MN Nature Activities: Oct 17 – 23

Ohhhh Minnesota, you are looking good! #MNnature activities in the next couple of weeks are accompanied by a brisk breeze and the beauty of fall leaves turning crimson red, orange, and yellow. Bundle up and head out to experience autumn at its finest.


Little Explorers: Leaf Play
10 AM to 11 AM Through stories, activities and a craft our smallest visitors discover the great outdoors. This special program is designed to capture the interest of children ages 3-6 and their adults. Get ready to explore the fall season through leaf play and activities and dress for the weather. Meet at the park visitor center. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Interstate State Park

Fall Colors Caving Field Trip
1 PM to 3 PM
After a presentation, we’ll walk, crawl, and slither into the passageways of a small wild cave. Space is limited and reservations are required. For reservations, email or call (507) 932-3007 ext. 226. Cavers need to bring transportation, flashlight and wear long pants, shirt and shoes they don’t mind getting dirty.
Whitewater State Park

The Great Cauldron Cache
2 PM to 3 PM Find the spooktacular swag during this modern-day treasure hunt. Learn all about Geocaching, the treasure hidden throughout Wild River State Park, and tips and tricks to using a GPS unit on this fun beginner challenge. GPS units provided. Meet at the Visitor Center.
Wild River State Park

The Mysterious Owl
7:30 PM to 8:30 PM ost owls are active in the evening, which often makes them mysterious and unknown to us. They are especially adapted to hunting and being silent at night. Find out how and learn how to recognize their calls as well as make them yourselves. Owls aren’t spooky, they’re a hoot! Meet at the amphitheater.
Wild River State Park


10 AM to 11 AM Kids, there is a mystery afoot and we are asking you to help sleuth it. Become a wildlife detective as you collect clues to solve which animal left behind evidence near the visitor center. The naturalist will share hints about wildlife tracks and signs to help you on your way. Will you be able to crack the case? Find us at the visitor center.
Interstate State Park

Wild River Mysteries
1 PM to 2 PM An odd collection of bones and skulls — to whom do they belong? Work with the naturalist to figure out who they are to solve the mystery. You don’t need to be a mad scientists to help. At the Visitor Center.
Wild River State Park

Introduction to Geocaching
2 PM to 4 PM Let’s go on a treasure hunt!! Join us and learn how to do this fun, free, family activity. We will teach you the basics of geocaching and then head out to find a cache hidden right here in the park. Bring your own GPS or use one of ours.
Whitewater State Park
Wildlife CSI

Wolves at Our Door
7 PM to 8 PM Come learn about these amazing creatures that used to visit the Whitewater Valley. During the program we will learn about the basics of wolf biology, pack dynamics, habitat, and wolf management. Presented by International Wolf Center. Ideally suited for ages 8 and up.
Whitewater State Park

Bat Chat
7:30 PM to 8:30 PM Bats are amazing animals! There are a lot of myths about bats that are just not true. They actually do a lot of good for us. Find out some of their incredible abilities and which species are actually at home at Wild River State Park. There will also be some discussion on the White Nose Syndrome that is killing millions of bats and its threat to Minnesota. Meet at the amphitheater.
Wild River State Park


Owl “Puke”
10 AM to 11 AM Owls provide great rodent control. There are even some that eat skunks! Become an owl scientist and find out what owls eat by dissecting your own owl pellet and checking out the bones left behind. You may just find a complete skeleton! Meet at the Visitor Center.
Location: Wild River 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

Turtles and Snakes
10:30 AM This talk about snakes and turtles of the area will include a visit from Shellby the turtle & Corny the snake. Meet at the Interpretive Center. (45 minutes)
Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Meet the Falcons!
11 AM to 1 PM Meeting Room in the Visitor Center
Tettegouche State Park

Fishing for Fossils in the Fall
1 PM to 3 PM Cast your line into the local rock face and see if you can catch an elusive trilobite!! After a brief introduction at the visitor center we will head out and try our luck.
Whitewater State Park

