Tag - westwood hills nature center

1
2017 Twin Cities Earth Day Family Events
2
Maple Syruping with Kids in the Twin Cities
3
Twin Cities Early Halloween Events – October 10-18, 2015
4
Indoor & Outdoor Fun: Twin Cities Nature Centers SW Metro

2017 Twin Cities Earth Day Family Events

Earth Day Network’s first Earth Day was in 1970. It’s continuing mission — “to broaden and diversify the environmental movement worldwide and to mobilize it as the most effective vehicle to build a healthy, sustainable environment, address climate change, and protect the Earth for future generations.” For us, it’s a chance to teach our children about good stewardship of our planet, while getting out and enjoying the long-awaited spring. I think the spring thing may be why the Twin Cities Metro does not skimp on Earth Day activities and events. We have a sampling of Earth Day family events to get out with your kids and celebrate our environment this month.
Earth Day Family Events

Read More

Maple Syruping with Kids in the Twin Cities

March is maple syrup month in Minnesota, and with an abundance of nature centers around the Twin Cities, we have ample opportunities to learn about and participate in the maple syruping process. Maple syrup events usually contain one or more of the following activities: tapping the maple trees, collecting the sap, boiling it into syrup, and the best part — according to my kids, anyway — a sample of the finished product.

Click through for a list of upcoming maple syrup events across the Twin Cities Metro. Read More

Twin Cities Early Halloween Events – October 10-18, 2015

BooFestLogo_2015[1]Grand Avenue BooFest

When: Saturday, Oct. 10 • events 11am-8pm
Cost: Free
Details: Trick-or-treat at participating businesses (map) from 2-4pm, free root beer garden at Red Balloon Bookshop from 2-5pm, free pony rides, a petting zoo and a costume contest.

Farmer Ken’s Pumpkin Patch
@ Como-Harriet Streetcar Line, 4200 Queen Ave. S, Minneapolis

When: Saturday & Sunday, October 10 & 11 • 12:30 to 4:30 PM
Cost: Regular fares apply; pumpkins are $4
Details: Take a trolley ride and bring home a Halloween pumpkin. Riders get off the car at the “pumpkin patch” where they can search for just the right pumpkin to bring home.

tm streetcar museum

Hyland’s Not-So-Scary Trick-or-Treat Event
@ Hyland Lake Park Reserve, 10145 Bush Lake Road, Bloomington

When: Oct. 10 • 2:30-4:30
Cost: $5/pre-registered, $6/door, under 2 free
Details: Hike through the woods to meet animal puppets, play games, and follow a scavenger hunt. Stop at the mad scientist’s lab and brave the “crazy maze.” Arrive in costume and bring a treat bag.

Food Allergy Resource Fair & Trick-or-Treating
@ Eisenhower Community Center, 1001 Highway 7, Hopkins

When: Saturday, Oct. 10 • 9am-noon
Cost: Free, however a donation of $5/pp is suggested
Details: Vendors will feature allergy-friendly food and products and kids are encouraged to come in costume and trick-or-treat, stopping at approximately 40 vendor tables that will hand out allergen-free treats. Tips for safe trick-or-treating with food allergies will also be shared with families.

Annual Halloween Party
@ Westwood Hills Nature Center, 8300 W Franklin Ave, St Louis Park

When: Friday & Saturday, Oct. 16-17 • 6:30-9pm
Cost: Early bird $8/resident, $9/non-resident or $10/resident, $11/non-res after Oct. 7
Details: Take part in indoor and outdoor games, activities and theme trails. Visit with friendly animal characters as you walk through the lighted Mother Nature’s Trail and dare to play Mystery Mini Golf in the dark woods. Music, refreshments and more.

Half-Haunted Halloween
@ Wood Lake Nature Center, 6710 Lakeshore Dr, Minneapolis

When: Saturday, Oct. 17 • 3-6pm
Cost: $4/pp advance, $5/pp at the door
Details: Try out the interactive trick-or-treat trail, take in a magic show, all-ages dance, storytelling, games, face painting, hot cocoa, and cookies.  Space is limited.  Purchase tickets in advance at Wood Lake Nature Center. If tickets remain, they’ll be sold at the door as space becomes available.

Halloween Family Fun Day
@ Weaver Lake Park, 8401 Dunkirk Ln N, Maple Grove

When: Saturday, Oct. 17 • 1-4pm
Cost: $5/per child ages 2-8 (event appropriate for this age range), under 2 are free
Details: 20+ activities including Monster Inflatables, crawling through the Web of Confusion Maze, pumpkin rolling, fishing in the Bottomless Well and more. Treat bags, crafts, contests and a fashion show.

tm the landingOld Fashioned Trick-or-Treat
@ The Landing, 2187 Highway 101 E, Shakopee

When: Saturday, Oct. 17 • 4-7pm
Cost: $5/pre-registered w/out treats, $6 at the door or $8/pre-registered w/ treats, $10/at the door
Details: Trick-or-treat along candlelit paths. Collect a variety of traditional treats and toys. Begin on a horse-drawn trolley and end with cider, a cookie and entertainment.

