MN Nature Activities: Jan 17–24

Happy New Year! 2016 “Weekend” Nature Activities are changing to cover the entire week, by popular demand. (Yes, MN Nature does read your comments—so thank you!)

Another change for 2016 is activities will be released at start of month. These free opportunities fill up fast. We want you to have the best chance to take advantage of them all! Events still ordered by date and time.




*Free programs unless otherwise noted. (Note: parks or facility/membership permits may be needed.)

Little Babe in the Big Woods
9–10 AM Get out of the house and meet other parents and babies for this bi-weekly nature themed get together. This week discover nature play in fall leaves and experiment with fall color fun! Open to babies ages new born to three years old. Begin introducing your little one to nature and start your Sibley memories today. Please call to pre-register (320) 354-2055.
Sibley State Park (Meet in the Interpretive Center)


St Paul Pedal Palooza
5:30–7:30 PM 2015 was a huge year for biking in Saint Paul and it deserves a party! With the passage of the St. Paul Bicycle Plan and the implementation of nearly a dozen new bikeways, we have a lot to look back on and even more to look forward to in the coming years. Join the Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition and St. Paul Women on Bikes to celebrate our collective bicycling successes of 2015 and look ahead at what’s to come. Enjoy free pizza, drink some beer or soda, and connect with other folks who care about bicycling in St. Paul.
Davanni’s: 41 Cleveland Ave S, St. Paul

Freeborn Lake Plan Public Meeting
6:30 PM Contact Jeanine Vorland at 507-455-5841.
Freeborn City Hall, Freeborn, MN


–Spring Turkey Hunt Lottery Deadline

01/22/16 Candlelight Ski
5–7 PM Join us for a luminaire-lit ski through the pines!Luminaries will line over a mile of groomed trail, but if the sky is clear other trails will be skiable by moonlight. Skis (and snowshoes) are available for checkout. The local ski group sponsors a meal beginning around 5:00 p.m. All are welcome! Trying for the 125 Miles by Bike, Boot or Boat Challenge? This event can help you add a little distance.
Zippel Bay State Park ( Meet at the Residence, located just behind the contact station.) More info (218) 783-6252

01/22/16 Candlelight Snowshoe
6–9 PM Experience the winter woods along a candle-lit trail enhanced by the glow of a near-full moon. The event starts and ends at the Visitors Center where treats and refreshments will be available. Stop along the way and warm up by the magical crackling of a toasty campfire. Snowshoes will be available for rent at $6.00/pair. Trying for the 125 Miles by Bike, Boot or Boat Challenge? This event can help you add a little distance.
Lake Bemidji State Park


01/23/16 Cross-country Skiing
9–10 AM Come out to Flandrau State Park for a Cross-Country Skiing class on January 23rd (Saturday) at 9:00 a.m. Join Scott Kudelka, Minneopa Area Naturalist to learn some tips and tricks about cross-country skiing. Cross-country skiing has been around for hundreds of years in one form or another and a wonderful way to enjoy winter. We will go over some of the basic pointers about skiing and have a chance to practice those new skills. Cross-country ski equipment can be rented at Flandrau State Park office (please call 507-233-9800). If there isn’t enough snow this program will be cancelled.
Flandrau State Park (Meet at the Beach House in the Day-Use Area.)

01/23/16 Take a Kid Ice Fishing
10 AM–2 PM Enjoy a morning of ice fishing on Coon Lake with park staff for this family-friendly clinic. Kids will assemble a simple jigglestick they can take home with them. Participants are welcome to bring their own ice fishing gear, or use the park’s. Bait provided. Fish near the historic lodge, where there will be a warming fire as well as coffee and hot chocolate provided. Please make sure kids are dressed for conditions on the lake with warm boots and gloves. No fishing license required for Minnesota residents to fish on Coon Lake. A daily or annual Minnesota State Parks vehicle permit is required for all vehicles entering the park and can be purchased at the contact station. Register (218) 743-3362.
Scenic State Park

01/23/16 Old-Fashioned Logging
10 AM Take a step back in time 125 years when logging was in its prime along the St. Croix River. Winter was the time of the lumberjack. Not only were trees toppled with axes and handsaws, but horses did the work of moving the logs to the river. Stop out and watch our special guest with his horses logging the old-fashioned way. Meet at the campground. (Cancelled if wind chill is below -15. )
Wild River State Park

