Eastman Nature Center is part of Elm Creek Park Reserve in Maple Grove. The recently renovated building contains a variety of things for families to explore. For instance, it includes hands-on exhibits for kids, a puppet theater and costumes for dressing up. Park staff suggest using the nature center as a starting point for outdoor exploring. Families can devise kid friendly outdoor games or escape the elements indoors while still getting a view of nature from their floor to ceiling windows.
Kids will love observing live animals, birdwatching indoors or outdoors, searching the a wildlife mural scavenger hunt, or just lounging on the open-air deck. On quieter days, the can flop in the reading room with a good book.
While visiting, families can get outdoors, hit a trail and, if you'd like to learn more about your surroundings, try out any or all of the cell phone audio stops and interpretive signs that are scattered throughout the park. Kids might enjoy borrowing an exploration kit to tote along. These include things like binoculars, nature checklists, and additional information about the natural elements you might come across. Make sure to stop in the nature play area so they can climb and dig.
Other highlights of the park are the enormous Elm Creek Park Reserve Playground -- considered by many to be one of the best parks in Twin Cities -- and the sand-bottomed swimming pond. You'll want to set aside several hours -- make a day of it, in fact -- in order to see it all.
Birthday Parties at Eastman
Families can rent rooms within the nature center for birthday parties and other private events. Learn more at the park's website.