Weekend Nature Activities: Dec 29–Jan 3

Let’s Go Sledding! The following locations have sledding fun for the entire winter season and some make snow. Many hills are open during daylight hours and are free, but call to confirm rules and pricing:

Carley State Park, Altura MN telephone: 507-932-3007
Andes Tower Hills Snow Tubing 877-542-6337, Snow Center sledding hill
Old Mill State Park, Argyle MN 218-437-8174
Glendalough State Park, Battle Lake MN 218-864-0110
Giants Ridge Biwabik, MN (218) 865-8000
Hyland Park, Bloomington MN 63-694-7687
Neill Park, Burnsville MN 952-895-4521
Lake Carlos State Park, Carlos MN 320-852-7200
Detroit Lakes City Park, Detroit Lakes 218-847-4637
Detroit Mountain Rec Area, Detroit Lakes (218) 844-7669
Spirit Mountain, Duluth 218-628-2891

Lebanon Hills, Visitor Trailhead, Eagan
Staring Lake, Eden Prairie MN 952-949-8300
Whitetail Woods Regional Park, Farmington
Fort Ridgley, Fairfax MN 507-426-7840
Frazee Riverside Park, Frazee MN 218-334-4991
Frontenac, 651-345-3401
Upper Sioux Agency State Park, Granite Falls MN 320-564-4777
South Valley Park, Inver Grove Heights MN 651-554-3440
Split Rock Creek State Park, Jasper MN 507-348-7908
Hole in the Mountain, Lake Benton MN 507-368-9350
Green Acres Recreation, Lake Elmo 651-770-6060
Kilen Woods State Park, Lakefield MN 507-831-2900 ext 221
Elm Creek Park Reserve, Maple Grove  763-694-7894
Hazelwood Park, Maplewood
Lyndale Farmstead Park, Minneapolis 612-370-4948
Sibley State Park, New London MN 320-354-2055
Old Main Hill, St. Olaf College, Northfield
Mille Lacs Kathio State Park, Onamia MN 320-532-3523
Adams Hill Park, Richfield MN 612-861-9385
Como Park Golf Course, St Paul 651-488-9673
Glacial Lakes State Park, Starbuck MN 320-239-2860
Wild Chutes, Wild Mountain, Taylors Falls 651-465-6365
Marthaler Park, West St Paul 651-552-4100
Great River Bluffs State Park, Winona MN 507-643-6849
Wolf Lake Recreation Area, Wolf Lake MN 218-538-6528
Afton Alps, Hastings 651-436-5245
Chester Bowl, Duluth 218-724-9832
Coffee Mill, Wabasha MN 651-565-2777
Mount Kato, Mankato MN 507-625-3363
Lutsen, Lutsen MN (218) 663-7281
Welch Village, Welch MN 651-258-4567
Pine Valley Tubing Cloquet, MN (218) 879-1261
Eko Backen, Scandia (651) 433-2422
Mount Ski Gull, Nisswa MN (218) 963-4353
Buena Vista Bemidji, MN 218-243-2231
Powder Ridge, Kimball, MN 320-398-5295

Buck Hill Sledding and Snow Tubing, Burnsville MN 952-435-7174
Battle Creek Regional Park, Woodbury 651-748-2500
Manitou Ridge Golf Course, White Bear Park 651-777-2987
Vadnais-Snail Lakes, Maplewood 651-748-2500
More St Paul sledding hills


Tuesday, Dec 29
Winter Wonderland Family Fun Day
10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. Celebrate the season during winter break! Family-friendly activities are tailored to introduce you and your family to a whole new way of enjoying winter! For outdoor activities, wear warm clothing in layers, including waterproof pants and boots. Inside, cozy up to the fireplace and enjoy reading winter books and watching fun nature films or challenge your family to a scavenger hunt! No registration required; snowshoes are provided at no cost.
Bloomington Education and Visitor Center

