Family Fun Directory: Things To Do with Kids

Family Fun Directory of Things To Do with KidsIn Minnesota, family fun outdoors means embracing all four seasons. If you are on this page because you are looking for a new Twin Cities-area park, playground or nature center to explore, hundreds of entries can be found through our Parks & Playgrounds Search feature. Or, continue searching hundreds more ideas of things to do with kids in the Twin Cities through our Family Directory, including family outings, services, classes, camps, birthday parties and more.

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Maplewood Nature Center

2659 East 7th Street, Maplewood, MN 55119, United States
Admission: $0.00
Use of facilities is free of charge. Many programs are free or inexpensive. See Website for Class and Event Pricing
Register by credit card online, by phone, or by mailing a check.
Hours of Operation:
Mon. Closed
Tue. 08:30 AM - 04:30 PM
Wed. 08:30 AM - 04:30 PM
Thu. 08:30 AM - 04:30 PM
Fri. 08:30 AM - 04:30 PM
Sat. 08:30 AM - 04:30 PM
Sun. Closed
Trails and Preserves: Open 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset every day of the year

Take some time to add a little nature play into your busy schedules! Amenities at Maplewood Nature Center include a visitor center and nature play yard, as well as trails, gardens, and picnic areas on a 40-acre preserve operated by the City of Maplewood. For more information about Maplewood Nature Center and its programs visit or call 651-249-2170.

Maple Wood Nature Center

Maplewood Nature Center

Maplewood Nature Center's Visitor Center

The visitor's center offers family a quiet reading corner with children's books and wildlife puppets. The younger kids will enjoy the crawl-thru log and touching skulls, antlers, furs and taxidermy subjects. While older children will enjoy exploring the live animals and informational signs and boards. Check out a pedal-power energy bike that powers a fan and lights. 

Neighborhood Preserves:

The Nature Center is the home base for Maplewood's 14 beautiful open space sites scattered throughout Maplewood. These nature preserves are sanctuaries for birds and wildlife, and provide a place for residents to hike, relax, and enjoy nature close to home. These preserves include Gladstone Savanna and Fish Creek Natural Area, both of which host nature events during the year.

Exploring the Trails

Trails wind through oak woods and marsh and are open every day from dawn to dusk. MNC recommends starting with the visitor center to learn a little about the surrounding environment before heading out on your hike or nature exploration. A helpful Phenology Calendar tells you which seasonal wildlife and plants you'll most likely observe. While you are there, check out a nature backpack or bingo game. In the winter you can also rent snowshoes.

Maplewood has recently renovated its trails to be sustainable. They ask that visitors respect this by carrying out whatever they carry in, not disturbing wildlife, and not introducing new plants or animals (this includes your dog). You grab a map and self-guided trail brochure in the Visitor Center or download a PDF copy here.

Make your hike an adventure by requesting one of these four self-guided activities from the Nature Center.

  1. Self-Guided Nature Trail: Match pictures with the posts as you walk the trails.
  2. Nature Bingo Hike: Try to match four pictures in a row as you hike.
  3. Waterworks Scavenger Hunt: Hunt for artsy items on stormwater structures while learning about waterworks.
  4. Tree Quest: Follow the clues to find and identify ten trees on the trail.

The Nature Center Play Yard

The Nature Center Play Yard, which adjoins the visitor center, is designed to connect children with nature by using natural features such as materials for building forts, a small Discovery Trail that connects to the main trail system, climbing rocks and smaller rocks, stumps and logs, touchable native plants, a shrub tunnel and sand and chalk. You can borrow sand toys from the Visitor Center. There is also space for picnics.

Geocaching at Maplewood Nature Center

This park is part of Maplewood's Geocache Passport Program. Stop by City Hall or the nature center for a packet or download this PDF.

Birthday Parties

Birthday Parties at Maplewood Nature CenterMaplewood offers naturalist-led birthday parties for as low as $80.00  (up to 12 children). There is also a $100.00 option (13-15 children). The organized party includes various themes, including an outdoor hike, snake, salamander, or toad party. Parties are geared to ages 4+. Parties include a decorated room and party favors. Parents provide the food. 

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