01/23/16 Burn Brush, Invasive Removal —Volunteer Stewardship
10 AM–2 PM Come join in this “cool” volunteer project! We will warm up by burning brush piles and if there isn’t enough snow, do some invasive brush removal. See the site’s web page for a map and description. This event will be led by the Lost Valley Prairie Site Steward, Jim Smetana. No advance sign-up, but contact us if you have a large group.
Lost Valley Prairie SNA

01/23/16 Winter Fun Day
10 AM–3 PM Enjoy a winter day in the Great Outdoors! Many activities for all ages: guided snowshoe hikes, ice skating, cross-country skiing, winter hiking, winter camping demo, fat-tire bicycle riding, and winter golf. Wait . . . what? Winter golf? Yea! BYO equipment for skiing and skating; equipment for other activities provided. Special prizes for completing 3 or more activities. Lunch provided by Friends of Lake Maria. Event is free of charge; donations accepted. Please register for guided snowshoe hikes 763-878-2325.
Lake Maria State Park

Get Phat! Fat-tire Winter Races $$$
Fat Bike Winter Races sponsored by Penn Cycle as part of the Bloomington Winter Fete on the Minnesota River Bottoms Trail. Race Start/Finish line is in Bloomington at the southern end of Lyndale Ave., underneath the 35W bridge. Registration is located near the Start/Finish line and opens at 9 am and closes 30 minutes prior to race start.  A huge number of door prizes will be awarded, including a Trek Farley fat bike frame as the grand prize (to be eligible for the grand prize you must race in both races 1/23 & 1/30. Grand prize will be awarded at Race #2 on January 30th).

Entry fee is $10, registration starts at 9am. Classes: All classes are mass-start Beginner – 1 Lap: Race Starts at 10:15am Recreational – 1 Lap: Race Starts at 10am Advanced – 2 Laps: Race Starts at 12 Noon

Dates: Jan 23, 2016 and Jan 30, 2016
Russell Sorenson Landing (Lyndale Avenue & Minnesota River, Bloomington, MN; tel. 952-884-5617)

01/23/16 Let’s Snowshoe!
10:30–Noon Ever wanted to find a fun, winter activity that will get you outside? Enjoy the beauty of winter on snowshoes! This beginner’s class will teach you the basics from different types of snowshoes to how to walk in snowshoes as well as great places to visit in Itasca while wearing snowshoes. Dress warmly and include snow boots. Part of the program will be outside on the trail trying out your new skills. Call ahead at 218-699-7251 to reserve a pair of snowshoes or BYO. The number of snowshoes available is limited. Outdoor portion of program is dependent on snowfall.
Itasca State Park

01/23/16 Winter Carnivore Scavenger Hunt
11:30–11:45 AM Why wait for the Winter Carnival? Create your own scavenger hunt featuring a winter predator and its prey. Come with some favorite words and a creative mind to develop your own poetic clues and map!
Bloomington Education and Visitor Center

01/23/16 Beginner Snowshoe Hike
11–Noon Join a naturalist to learn about snowshoeing on an hour and half hike along park trails, talking about the history of snowshoeing, unique characteristics of Fort Ridgely and winter animals. Trying for the 125 Miles by Bike, Boot or Boat Challenge? This event can help you add a little distance.

Per MN DNR: Snowshoeing is probably the most accessible and easiest of all winter sports. Basically if you can walk, you can snowshoe. People have been using some form of snowshoes or skis to move across a snow-covered landscape for at least 6,000 years.

Fort Ridgely State Park (Meet at the park’s chalet parking lot.)

01/23/16 Hidden History Snowshoe
1–3 PM When the leaves are gone and the snow is falling, nature reveals her hidden secrets. Come join us for an afternoon on snowshoes as we find some of these historic relics only visible this time of year.
Whitewater State Park

01/23/16 Squirrel Appreciation Day
1–3 PM Celebrate our Squirrely friends through a friendly competition of wits, wagers and workouts. Activities will take place both indoors and outdoors so dress appropriately. Come as a team or join one as you come. See if you an win the Golden Squirrel!
Sibley State Park

01/23/16 Snowshoe Hike up the Baptism River
1–3:30 PM Dust off those old snowshoes or borrow a pair from the Park for hike up the Baptism River Valley. Beginners will get a nice introduction to this low-impact winter sport. The Park Naturalist will lead you on a gentle stroll up the river valley, giving snowshoeing tips and interpreting the winter scene that we encounter along the way. If you need to borrow a pair of snowshoes, please contact the naturalist at 218 353-8809 to reserve them. There will be no rental fee for participants in this program.
Tettegouche State Park (Meet at the Visitor Center. Parks permit not required.)

