Twin Cities Parks & Playgrounds Search


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Tamarack Nature Center, White Bear Township

5287 Otter Lake Rd. White Bear Township, MN 55110
651-407-5350
Admission: $0.00
Trails and Discovery Hollow and Garden are free and open to the public. Please sign in at the main office before or after your visit. Donations are gratefully accepted. Some Programs have fees.
Hours of Operation:
Mon. 08:00 AM - 04:30 PM
Tue. 08:00 AM - 04:30 PM
Wed. 08:00 AM - 04:30 PM
Thu. 08:00 AM - 04:30 PM
Fri. 08:00 AM - 04:30 PM
Sat. 09:00 AM - 04:30 PM
Sun. 12:00 PM - 04:30 PM
Discovery Hollow Nature Play Area & Garden; Open daily: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Open select evenings, please call for details.
Details:

Tamarack Nature Center is part of Bald Eagle-Otter Lakes Regional Park. It offers both free and paid nature education programs and is home to the incredible nature playground, Discovery Hollow.

Drop In Discovery Stations at Tamarack Nature Center

Tamarack offers free Saturday morning Drop-In Discovery Stations from 10 a.m. – noon every Saturday morning from March – October and the first Saturday of each month from November – February.

Visitors are free to come and go from the programs as they choose, and no pre-registration is required. Drop-In Discoveries are led by Tamarack’s volunteer Discovery Hosts and feature up-close visits with live animals, including Tamarack’s resident owls, snakes and salamanders. Participants also get hands-on experience with touchable artifacts, like skulls and skins, and sample edible treats from the Discovery Hollow garden. Upcoming topics can be found HERE or on our Family Fun Calendar.

When we visited Tamarack we couldn't have felt more welcomed by the staff and volunteers. We looked out the floor to ceiling windows at the wetland habitat in front of us; we enjoyed the beehive (that was safely behind plexiglass); and we built with the tree shaped blocks.

It was low-key and invigorating at the same time. Drop-In Discovery Stations add that much more thrill for learning and experiencing nature. Stations are open to all ages, but please note that children should be accompanied by an adult.

courtesy ramsey County


Meet the Tamarack Nature Center Gardener

If  you are new to gardening or would like to grow your knowledge, you can meet in Discovery Hollow at Tamarack every Monday during the summer from 10:15 - 11:00 am for Meet the Gardener.  Try your hand a planting and tending the garden at Tamarack and enjoy your fruits of the harvest.

Meet the Tamarack Nature Center Gardener


Birthday Parties at Tamarack Nature Center

Tamarack offers both Naturalist-led birthday parties and space rental for private birthday parties.

Packages for parties led by professional environmental educators are generally available for 2-hour blocks on weekends. Parents can also call for weekday availability. Package prices run between $170 - $190 and include:

  • Up to 11 guests and the birthday child. At least one adult for every six children is required.
  • Exclusive use of a classroom for the party. You bring your own cake, treats and party supplies.
  • An hour and 15 minute program led by a naturalist in the theme of your choice.
  • Both indoor and outdoor activities.
  • Goodie bags for each participant.
  • Some set up and clean up. You set up and clean up your own supplies and classroom.
  • Access to the Discovery Hollow Nature Play Area.
  • Downloadable and printable party invitation.

If you prefer space rental only, this option is available also.  Learn more about both options HERE.

Tamarack Nature Center, Summer Camp


Free Summer Fun at Tamarack Nature Center

Tamarack offers several free programs during summer. On Mondays, Meet the Gardener allows visitors to help with planting, tending and tasting the harvest. Families can also go on a Discovery Walk through the prairie or attend a weekly Drop-in Discovery Station.

 

Winter Activities at Tamarack Nature Center

Tamarack is one of several Ramsey County Parks that keeps cross-country ski trails packed. A Minnesota Ski Pass is required to use these trails for anyone 16 and over. Ramsey county provides trail maps and and rules for use on its website. Both skis and snowshoes can be rented at the Tamarack Winter Recreation Rental Shack (part of the nature center building), between mid December and early March. Prices start at $7 (5 and under) and $14 (6 through adult) for two hours for shoe and ski rental. Note: that the rental shack closes when trail conditions are poor. Weather permitting, equipment can be rented Monday through Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and Sundays 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Rentals must be returned by 4:00 p.m.

Tamarack has a designated sledding hill located in the Discovery Hollow Nature Play Area.

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The Family Fun Twin Cities Parks & Playgrounds Search directory is your one stop for the best Twin Cities Park Guide! We share some of the best playgrounds in the Twin Cities in this directory. We are so passionate about how awesome are parks are, that we don't want you to stop with 10 parks or even 150 parks! There are so many parks in the metro area, you could visit a new one every day for some free Twin Cities family fun and still not have seen them all in 5 years.

We've currently reviewed over 400 parks in this directory, but we would love to hear from you! What do YOU think are the best parks in the Twin Cities? How about the best parks in Minnesota? What parks did we completely miss? What is your favorite little unknown gem? We really want to share all your favorite indoor playgrounds and outdoor parks! Let us know and we'll add a review here.

Twin Cities parks are great for hiking, biking, rollerblading, kayaking, canoeing and other fun physical games. But, they are also just great for hanging out in a hammock and picnicking while the kids explore and enjoy some of the best playgrounds in Minnesota. Let's enjoy our parks:

Inside Parks and Indoor Waterparks

In Minnesota indoor playgrounds are a necessity! I know we think of outdoors when we think of parks, but with our long, dark and cold winters, some indoor active games are a must. You can even have indoor picnics at these parks. This such a great way to stretch the summer feeling into the winter! Check out some of the best indoor playgrounds in the Twin Cities this winter.

Outside Parks and Outdoor Waterparks

Minnesota has these, too! And during our short summer, we want to take advantage of them as much as possible! best In fact, the Minneapolis and St. Paul Parks are some of the best outdoor playgrounds twin cities - actually in the country. They win awards - every year! Look and See. Every. Single. Year. So get out to our area parks, make up some fun games to play.

Beaches

Some of the best beaches in the Twin Cities are hidden little gems. Anne has her favorite 20 Twin Cities Beaches, Parks & Playgrounds to Try This Summer. She revises the list every year to keep us in the know.

Shakespeare in the Park at Twin Cities Parks

One of my favorite ways to enjoy our parks is with a play or musical in a park. It doesn't really have to be Shakespeare, it can be the latest Disney princess musical or even a puppet wagon. In fact, sometimes Open Eye Figure Theatre's driveway tour has some park stops. Watch our Performing Arts page each summer to find these fun, free park events.

Music in the Parks - Minneapolis, St. Paul, Suburbs

Nothing says easy summertime fun like music in the parks! The best thing is, there is seriously a concert every night of the week from Memorial Day until Labor Day. Obviously, some get cancelled due to weather, but pick any nice night, take a look at the Family Fun Twin Cities calendar and you can find music in a park. No sign up, no tickets, no money, no commitment. Show up, bring a picnic, play at some of the best playgrounds in Minnesota and relax to great music.

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Tot Times

Active indoor games for preschoolers are something we are always on the search for when the weather is uncooperative. The parks have a lot to offer with their tot times and open gym slots. For instance, they often offer riding toys, hula hoops, games to play with preschoolers, balls of all kinds, climbing structures, fun games for toddlers, etc.

Looking for the Best Playgrounds and Parks Beyond the Twin Cities?

If you are traveling outside the metro, you'll want to check out some of our favorite day-trip parks. If you are going further than that, we have a list of great family-owned websites to direct you to the best parks around the country so you don't have to depend on national websites or random internet searches.


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