Fall Colors: an artist’s palette
1 PM to 4 PM Join us at Frontenac State Park for an artistic view of fall colors during the peak of the color season in Southeast Minnesota.
Frontenac State Park
Candlelight Cemetery Walk
6 PM to 8 PM Join us for an evening walk in a ghost town cemetery. Visitors will hear stories of pioneers, civil war veterans, Minnesota conservation hero Richard Dorer and others who have lived in the Whitewater Valley. 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

Friends of Lake Shetek Pumpkin Festival
1 PM to 4 PM Join us for a day of fall fun at the 11th Annual Pumpkin Festival at Lake Shetek State Park’s Zuya Group Center on Saturday, October 22 from 1pm — 4pm. Come on out and jump in the biggest leaf pile you’ve ever seen! There will be face painting, pumpkin decorating, games and lots of other things to do, along with refreshments and s’mores by the campfire.
Lake Shetek State Park

1 PM to 2 PM Hibernation is the easy way to get through a Minnesota winter. But it’s tricky and you need some special adaptations to make it work. If you’re reading this you’re not hibernating, so stay awake and stop by the Thomas Savage Visitor Center to find out how the winter sleepers snooze all winter. Program will start at the Thomas C. Savage Visitor Center.
Fort Snelling State Park

Snakes Alive!
1 PM to 2 PM Are ssssnakes slithery, sneaky, and slimy? Or, are they cool, quiet, and cautious? Learn about the cold-blooded critters found in this park and get an up-close look and feel of our live resident snakes. We will feed the snakes in front of your own eyes at the end of the program! Meet at the Visitor Center.
Location: Wild River State Park

Kids’ Activity: Let’s Get Owly
2 PM to 3 PM Learn what makes owls such great hunters of the night and participate in an activity we call What was for Supper? The information and activity are designed for kids age 7 and older, but it’s also good for younger children who have help from parents. Meet at the Interpretive Center.
Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Fast Flyers: Peregrine Falcons
2:30 PM to 4:30 PM The fastest bird in the world nests along the North Shore. Listen to its story of recovery and the people who helped. Join Jackie Fallon of the Midwest Peregrine Society to learn about these remarkable birds and meet LIVE birds. Drop by the Visitor Center Auditorium.
Gooseberry Falls State Park

All Camp Trick-or-Treat
6 PM to 8 PM Campers! Decorate your site, get your costume on, and participate in the All-Camp Trick or Treat. Participating campsites will be identified with pumpkin site tags. Candy is accepted at your own risk. Activity will take place throughout campground.
Location: Wild River State Park

125th Parks Anniversary Special Program: Happy Falloween!
6 PM to 9 PM Join us for this special fall festival at the park. If you are camping, decorate your campsite! There will be different categories with prizes! Kids can trick or treat in the campground when the judging begins. Site judging and trick or treating will start at 6:00pm. Sites that are willing to participate in the trick or treating will have orange pumpkin cards on their site posts. Pre- carved or painted pumpkins, costumes, different ages and pets will be judged at the large picnic shelter in the picnic grounds at 7:00pm sharp. At 7:30pm a storyteller will share some “tall” and “short” tales around the campfire. Mild stories early and spookier stories later as the night goes on. An astronomer will be down in the boat parking area and will have a telescope set-up so you can view evening sky objects. A marshmallow roast will end this spooktacular evening in the park. The Friend’s Group of William O’Brien and the park brings this Falloween Festival to you.
William O’Brien State Park


1 PM to 2 PM
Discover the fascinating world of bats. Learn about the bats native to Minnesota, how echolocation works, and how bats benefit humans. Are bats really blind as the saying goes? Come and find out some the bat myths. Program will be held at the Thomas C. Savage Visitor Center.
Location: Fort Snelling State Park

Jack-o-Lantern Donation
Do you want your carved pumpkin to be a candle-lit star on the Jack-o-Lantern Hike on Friday, October 28th? Then drop it off at the Interpretive Center or Main Office during open hours from 8:00am-4:00pm. The Trail Center (basement of the Interpretive Center) will be open 24-7 and you may leave your pumpkin there as well. Pumpkins will be available for pick up along the trail on Saturday, October 29th or after 9:00 pm on Friday. Thank you! More Information: Call 320-354-2055.
Sibley State Park

Upcoming . . .


