HANC Open House

If you’ve never been to the Harriet Alexander Nature Center, here is your chance to check it out.  We were there last year for the first time and will be going back.  We enjoyed the great walking trails and the nature center itself offers some great learning opportunities.  This Sunday January 29th is the annual open house at HANC (Harriet Alexander Nature Center).  It takes place from 12:30-4:30.  The theme is “The Year of the Rooster”, with all sorts of great activities, crafts, treats and exhibits to enjoy.

There’s something to crow about! On Sunday, January 29, the Harriet Alexander Nature Center (HANC) in Roseville will be celebrating the Year of the Rooster at the annual Open House from 12:30-4:30pm.

From Henny Penny to the Chicken Dance, roosters (chickens) and other birds have a long history in relation to human culture. Whether in folklore, artwork, or your favorite recipe books, birds have played a significant role in our lives. Compare bird eggs, taste our chicken soup, make a feather craft, and try Ukrainian egg-dyeing, all while enjoying some of the fun customs of Chinese New Year.

There will be a craft project and traditional Chinese New Year treats to enjoy. Check out the nature center’s recent indoor upgrades including the fabulous tree feature, explore the boardwalk out in the marsh and enjoy the center’s informative exhibits.

The HANC open house is held on the same day as the annual open house at our parking lot neighbor, the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. This is a once-a-year opportunity to peek behind the scenes at this very busy animal “hospital.”

The Harriet Alexander Nature Center, an oasis of natural beauty and tranquility nestled within the borders of Roseville, is located at 2520 N. Dale Street. For driving directions or more information visit cityofroseville.com/HANC or call 651-765-HANC (4262).

Nature Rocks! Outdoor Center Open House in Eden Prairie

Are you looking for something to do tomorrow? We found a great free event.  Each Saturday morning from 10-12pm the Outdoor Nature Center in Eden Prairie hosts an open house.  There will be free family activities including:  crafts, hiking, interaction with live animals and more.

The Eden Prairie Outdoor Center is a refurbished cabin located on the north shore of Staring Lake at 13765 Staring Lake Parkway.

A wide range of classes, workshops, trips and activities in outdoor recreation and environmental education are offered.

Enjoy free family-friendly activities such as hiking, hands-on interaction with live animals, craft projects and more!

Every Saturday from 10-12pm.


Winter Trails Day 2017 @ Fort Snelling State Park

With warm spring like temps lined up for the weekend, it’s a great time to enjoy the Winter Trails Day 2017 @ Fort Snelling State Park.  Taking place on Saturday January 21st from 11-4pm.

Join us for Winter Trails Day 2017! This annual tradition is a day of fun, free winter activities. Partners from the National Park Service, REI, Minnesota DNR, U.S. Forest Service, and others will come together to provide a range of activities to help you make the most of the season. Try ice-fishing, cross-country skiing, fat biking, quinzee building, and much more!

This event is free and open to everyone, however Minnesota State Parks require a vehicle permit – $5 for the day or $25 for the year.

Trapp Farm Park Tubing Hill- Eagan

I’m seeing some warmer temps this week, a perfect time to find a new spot for tubing.  Trapp Farm Park Tubing Hill is located in Eagan.  Admission is very reasonable, only $4 person and kids under 42” in height are free when accompanied on a tube by a paid adult.  This hill does not have a tow rope, so it’s a great way to get some exercise and burn off extra energy.

Trapp Farm Park Tubing Hill

The tubing hill is open for the season. For weather related closings, please call the hotline:  (651) 675-5511, option 3.

The Trapp Farm Park Tubing Hill is located on Wilderness Run Road between Dodd Road and Lexington Avenue is open for the season. Approximately 75 tubes designed for winter tubing are available. To ensure the safety of all guests, you may not bring any of your own inner tubes, sleds, toboggans or other sledding devices during regular hours in the designated tubing area. Participants must be able to walk up the hill as tow ropes are not available at this facility.

Trapp Farm Park is a very busy site and birthday parties, presents, food or group events will not be allowed in the shelter during regular hours. However, groups and/or parties are encouraged to reserve the facility for their event by calling Eagan Parks & Recreation at (651) 675-5500. Check out Group Reservations for more details.

Eagan Parks & Recreation encourages you to call the Recreation Hotline at (651) 675-5511, select option #3 for Outdoor Ice Rinks and Tubing Hill. The hotline is typically updated one hour prior to opening times and updated throughout the day if weather and site conditions change. Sites may be closed and programs cancelled, if any of the following weather and ice conditions occur:

  • The temperature is –10 degrees or colder.
  • The wind-chill index is –15 degrees or colder, as per the National Weather Service.
  • Snow or ice has accumulated to the point where it can not be cleared by City staff.
  • Warm temperatures cause significant melting on the sledding hill.


