, Centennial Troubadour for Minnesota State Parks. The song will be performed by Charlie at the evening concert. Be a part of making a musical memory in Itasca’s 125th birthday year.
Itasca State Park (Held at Forest Inn, across from Douglas Lodge)

Pothole Exploration Tour
12 PM to 1 PM Discover how lakes of lava and gushing glacial waters formed the park’s unique potholes as you journey over, under and through world-renowned rock features on this naturalist-guided tour. This 45-minute walk includes some uneven terrain and stairs. Meet at the visitor center.
Interstate State Park

125th Anniversary Program: Parks for Monarchs
1 PM to 2:30 PM The Mighty Monarch Butterflies — of the 90 butterflies in northern Minnesota, Monarchs are most well-known. Join us for a glimpse into the life of a monarch and find out why they are so mighty. Be prepared to be both indoors and outdoors. Presentation by Allison Snopek-Barta, Butterfly Research Scientist and Science Teacher at Bagley Jr.-Sr. High School.
Lake Bemidji State Park (Meet at the Visitor Center)

Summer Flower Walk
1 PM to 2 PM Minnesota may be covered by snow in the winter, but when summer arrived, it comes alive with a brilliant mix of flowers. Wildflowers can be fascinating to any person. Come to Fort Snelling State Park and join a naturalist for this short walk to identify these beauties in the park. Program will start at the Thomas C. Savage Visitor Center.
Fort Snelling State Park

Stories in Stone
1 PM to 2 PM Jay Cooke State Park has been shaped by many natural events over time. Join us on this geology walk along the river as we discover the stories left behind in the stone. Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center.
Jay Cooke State Park

What Knot to Do
1 PM to 2 PM Learn some handy knots and make a survival bracelet or keychain to take home. This program is appropriate for adults and teens.
St. Croix State Park (Meet on the back deck of the St. Croix Lodge Interpretive Center)

Guided Paddle on the St. Croix River
2 PM to 5 PM Join the naturalist for a guided 5-mile trip down the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. Rent a canoe or kayak from Pardun’s Canoe Rental office, located in the nature store building, 320-384-0508. Meet outside the store before 2 p.m. Bring sunscreen, water and a snack and dress for swimming. This program may be canceled if river levels are too high.
St. Croix State Park

Geocaching 101
2 PM to 4 PM GPS? Geocache?! Join a naturalist to discover more about the great high tech treasure hunt! Find the naturalist outside the lake Andrew store near the beach. In case of inclement weather, find the naturalist at the interpretive center.
Sibley State Park

Minnesota Raptors
2 PM to 3 PM Hawks, eagles, owls and more; raptors are some of the strongest and most fierce hunters soaring the skies above us. Get the inside scoop on the unique characteristics these birds possess from Chris Cold, a most-interesting guy to listen to, who will be visiting from the Wisconsin DNR. His first-person stories and fascinating facts are sure to be enjoyed by everyone. With him will be a selection of live raptors for you to get an up-close look at!
Wild River State Park

Birds of Prey
2 PM to 3 PM Naturalists from Oxbow Park will be here to help us learn more about these fascinating birds Get a chance to hold talons, feathers, wings, and other bird body parts to help understand the adaptations that make these birds unique. Live birds of prey will be displayed to see up close.
Rice Lake State Park (Please meet at the picnic shelter

Archery in the Park
2 PM to 3:30 PM he sport of shooting arrows has been around for thousands of years. First humans used archery as a way to hunt animals and later as a way to compete against each other. Archery is an activity that people from all walks of life and almost every size and ability can participate and have fun . This program covers the basics of archery (safety, proper care of the equipment and how to use a bow). Participants will be able to practice their new skills on a target. Please meet at staff housing area right before the contact station when you enter the park.
Flandrau State Park

Outdoor Kids: Tree-mendous Trees
2 PM to 3:30 PM Kids of all ages come out and explore nature at your leisure. This program series allows kids to connect with nature through hands-on activities that focus on life around the lake. Have fun discovering Itasca while hanging out at the swimming beach or playground.
Itasca State Park (Meet by the Swim Beach/ Playground at the south end of the picnic grounds on Lake Itasca)
Description:

Go In Seine
2 PM to 3 PM Many small creatures live in Whitewater’s cold water streams and at the beach. Come get wet and wild as we use a seine (net) to search for some of Whitewater’s miniature water monsters! Find out about the interesting critters we share the swimming hole with. How does life in the stream differ from live in the beach pool? Meet at the beach.
Whitewater State Park