 Como Zoo Boo
@ Como Park Zoo & Conservatory
1225 Estabrook Dr, St. Paul

When: Saturday & Sunday, Oct. 17-18 and 24-25 • gates open 4:30-7:30pm
Cost: $6/in advance, $7/at door
Details: Admission helps support Como’s programs and aids in keeping the zoo free for all. Come in costume, take the trick-or-treat trail and enjoy cider and coffee. Read our tips on taking kids under 10 to Zoo Boo here.


 

Indoor & Outdoor Fun: Twin Cities Nature Centers SW Metro

It’s another March (or April) day in Minnesota where we just can’t quite get spring weather to commit — and I’m back with my second round in a series of the indoor and outdoor entertainment to be had at Twin Cities nature centers. In my previous post, I highlighted the activities at three NE Metro locations.

Today, I moved in a south-westerly direction (for no reason other than the fact I could find three in a roughly 10-mile radius that worked with my schedule) and hit up another trio of nature centers I believe you and your young ones would enjoy. I found Westwood Hills Nature Center, Richardson Nature Center and Wood Lake Nature Center to be exceptionally family-friendly and great for a day destined to be spent either indoors or out. Read on for more details.

Westwood Hills Nature Center | St Louis Park

Visitor Center hours: Monday-Friday • 8:30am-4:30pm

Twin Cities Nature CentersIndoor fun: The indoor portion of the nature center is on the small side, very appealing to kids. One colorful corner is stocked with books, puzzles, games and stuffed animals; other areas have drawers to pull out containing natural objects to touch (beware the compost drawer if you’re squeamish about vermiculture!). An on-hand naturalist engaged my kids in a game of I-Spy with wildlife around the room and gave me the scoop on preschool and family programs available throughout the year at Westwood Hills. Get a sampling of those, including the Nature For the Very Young drop-in preschool programs open to the public here.

Outdoor fun: Weather permitting, bring a picnic and spend some time in the outdoor play area. There are both a traditional playground climbing structure and a small nature play yard containing stumps, logs, shelters and one really cool work of art (see collage above). Within a stone’s throw of a suburban neighborhood is a lake, winding trails, a beautiful observation deck, and a landscaped habitat for Westwood Hill’s resident Barred owl.

Richardson Nature Center | Bloomington

Visitor Center hours: Monday-Saturday • 9am-5pm

Twin Cities Nature Centers

Indoor fun: Colorful, eye-popping relief murals decorate many of the walls of Richardson Nature Center. Grab a scavenger hunt card and see if you can pick out the wildlife in the detailed scenes. My oldest child did this while his preschool-aged sister explored the book nook, stacks of puzzles, a crawl-through coyote den, and other hands-on exhibits. Then, the two collaborated on a predator-prey puppet show for my viewing pleasure.

Outdoor fun: Sheltered within the Hyland Lake Park Reserve, Richardson Nature Center is the starting point for many trails and a Nature Exploration Area where kids can putter around with natural building materials. Check out a bird, bug or frog kit from the front desk to explore the prairie and wetlands. Close to the indoor exhibits is an outdoor raptor viewing area.

Wood Lake Nature Center | Richfield

Visitor Center hours: Monday-Saturday • 8:30am-5pm

Twin Cities Nature Centers

Indoor fun: Again, I was pleasantly surprised and appreciative of how many interactive exhibits there were for kids at my third stop of the day – Wood Lake Nature Center in Richfield, a little preserve of land sandwiched between city and first-ring suburbia. The preschooler is always content with a set of miniature animals no matter where she goes; my 9-year-old prefers activities that involve a touch screen. Wood Lake has both — simple toys and books for younger visitors and some creative exhibits that older kids will enjoy operating. We especially enjoyed matching sounds in nature with the creatures who make them.

Outdoor fun: When the weather warms up, it will be great fun to spend time in the Wood Lake Nature Play Area, watching the kids interact not with screens, but with logs, boulders, sticks and other natural materials. The play yard is fenced in and completely conducive to creative play.


Yes, we visited all three of these Twin Cities Nature Centers in one day. Though we had a great time, I don’t advise trying to fit so many in. Pick one, slow down, explore and enjoy. Stay tuned this spring for the next installment of FFTC’s Guide to Twin Cities-area Nature Centers!


© 2016 Family Fun Twin Cities LLC. All Rights Reserved. 1786 Carroll Ave, Saint Paul, MN, 55104, USA