The Wood Lake Nature Center is a 150-acre natural area in Richfield. It has 3 miles of walking trails. At the entrance there is a welcome center where you can get maps, use the bathroom and get some water. They have exhibits of dead animals and some live animals (snakes, turtles, salamander) for viewing. This main building also includes a small room geared towards children of all ages. It’s kind of small, but I was pleasantly surprised to see it there. It includes more stuffed animals to see and touch. It also includes a small play area, well stocked with books about animals, puzzles, puppets and a puppet theatre. This room has large windows for viewing birds (we saw a gosling and her mother near the bird feeders) and looking out over the marsh.
The trails are well maintained with many opportunities to see wildlife, such as birds and ducks.
They do offer programs for all ages, which are located on their event calendar online. They also have many snowshoes for rent. There are also picnic benches available near the parking lot that is well shaded and welcoming for a picnic lunch.
I was really happy to find this little gem just south of the cities. It was quiet and peaceful when we were there. The main building, which housed the play area for kids, was a treat. The large, floor to ceiling windows allowed us to see everything outside while we played inside. This would be a great space to go if you get caught in a storm or it’s a little too cold outside.
Bring bug spray! It’s very woody and damp in certain parts of the trail; so don’t be caught without bug spray.
When going there the first time I had my daughter use her senses to explore the park outside. Being young, I asked her, “what do you hear…see…feel..” during our walk. I didn’t bombard her too much with this as she found the “what do you feel” question very relevant as we spent most of the time there picking up cottonwood tree cotton.
*Make a nature collage with the pieces you find during your walk at the park
*Look for birds and other small wildlife in your neighborhood. Create a journal where you draw or write what you see during observations. Keep this journal and come back to it when the seasons change. Do you notice anything different from summer to summer?
Review by Rebecca Nutter. Minneapolis, MN
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