Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary

Haliaeetus leucocephalus (bald eagle) landing ...
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Minneapolis and St. Paul are lucky to have a wide variety of outdoor parks and nature sanctuaries. One of the smaller ones is theĀ  Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary along theĀ  north shore of the Mississippi River in St. Paul. Take the kids for an afternoon of fun walking along the paths, look into the caves, dip your toes in the brook or climb the sand castle cliffs.

This sanctuary is a fun place to spend a couple of hours on an afternoon. Volunteers work each year to help return the area to its original oak forest habitat. When we were there this past weekend we spotted a bald eagle resting in one of the trees. The sanctuary is a popular stopover for raptors and migrating birds. Be sure to bring a camera to capture a sighting of one of these interesting animals.

The sandcastle cliffs are a lot of fun to climb and easy enough for young children to maneuver with some help. The top of the cliffs provide a spectacular view of the river and the St. Paul skyline. The sand at the bottom of the cliffs is very soft and kids enjoy taking off their shoes to play in it.

The brook that flows past the cave is a great place to sit for a moment and dip your toes into the cool, spring fed water. The water is so pure, water cress grows. The park is slowly being returned to its natural state and the wildlife is returning.

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