Westwood Hills Nature Center is a 160-acre natural area featuring marsh, woods and restored prairie. Naturalists conduct year-round programs for children and families to increase visitors understanding of our natural world. Parking and admission are free. The main building, picnic shelter building and brickhouse all offer free wi-fi for visitor use.
Winter Family Fun at Westwood Hills Nature Center
The nature center's trails are open year round, and in the winter, visitors can rent snowshoes and kicksleds for a reasonable fee ($5-$6/hour in 2020). Check out the equipment at the nature center during open hours. Bring a driver's license and a credit card because they are both needed as a deposit on the rental.
Gianna claims "It's Snowshoe Fun to Exercise Outdoors in Minnesota in January."
Hiking/Walking Trails at Westwood Nature Center
Wood chipped, boardwalks and hard surface accessible trails are open from dawn to dusk year-round. Find a trail map here.
How to Register for Westwood Activities:
The easiest ay to register for activities is probably online. However, you do need to create an account and add any family members to the account before you can register online. Search and register for programs here.
Register by Fax or Mail or In Person:
Saint Louis Park's seasonal Parks & Recreation brochure contains a registration form which you can fill out by hand and either fax or mail in. Fax to 952-797-9691. The mailing address is:
Westwood Hills Nature Center
8300 W. Franklin Ave.
St. Louis Park, MN 55426.
Visitors are also welcome to drop off their completed registration forms at the nature center personally.
Saint Louis Park does not accept phone registration for activities, however, if you have questions or need help filling out the form, you can call 952-924-2540.
Birthday Parties at the new interpretive center include a one-hour naturalist led program and an unstructured hour in a private party room. Kids will meet a live animal and go on an outdoor hike as part of the party. The room is yours for the whole two hours. Party parents can bring in cake, refreshments and tableware. Parties are designed for children ages 4 and up. Call 952-924-2544 to learn more and reserve a party.
If you would rather just design your own party, the facility is also available to rent without the structured birthday party.
Find more ideas for Birthday Parties in Parks
Updates to Westwood Hills Nature Center
The new interpretive center at the nature center was completed early in 2020. The grand opening ribbon cutting was delayed into September, but the nature center is open.
Beginning in May 2019, the interpretive center was completely overhauled. The new building has increased program space, public gathering areas, room rental opportunities, special exhibits and improved accessibility and access.
My family visited shortly before construction began, and we were told that the new building will be powered completely off-grid. Some of the sustainable aspects of the buildings design include:
- Both active and passive solar panels;
- An energy-efficient fireplace powered by the solar panels;
- Geothermal piping for heating and cooling; and
- Natural ventilation.
Articles Featuring Westwood Hills Nature Center
- Twin Cities Spring Nature Play & Programs Guide
- Maple Syruping with Kids in the Twin Cities
- Indoor & Outdoor Fun: Twin Cities Nature Centers SW Metro