Twin Cities Business Listing

Free Wi-Fi Available
8300 W Franklin Ave, St Louis Park, MN 55426
(952) 924-2544
Admission: $0.00
Scroll down for a registration link
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. 12:00 PM – 05:00 PM
Sun. 12:00 PM – 05:00 PM
Nature center trails and playground are open every day from sunrise to sunset, year round.

Open year-round, Westwood Hills Nature Center is a 160-acre natural area featuring marsh, woods and restored prairie. Families with small children will particularly love the nature playground, environmental learning center, and year-round naturalist-led programs. Older kids, teens and adults will enjoy exploring the trails and natural areas. Parking and admission are both always free. The main building, picnic shelter building and brickhouse all offer free wi-fi for visitor use. Restrooms are located near the playground and inside the interpretive center.

Westwood Hills Nature Center Interpretive Center, St. Louis Park, MN
The interpretive center’s exhibits help naturalists increase visitor understanding and appreciation of our natural world

Articles Featuring Westwood Hills Nature Center

10 Ideas for Family Fun at Westwood Hills Nature Center

  1. Play on the Nature Playground. The playground offers features geared toward kids ages 2-12, including both traditional playground equipment with a nature theme and natural elements for kids to explore.
  2. Borrow a Westwood Park Pack.  Guests can borrow a backpack stocked with nature activities, investigation tools, books and ideas for art activities. Each pack has a different nature theme, like birds, mammals, insects, reptiles, amphibians, forests or ponds. Stop by the nature center to check out a pack. While the packs are FREE to borrow, you will need a credit card and photo ID for a deposit.
  3. Walk the Trails at Westwood Nature Center and find the Waterfall. The nature center’s trails are open from dawn to dusk year-round. Trail surfaces include stroller-friendly hard surfaces, wood chips and boardwalks. A 6-foot waterfall is viewable from an observation deck above the water garden.
  4. Pack a Picnic in the Warmer Months. Make a day of your visit by bringing along snacks. There are picnic tables near the playground and a shading shelter deeper into the preserve.
  5. Attend a program with one of the park naturalists. Year-round programs include seasonal topics for preschool children, families, and homeschool groups and are held either in the outdoor classroom space or in one of the environmental learning classrooms.
  6. Rent snowshoes and kicksleds in the winter. Get outside during cold Minnesota winters. For a reasonable fee, families can 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.
  7. Look for Fun Public Events<. Each summer, the St. Louis Park Friends of the Arts, encourages the community to build tiny houses for the Trail of Small Wonders. You’ll also sometimes find find StoryWalks and other short-term activities.
  8. Explore the Indoor Interpretive Center. Exhibits offer information and entertainment for everyone preschool through adult to learn more about the natural world.
  9. Go Birding. Either find a quiet place along the trails to sit or watch the feeders from inside the interpretive center building.
  10. Look for Wildlife. You are probably most likely to find wildlife on the trails if you come at sunrise or just before sunset. You might see deer, fox, owls, turtles, or even a mink. Look a little closer and you’ll find pollinators and insects. If you don’t spot anything outdoors, head indoors to check out the animal ambassadors in the interpretive center.

Nature Playground at Westwood Hills Nature Center in St. Louis Park, MN
Nature-Themed Playground

Birthday Parties

Birthday Parties at the  interpretive center include a naturalist led program and unstructured use of a private party space in the multi-purpose room. Kids will meet a live animal and go on an outdoor hike as part of the party. 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 and the outdoor picnic shelter are also available to rent without the structured birthday party.

Photos of Westwood Hills Interpretive Center

Below is a slide show of family-friendly-friendly additions to the interpretive center.

The new interpretive center at the nature center was completed early in 2020. The updates included a complete overhaul. The new building has increased program space, public gathering areas, room rental opportunities, special exhibits and improved accessibility and access.

Environmental Sustainability

We were told that the new building is powered completely off-grid. Some of the sustainable aspects of the buildings design include:

  • Both active and passive solar panels on-site;
  • An energy-efficient fireplace powered by the solar panels;
  • Geothermal piping for heating and cooling; and
  • Natural ventilation<.
  • Rainwater capture system.
  • Zero Energy Certification from the International Living Future Institute.

How to Register for Westwood Activities:

Online Registration

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.

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.

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