01/23/16 Family Snowshoe Hike
1:00–2:30 PM Discover a fun new way to explore outside in winter! We will learn a bit about snowshoes, then strap them on and wind our way down into the river valley, looking for animal tracks as we go. Recommended for families with children ages 8 and up. Snowshoes are provided at no cost.
Bloomington Education and Visitor Center and Hillside Trail

01/23/16 Planet Earth Film Fest
1:30–3:30 PM Episodes 7 & 8: Great Plains and Jungles
High definition footage, fascinating creatures, and dramatic narration by Richard Attenborough create one of the most exciting portraits of our planet.
Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Auditorium)

01/23/16 Annual Winter Fest – Candle Light Event
5–8 PM Gather with friends, neighbors and others to enjoy the natural wonders and beauty of the winter season. Enjoy two candle-lit trails marked for cross-country skiers, snowshoers and walkers cutting through a floodplain forest. One leads to the confluence with Minneopa Creek and Minnesota River. A blazing bonfire along with hot cocoa and cookies will be part of this festive, family-friendly event. BYO campfire goodies (roasting sticks provided). Sponsored by the Friends of Minneopa.
Minneopa State Park Group Campground (off of Highway 68)

01/23/16 Candlelight Ski & Snowshoe
5:30–8:30 PM Ski approximately one mile through forest and prairie by the light of luminaries. Or, snowshoe around an luminary lit trail from the Visitor Center and loop around the beach area. Bring your own skis. Snowshoes will be available for $6.00 rental for the evening. Join us in the great room at the Visitor Center afterwards for refreshments and goodies.
Lake Bronson State Park

01/23/16 Candlelight Event
6–9 PM Hit the trails guided by the full moon and candle luminaries. Then come warm up by the wood stove or enjoy snacks and refreshments in the Lakeview warming shelter. Snowshoe, ski or hike. No snow, we’ll still hike.
Lake Carlos State Park

01/23/16 Candlelight Night Hike
6:30–8:30 PM Hike 1/2 mile along candle-lit trails to the historic WPA warming shelter. Once at the shelter, there will be ingredients for s’mores and hot chocolate. Visitors who want to ski the trails without lighting are encouraged to wear a head lamp and join us at the shelter afterwards. Questions can be directed to the park office at 320-734-4450 prior to the end of the work day.
Lac Qui Parle State Park (on the lower campground road; to hike with a group, gather 7 pm at the shop area on the west side of the park)

01/23/16 Full Wolf Moon Snowshoe Hike –Oooouuuuu!
6:30–8:30 PM Snowshoe by the light of the full moon. January is known as the wolf moon in Native American culture. Learn about the life style and behavior of this Northwoods mammal during a short indoor presentation before being led outside on snowshoes under the tranquility of the full moon. Child and adult snowshoes are available. Program space is limited. Please register. 218-384-4610 x. 229.
Jay Cooke State Park (Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center.)

01/23/16 Full Moon Candlelight Ski or Hike
6–8 PM Enjoy a winter ski or hike (snow dependent) under the full moon with candlelight. Hot cocoa, sweet treats and games will be provided in the picnic shelter. Bring your own skis.
Frontenac State Park (picnic shelter)

01/23/16 Full Moon Snowshoe Walk
7–9 PM Snowshoe under a full moon! We’ll explore the park’s night life and learn some interesting facts about these nocturnal neighbors. Snowshoes provided. Program is full but you can join the waitlist: call 612-725-2724.
Fort Snelling State Park

01/23/16 Moonlight Snowshoeing
7–8:30 PM Enjoy snowshoeing by the light of the moon. This activity is designed for beginners! Following an indoor look at different types of snowshoes and a how-to-snowshoe lesson, we will go on a moonlight snowshoe trek. Snowshoes are provided Registration is required and is limited to the first 25 people. To register, call 320-532-3269 and leave your name, phone number and number of people attending.
Mille Lacs Kathio State Park (Meet at the interpretive center.)

