Wood Lake Nature Center

English: Birches Wood. Part of the Vann Lake N...
English: Birches Wood. Part of the Vann Lake Nature Reserve (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Updated Feb 2014

Wood Lake Nature Center is located in Richfield, just outside of Minneapolis. The center hosts many programs for kids and families throughout the year. They also host the annual Urban Wildlife Half Marathon in August. This race is one of the most beautiful half marathons in the city as most of the run goes through the park, rather than down city streets. All proceeds from the race are used to help support the park.

The Nature Center building is located on 150 acres of natural woodland and wetland that has been set aside to provide wildlife education, environmental education and recreation. There are over 3 miles of trail that are largely paved and wheelchair accessible in the summer months. No pets, bikes or rollerblades are allowed on the paths or in the parks to help preserve their natural state. There are actually three different habitats in the park, cattail marsh, mixed lowland forest and restored prairie. The trails and boardwalks wind through all three habitats.

The interpretive center is over 4000 square feet an d houses many interactive displays. The center is also home to many classes throughout the year. These classes are available for all grade levels from kindergarten through 8th grade. There is also a low impact scavenger hunt for families to use while exploring the park on their own. This hunt helps kids find things that they cannot take with them such as a mammal track or a bird singing. It is a great way to get them to pay attention to the world around them without rushing through the park.

Wood Lake Nature Center and the surrounding park is an excellent way to introduce kids to some new environments and help them understand that they do have an impact on the world.  Additional information is available at http://www.woodlakenaturecenter.org/index.htm

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