Wonderful Whitetails Discovery Cart -Cancelled
3 PM to 4:30 PM Though common across much of the Midwest, don?t take the deer for granted. The fascinating features of the deer make this animal a truly unique one. Learn how to age a deer based off the teeth and see why this animal is extremely important.
Gooseberry Falls State Park

Fearsome Forest Fires
3 PM What does a fire need to grow and how does it start?
Scenic State Park

Teeny Tiny Tadpoles Investigation Station
3 PM to 4 PM Get an up-close look at the young amphibians dwelling in the park’s potholes during this ongoing station. Discover just who they will turn into and how they survive. Find us near the visitor center, and stay for as long as you like.
Interstate State Park

Voyageurs of the Fur Trade
4 PM to 5 PM Join us for this fun program for the entire family.
Savanna Portage State Park (Meet in the grassy area in front of the fishing pier on Lake Shumway)

Junior Naturalists – Look Up at Wild Weather!
4 PM to 5 PM Kids! Learn about some ways to detect the weather by looking at clues from the nature around you. Hands-on activities and a take-home craft are part of the forecast. Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center.
Jay Cooke State Park

Snakes of the Blufflands
4 PM to 5 PM Sixteen of Minnesota’s seventeen kinds of snakes live in the Blufflands. Learn how we can live, work and recreate in the Blufflands and still conserve these awesome creatures. A slide show about area snakes and a live snake program will be given. See a live fox snake. Bring a camera for a picture of your loved one touching a live snake!
Whitewater State Park

Archery in the Park
6 PM to 7:30 PM The sport of shooting arrows has been around for thousands of years. First humans used archery as a way to hunt animals and later as a way to compete against each other. Archery is an activity that people from all walks of life and almost every size and ability can participate and have fun. This program covers the basics of archery (safety, proper care of the equipment and how to use a bow). Participants will be able to practice their new skills on a target. Please meet at Group Campground on the campground side of Minneopa State Park.
Minneopa State Park

Fishy Flyers
6:30 PM to 7:30 PM Come to the St. Croix Lodge to test your bird sense in this gameshow-style program. Learn about the fish-eating birds of St. Croix State Park. This program is great for NPR listeners.
St. Croix State Park

Ice Cream Social. Happy Birthday Itasca! Weekend Festival
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM Hungry for some ice cream? Join us for a pre-concert ice cream social with fellow park visitors and Minnesota State Parks and Trails Director, Erika Rivers! Enjoy a sweet treat while sharing your feedback and ideas for the future of Minnesota State Parks and Trails. Itasca volunteers from the Friends of Itasca will be making chocolate or strawberry sundaes with proceeds going towards projects in Itasca State Park. Erika will be available to chat with you from 6:00-7:00pm before the concert near the ice cream station at the Museum Amphitheater (or inside the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center if raining).
Itasca State Park (Meet at the Lakeside Museum /Amphitheater inside the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center if raining)

A Day at the Lumberjack Camp
7:30 PM to 8:30 PM Join the park naturalist to find out what life was like as a lumberjack in the 1800?s. From cutting to loading and even heading the logs down river, there was never a boring moment. Discover the daily routine and you may even get a job as a road monkey, bank beaver or river pig!
Wild River State Park

125th Anniversary Concert Celebrating Itasca with Charlie Maguire Centennial Troubadour for Minnesota State Parks. Happy Birthday Itasca! Weekend Festival
7:30 PM to 9 PM Join us for a musical tribute to Itasca State Park and Minnesota State Parks and Trails. National performer Charlie Maguire returns with original songs from the Centennial Celebration in 1991 and a wide array of new songs about our state’s history. This toe-tapping, hand-clapping concert is designed for people of all ages. Bring your own blanket or lawn chair.
Itasca State Park: Meet at the Museum Amphitheater (inside the Jacob V. Brower Visitor Center if raining)

St. Louis River Trivia
8 PM to 9 PM Join the park naturalist to learn about the animals, history and water of the St. Louis River with a mix of entertaining trivia questions. Excitement and prizes are included. Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center.
Jay Cooke State Park

The Land of Rocks and Rolls
8 PM to 9 PM
Location: Sibley State Park
Description: Great ice-block parties once took place here to Sibley. The glaciers shaped the landscape into the rolls and hills of our country side while dropping rocks along the way. Join the party during this interactive program about how Sibley got it’s shape.
Meet at the Interpretive Center Amphitheater

Legends and Lore of the Whitewater Area
8:30 PM to 9:30 PM Come learn about the history of this area through stories of people and creatures that have roamed these valleys. We’ll hear about early pioneers, a local gold rush, a famous backwoodsman, legendary conservation heroes, strange creatures and maybe even some ghosts.
Whitewater State Park