  • $4.00 per person
  • Children under 42” in height are free when accompanied on a tube by a paid adult.
  • $24 for a 10 visit punch card

Regular Hours

Day Hours
 Thursday  4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.


 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.


 Noon – 8:00 p.m.


Winterfest at River Bend Nature Center

River Bend Nature Center

It’s time to celebrate Winter!  Winterfest takes place at the River Bend Nature Center near Faribault, Saturday January 21st.  Hours are from 1-4.  Activities include:  live animal shows, crafts, games, an opportunity to try out kicksleds or snowshoes and more. There is a small admission of $7 (max of $27 per family).  Lot’s of fun to be found for all ages.

River Bend Nature Center

Join us as we celebrate the winter season at River Bend Nature Center. Try out snowshoes, kicksleds, enjoy the St. Olaf College Carolers, live animal shows, games, crafts, s’mores, popcorn, and cocoa and more! $7 a person; max $25/family. RBNC members: $5 a person or max $20/family.






Snowman Making Contest and Concert


With a lot of kids out of school on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. day, you might be looking for something for them to do? The Snowman Making Contest & Concert at the Silverwood Park, located in St. Anthony sure sounds like a fun idea.   Think of all the fun creative types of snowmen, snow-women, perhaps even an animal or monster that they could make!  The bonus is, it’s a free event.  Just need some creativity and whatever tools you need to bring that creativity to life!

Creatively build a snowman, snow-woman, or snow monster. Bring shovels, props, and natural materials to accessorize. Enter as a team or individual. Judging at 3:00 PM; certificates and trophies awarded at 3:30 PM. Enjoy marshmallow roasting and an indoor concert with Bunny Clogs after. Children 17 years and younger must be accompanied by an adult.


Snowshoeing in Minnesota


I myself, have only tried snowshoeing once. It’s on my radar to find time to try it again, when the temps get a little bit warmer. Doing some research, I found that there are endless places to rent snowshoes.  That means there’s really not a good reason to give it a try.  Our recently retired neighbor decided this year is the year to get better nature and wildlife photographs.  He decided that snowshoes just might be the trick to getting those.  Another friend of mine wanted to exercise where there is scenery.  Whatever your reason to give it a try, check out some of these places to rent or try them out.  Also if anyone knows of a place we did not mention, please let us know and we will add them to the list.

So many different options, think of all the different scenery you can explore this winter.  A great inexpensive way to get out and see some wildlife and get some exercise.





Winter Ice Festival – Centennial Lakes Park

Winter Ice Festival - Centennial Lakes Park

Winter in Minnesota means that don’t we just stay inside, we bundle up and enjoy some great events.  The Winter Ice Festival takes place this Sunday, January 8th at Centennial Lakes Park in Edina.  We attended this event a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it, our favorite part was riding on the horse drawn wagon.  Ice Skating at Centennial Lakes is picture perfect and another highlight of this event.  Hours for the festival are 1-5pm.

In celebration of the winter season, Centennial Lakes Park will host the 27th-annual Winter Ice Festival. Visitors to the park will be able to have their faces painted and ride on a horse-drawn wagon. Ice Festival participants may bring their own equipment, but ice skates and kick-sleds are available to rent at the Hughes Pavilion, which serves as a warming house and concessions stand during the winter months. Behind Hughes Pavilion on the terrace overlooking the lake, ice-sculpting demonstrations will be given.


First Day Hike


Tomorrow will be time to change the calendar, look onward at 2017 and hope for the best.  If you want to start off the year on the right foot, then a First Day Hike at a MN State Park is perfect!  Nine State Parks are offering events, but you can always head to any of the state parks and do some hiking.  *If you would like to snowshoe, you may need reservations to rent those, depending on the park.

Start your year off right, by coming to the park for a First Day Hike or snowshoe, if the conditions allow for it. If so, snowshoes will be provided for those that need them. The naturalist will take you out on a winter adventure to see the sights. A frozen lake, a snow swept prairie, or a few snow glistened trees are not out of the question. While exploring, we will look at the history of the park, its natural resources, and cultural significance. This nature hike is sure to have something for everyone.

Candlelight and Ice at Wood Lake Nature Center

Wood Lake 2

Are you still trying to decide what to do for New Years Eve?  We found another option for you, one that allows you to be home in time to watch the ball drop on TV.  Candlelight and Ice at Wood Lake Nature Center in Richfield. It takes place from 6-9pm. Admission is $5 per person and no registration required, so it’s a great last minute option.

Celebrate the New Year at Wood Lake with family and friends! Follow hundreds of candle-lit luminaries on a walking trail through cattails and trees while on the lookout for deer, fox, and owls. Roast marshmallows over a crackling fire or warm up inside with hot cocoa. Make a craft, play a game, or just sit back and relax. No pre-registration; doors open at 6:00.   $5/person; free for Friends of Wood Lake Members.

Candlelight and Ice at Wood Lake Nature Center