Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center provides a unique opportunity for families to learn and explore the outdoors. The park is approximately half an hour east of the Twin Cities near the junction of the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers. Hiking trails wind throughout the pines, savanna, prairies, ravines, an apple orchard, and along the river.
The Nature Center also offers classes, camps and activities for families, including story times and bird banding.
Carpenter St Croix Valley Nature Center Orchard
The orchard boasts 13 varieties of apples. There is not a pick-your-own option, but families can purchase apples when visiting during the harvest season. Learn more here.
Carpenter's Eagle Ambassador
Carpenter's Eagle Ambassador, Phoenix, is a young male bald eagle who was found on the side of a road when he was less than a year old. At the time that he was brought to the Raptor Center, he was very thin, exposed to lead, and unable to fly and unable to be returned to the wild. In May of 2017, he was re-homed to Carpenter and can be viewed at the Visitor's Center.
Story Times at Carpenter Nature Center
Preschool story times are offered once a month on Fridays from 10 am to 11 am. Check out the Family Fun Calendar for the next date. These story times are designed to introduce young children, ages 2 through 5 and their grown up to nature in a fun and safe environment. It includes a nature story, an art or craft project, outdoor exploration, and live animal observation. Pre-registration is required; call 651-437-4359. Each child costs $5.00 (or $3.00 for Friends of CNC.) No charge for the chaperone.
The Park hosts several family friendly annual events, including:
- February: Masters of the Sky.
- April: Earth Day Birding Festival.
- August: Carpenter Art Festival.
- September: Fall Raptor Release.
- October: Applefest.
Summer Camp at Carpenter Nature Center
Carpenter offers three levels of summer camp -- a single half-day camp, and week-long camps for ages 5-11 and for ages 10+. All camps have a nature theme. We feature Carpenter camps in our annual summer camp guide, where we update prices and dates annually.
Birthday Parties at Carpenter Nature Center