Universe in the Park
8:30 PM to 10 PM Join University of Minnesota astrophysics students as they bring to life the mysteries of outer space! Meet in Lady Slipper Lodge for a presentation about astronomy and astrophysics then take an up close look at stars and possibly even planets through telescopes on the shore of Lake Superior! Program lasts as long as your interest does. Bug spray and flashlights recommended.
Gooseberry Falls State Park

Fireflies! Bright Lights on Dark Nights
9 PM to 10 PM Are you amazed by the blinking lights that scatter the fields and road sides during the peak of summer? Ever wonder what it is that lights them up or why it is that we are seeing less of those lights every year? If so you may want to come down to the amphitheater and learn about this incredible beetle that lights up the night sky during the months of June and July.
Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park

Archery in the Parks
Archery in the Parks is hands-on instruction shooting a bow and arrow from certified instructors in a safe and supportive environment. Aim for family adventure with kid friendly equipment designed for beginners age 8 and older. Children age 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Personal archery equipment is not allowed. All archery programs are free with a Minnesota State Parks vehicle entrance permit. Program will begin at 1pm at the day use picnic area.
Upper Sioux Agency State Park

 

SUNDAY — July 31

 

 
Birding for Beginners
10 AM to 11 AM Wild River State Park is an amazing place to find birds of all kinds! So what was that bird that you saw at the campsite or while out on a hike? Join in on a hike to learn the birding basics and sharpen your birding skills. A limited amount of binoculars will be available for use, but you are welcome to bring your own.
Wild River State Park (Meet at the Visitor Center)

Fire Starting
11 AM to 12 PM Could you start a fire without matches, a lighter or charcoal lighting fluid? Meet the naturalist on the back deck of the St. Croix Lodge Interpretive Center to make sparks and create a set of upcycled fire starters to take home. This program is best for ages 8+. Adults must accompany children to all programs.
St. Croix State Park

Retro Picnic Contest. Happy Birthday Itasca! Weekend Festival
11:30 AM to 12:30 PM Make a new memory with an old fashioned pastime—picnicking! Simply pack a picnic lunch, set up your “picnic scene” and wait to be judged before digging into your lunch. Prizes awarded for: Best Retro Picnic (scene reflects picnicking prior to the 1980s), Best use of a picnic table (limited numbers of picnic tables available to use), Best Use of Plaid, and Most Creative Picnic Meal. Register your team at the picnic shelter between 11:30 and 12:15 p.m. Select the category you want to be judged on, set your picnic scene up between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and signal a judge when your picnic scene is set. Judges will be passing by throughout that time. Judging ends at 12:30 p.m. Winners will be announced at 12:45 p.m. Held in the Itasca picnic grounds located by the picnic shelter.
Itasca State Park (Held in the Itasca picnic grounds located by the picnic shelter)

Itasca’s Music Under the Pines: Unpolished
11:30 AM to 12:30 PM Bring your blanket or lawn chair and celebrate Itasca’s 125th Birthday as the musical group “Unpolished” performs an eclectic mix of roots, Americana and Bluegrass music on Bass, Guitar, Mandolin and Banjo complete with rich three-part harmonies. The group covers many styles of folk music including music from the 1800’s – Civil War, old cowboy music, railroad songs, bluegrass music, and traditional Gospel music. They can be seen and heard at their website http://www.unpolishedbluegrass.weebly.com/.
Itasca State Park (Held in the Itasca picnic grounds located by the picnic shelter)

Community Concert: Swedish Fiddlers
2 PM to 3 PM The Vikarbyns Lilla Spelmanslag are a group of young fiddlers ranging in age from 14-23 years playing music from the Dalarna Region of Sweden. They are led by Margaretha Mattsson. The students study fiddle at the music school in Rattvik, Sweden. The Vikarbyn Lilla Spelmanslag performs in traditional costume and plays many concerts throughout the year in Sweden. The group also plays a variety of traditional folk music from various countries including Irish and American tunes. They regularly tour both Ireland and the US. This will be the 10th tour of the US for the Vikarbyn Lilla Spelmanslag and Ms. Mattsson. All Community Concerts are sponsored by the North Country Snowmobile Club of Bemidji.
Lake Bemidji State Park

Saint Louis River Fishing Excursion
5:30 PM to 8:30 PM Join one of our naturalists on an exclusive fishing experience on the St. Louis River! Pre-registration is required (maximum 8 people). We will meet at the River Inn and then hit the trail for a 30 minute hike to the fishing hole where we will spend up to 2 hours fishing. Equipment and bait will be provided but please bring water, hiking boots, tick/bug prevention, and a snack. No fishing license required.
Jay Cooke State Park (Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center)