Tuesday, Dec 29
Snow Princess Adventure
1 PM to 2:30 PM The park is a frozen wonderland at this time of year and we invite adventurers ages 6-10 and their adults to enjoy it during a special program. Make a one-of-a-kind crown with the naturalist and explore the power of snow and ice as we hunt for snowflakes, make ice castles, and build snowmen. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Costumes are welcome as long as they fit over or under winter layers and boots. We’ll start indoors at the visitor center and then head outside for our adventure. Pre-register, email: jenni.webster@state.mn.us
Wild River State Park

Wednesday, Dec 30
Family Snowshoe Hike
10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. 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

Wednesday, Dec 30
The Scoop on Snowflakes
1 PM to 2 PM Discover just how cool snowflakes really are by learning about the science behind those tiny ice crystals! After taking a close look at them, you will make a snowflake to take home that will last all year-long. Geared for kids ages 7 and up.
Jay Cooke State Park (This program is mostly indoors at the River Inn Interpretive Center)

Wednesday, Dec 30
Film: After the Birds Taught Me to Fly
2:00–3:30 p.m. In June 2015, as part of the Twin Cities Urban Bird Festival, PlaceBase Productions and refuge volunteers performed Birdwatching Theatre on the paths of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. The performers visited four flocks of refuge birds and observed their behavior through the eyes and imagination of an eight year old birdwatcher. Over the course of this theatrical journey audiences explored the history of the refuge, the history of the South Loop Community in Bloomington, and the lives and behaviors of over 25 of the refuge’s feathered residents. Prepare for laughter, music, dancing, and luxurious costumes in this original, jaw-dropping, community-driven performance available on film in the comfort of our Auditorium.
Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Auditorium)


Happy New Year!

Dec 31
Wild About Bird Watching Walk
1 PM to 2:30 PM Come take an easy stroll as we look for birds spending the winter in the park. After some bird watching basics, make a simple pinecone feeder to take home with you. Binoculars available. Registration required. Call 218 384 4610 x. 227.
Jay Cooke State Park

Dec 31
New Year’s Eve Candlelight Walk
4 PM to 8 PM Grab your family, pack your hat and mittens, and throw on your long-johns for a fun family-friendly New Year’s celebration in the park. Hike miles of candle-lit trails, warm up at one of several roaring bonfires, toast marshmallows and more! This annual event draws nearly 2000 hearty people each year despite frigid temperatures and wind chills. Please join us for a fun and unique way to celebrate 2015 and ring in 2016!
Fort Snelling State Park

Dec 31
New Year’s Eve Candlelight Event
6 PM to 8 PM
What better way to celebrate the New Year, then by enjoying a special evening in the park by candlelight. Participants can snowshoe or walk by the light of the moon and candle luminaries set along the trails to guide their path. Then come warm up by one of the fires and roast a marshmallow or enjoy the wood stove and warm beverages in the Lakeview warming shelter.
Lake Carlos State Park

Dec 31
New Year’s –Volunteer Opportunity
If you are interested in volunteering with set-up or lighting of candles for the Lake Carlos State Park event, please call the park as well (320)852-7471
Lake Carlos State Park


January 2
Bird Language
9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Join us as we gather on the slopes of the Minnesota River Valley to explore what the birds are telling us about our surroundings. We will split the time between the classroom and outdoors. Bring a notebook, pencils, and something to sit on outdoors. Register.
Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Classroom A)

Saturday, January 2
Winter Photography Lecture and Photo Hike
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Taking photos in the winter can be a real challenge. Our cameras like to make the snow look a dingy grey, and all of the people in the shots come out very dark. Despite all of this, wither offers some amazing benefits to photographers. We can access areas that are normally inaccessible. In addition, with proper preparation we can capture some amazing images. During this session, we will cover:

1. How to set your camera for winter shooting.
2. Winter shooting techniques.
3. Winter shooting locations.
4. How to stay warm.
5. How to protect your gear.

After the lecture, we will go out and practice along the trails of the refuge.
Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Auditorium)

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