01/23/16 Candlelight Event
5–8 PM Join us for an evening under a full moon. Over 200 luminaries will light the trails as you wind through the woods and along the shore of Rice Lake. Bring the whole family out to ski, hike, or snowshoe. Need to warm up? Come sit by the wood burning stove in the warming shelter or gather around the bonfire in the parking lot; both are located at the trailhead. Also, be sure to stop by the office for some hot beverages and treats.
Rice Lake State Park

01/23/16 Family Candlelight Event
6–9 PM Join the Friends of Camden State Park on a moonlit night for a magical family event. An approximately 1 mile loop will be lit with candle luminaries to enjoy at your own pace. Warm apple cider and s’mores provided at historic north picnic shelter.
Camden State Park

01/23/16 Evening Snowshoe Walk for Women
7:00–8:30 PM January 23 6:30-8, p.m. Evening Snowshoe Walk for Women,
Never walked on snowshoes? No worries, this walk it is good exercise, good company, great fun! Snowshoes are available for this walk with the naturalist. Reservations at 651-231-6968.
Afton State Park

01/23/16 Take a Kid Snowshoeing
1–3 PM Snowshoeing at Nerstrand Big Woods: An adult rents a pair of snowshoes and all kids under the age of 13 snowshoe for free! Also, Kids can earn a free T-shirt by completing a scavenger hunt of photos while on snowshoes. Snowshoe rental for adults is $6.
Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park


46th Annual Marine-O’Brien Ski Race $$$
9 AM– 1 PM Join us on this exciting race day in the park. Participate or watch, it will be a great day. The adult registration starts at 9 a.m., with adult races starting at 10:30 a.m. The children’s registration starts at 11 a.m., with children’s races starting at 1 p.m. There will be a wooden ski tour that starts off the event. All abilities are welcome to participate! Pre-registration forms here.

Children – pre-registration $8.00; race day $12.00 (max per family kids race $20.00 pre-registration; $30.00 race day)
Ages 5 & under – free pre-registered; race day $12.00
High School & College Racers – pre-registration $12.00; race day $17.00
Adults – pre-registration $30.00; race day $40.00.
Wood Ski Tour – pre-registration $15.00; race day $25.00.

William O’Brien State Park

Cold Catfish Cup $$$
9–4 PM This year’s event will be capped at 125 racers per race division. Sport racers will compete on a 10-mile race course and elite racers will battle for the Catfish Cup Trophy on a 15 mile race course (race distance is subject to change based on trail conditions and weather). The race will be professional timed again in 2016! Fat bike demos, Intelligentsia Coffee, Potter’s Pasties food truck, bonfires, a fundraiser raffle and more will be on-site during the race for all participants and spectators. Swag, prizes and other cool items will be handed out to participants. The Cold Catfish Cup will be awarded to the overall fastest rider in the elite female and male classes. The event is for all ages, abilities and bikes. Angry Catfish Bike Shop + Coffee is once again the event sponsor for this year’s race.

$10 Pre-registered for racers 18 years old and younger
$20 Pre-registered for racers 19 years and older
Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016
9 – 12 p.m. – Racer Check-in
Noon – Elite Race Begins
2:30 p.m. Sport Race Begins
Awards at 4 p.m.

Carver Lake Park Off-Road Cycling Trail (meet at trailhead: 3175 Century Ave S, St Pal 55125; tel. 651-714-3582

01/24/16 Take A Kid Snowshoeing
1–3 PM Snowshoeing at Nerstrand Big Woods: An adult rents a pair of snowshoes and all kids under the age of 13 snowshoe for free! Also, Kids can earn a free T-shirt by completing a scavenger hunt of photos while on snowshoes. Snowshoe rental for adults is $6.
Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park

01/24/16 Full Moon wiotehika wi Snowshoe
6:30–8:o0 PM Snowshoe under the full January moon known to the Dakota and Lakota as the wiotehika wi, or hard moon. As we snowshoe we will reflect on the cultural connections we have to the moon and how it can dictate our moods and actions. Snowshoes available for borrow. Please call or email to reserve yours today. We will meet in the Interpretive Center theater. Trying for the 125 Miles by Bike, Boot or Boat Challenge? This event can help you add a little distance. This program will be canceled if the temperature is below zero WITH WINDCHILL. If canceled it is rescheduled for the following evening of Monday, January 25. Dress appropriately for conditions.
Sibley State Park

Upcoming . . .

Arrowhead Ultra 135 Race

Frozen Frolic Fat Bike Race


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