Pumpkin Carving Family Fun
5 PM Join the naturalist to carve a pumpkin that will star in the Jack-o-Lantern Night Hike on Friday, October 28th!
Location: Sibley State Park


Jack-o-Lantern Night Walk
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Be led by lit Jack-o-Lanterns on the Pond View Trail! Then come warm up inside for a few activities and a snack and hot drink. Pack a flashlight to help guide you to and from your vehicle.
Location: Sibley State Park


Buckthorn Removal –Volunteer Opportunity
9 AM to 12 PM Help Minneopa State Park fight invasive species by attending a buckthorn removal event on October 29th (Saturday) from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon. We need your assistance in this ongoing battle to maintain a healthy native ecosystem. Buckthorn is a shrub that first arrived in Minnesota during the mid-1800s with Euro-American settlers. It was brought over from Europe as a popular hedge shrub but proved to be very invasive in our native communities. Please pre-register for this event by sending an email to or calling 507-384-8890. Entrance to the state park will be free for volunteering to remove buckthorn. Meet at the Group Campground on the campground side of Minneopa State Park. Please wear gloves, tear-resistant clothing, and sturdy boots. If you have your own loppers please bring them along. Beware that buckthorn has thorns and can be tough to get at. This event is sponsored by the Friends of Minneopa.
Location: Minneopa State Park

Fly Tying
9 AM to 11:30 AM Geared for those with little or no fly tying experience, this clinic is designed to teach you basic fly tying skills with “hands on” instruction.
Location: Afton State Park

Nature Un-spooked Nature Table
10:30 AM to 12 PM Why does night-time seem so spooky? Find out about our critters of the night and what makes them so lovable. Stop by anytime to hear ongoing mini-talks about nocturnal animals and make-and-take some glowing eyes. Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center at Jay Cooke State Park.
Location: Jay Cooke State Park

Creatures of the Night!
10:30 AM Have you ever been spooked by eerie noises you heard at night? If so, this talk about nocturnal wildlife might help calm your nerves next time you hear those sounds. Meet at the Interpretive Center. (45 minutes)
Location: Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Halloween Film Festival
1 PM to 3 PM Nature films about owls, bats, wolves and spiders will be shown continuously at the Interpretive Center. Free Popcorn and a Halloween treat!
Location: Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Geocaching Through History
1 PM to 3 PM Explore the history of the park with a scavenger hunt-style geocaching course. Fun (and educational!) for the whole family! Equipment and instruction will be provided. Registration required. Call 612-725-2724 to register.
Location: Fort Snelling State Park

Halloween Howl
5 PM to 8 PM Join us for this popular Halloween event! The evenings events include:
5 pm Snakes Alive: Everyone is invited to come learn about common snakes of Minnesota, their unique lifestyles and where to find them. Emily Roberts, naturalist will bring live snakes for this presentation.
6 pm Crafts and Activities: This Halloween themed program is designed for children. Registration is REQUIRED. Call Lake Maria at 763-878-2325 to register. Enrollment is limited. * Participants are welcome to wear costumes!
Location: Lake Maria State Park

Ghost Walk
7 PM to 9 PM Learn about the fascinating people who influenced the history of the Whitewater Valley. Guided groups will hear from ghosts of the valley during a night hike through one of the park’s picnic grounds. Meet at the Nature Store parking lot. Bring your own flashlight. More Information: Call 507-932-3007.
Location: Whitewater State Park


Historic Train Tracks at Fort Snelling
1 PM to 3 PM
Planes, trains and automobiles- oh my! Join a park naturalist to explore the rail history in this area before heading out on the trails to look for any visible signs that may still remain.
Location: Fort Snelling State Park

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