Tech Nature at MN Valley National Wildlife Refuge – Saturday, February 16th

Tech Nature @ MN Valley National Wildlife Refuge

This past summer our family volunteered with our local county to test and observe some of the wetlands. It was a fascinating project and we all learned a lot, not only about what is in the water, but also what is around the water. Although the birds were not specifically part of our project, our leader always managed to tell our girls something about the birds he saw and heard.

We learned there are some great apps for learning bird calls that help identify them and also get them to call back. If you have an interest in this, then there is a great free event on Saturday (February 16th) in Bloomington. Tech Nature at MN Valley National Wildlife Refuge takes place from 1 – 3 pm. Through this event, you’ll learn about some of the great apps that you help you identify birds and other animals.

Tech Nature @ MN Valley National Wildlife Refuge

There are a million apps available for smartphones and now there are many apps specifically for enjoying nature or engaging in citizen science projects. Join Ranger Sharon to learn more about how to find and identify wildlife, report your sightings and even take pictures and video – all with the amazing smartphone in your pocket.

Led by National Park Service Ranger Sharon Stiteler.

Meet in the Auditorium at the Bloomington headquarters and visitor center building for Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge (3815 American Blvd. E, Bloomington, MN 55425).

Embrace the North Festival

Although we might be looking forward to spring and summer, there’s still winter fun to be had!

The Embrace the North Festival takes place this coming Saturday, February 16th.  This free for all ages event, takes place at the Three Rivers Park Coon Rapids Dam Visitors Center.  You’ll find inside activities along with outdoor fun.

Some of the activities include:

  • Fat Bike Demonstrations
  • Snowshoeing
  • Campfire
  • Local Birds of Prey Demonstrations
  • Winter Games
  • Plus more fun….

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday Family Fun at Springbrook Nature Center in Fridley

Bring the entire family out to experience the wild with Saturday Family Fun at Springbrook Nature Center in Fridley. One Saturday each month from 10 – 11 am they have special programming with no fee (although donations are appreciated).

Explore the trails, learn new skills, meet live animals, and more! Be sure to dress to enjoy the weather. Activities are geared toward elementary school-aged children, but all are welcome.

Upcoming events include:

  • February 16: Nature’s Valentine
  • March 9: St. Patrick’s Day
  • April 20: Earth Day
  • May 11: Bubble Bonanza

Winter Games at Westwood Hills Nature Center

Bring the whole family for some Winter Games at Westwood Hills Nature Center, located in St. Louis Park.  It’s a chance to enjoy and embrace winter.

The event takes place Sunday, February 17th from 3-4:30.  There’s a small fee but with so many great activities and events planned the admission is a great deal.  They do ask that you pre-register and you can do that here.

  • Snowbowling
  • Kicksledding
  • Winter Games
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Plus more….

* All ages. $5 per person (resident) / $8 (non-resident)

 

HANC Open House

If you’ve never been to the Harriet Alexander Nature Center, here is your chance to check it out.  We discovered it for the first time a couple of years ago and enjoyed it so much we have returned several times.  Located in the Roseville area, you can forget how close you are to the city at this hidden gem.  We enjoy the great walking trails and the nature center itself offers some great learning opportunities.  Tomorrow 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 Pig”, with all sorts of great activities, crafts, treats and exhibits to enjoy.

Come out to the Harriet Alexander Nature Center’s Open House for a celebration of pigs and their relatives as we mark the Year of the Pig on Sunday, February 10, 12:30-4:30pm. You’ll be “happy as a pig in clover” as you enjoy some music, treats, and some of the fun customs of Chinese New Year. As a special treat, Mudonna, the St. Paul Saints mascot, will be making an appearance from 1:30-2:30pm! You can also check out the nature center’s displays including the fabulous indoor tree feature and explore the boardwalk out in the marsh.

Free First Tuesdays at Washington County Parks

We love to get outside and explore different parks and trails in Minnesota, and here’s a thrifty way to explore Washington County Parks! On the first Tuesday of the month (non-holiday) you can get in free, with no vehicle permit required. Although it’s actually quite reasonable to enter the parks on other days as well (currently $7/daily or $30/annual), it’s nice to save money when we can.

The 2019 Free Tuesday schedule is as follows:

  • January 1
  • February 5
  • March 5
  • April 2
  • May 7
  • June 4
  • July 2
  • August 6
  • September 3
  • October 1
  • November 5
  • December 3

With several different parks to choose from, there’s plenty of exploring to do. Check out the full list of parks here and fill up your calendar with hiking, biking, camping, swimming, and more.

Do you have a favorite county park in Minnesota? We’d love to hear about it so we can add it to our list of places to check out!

Fire & Ice Festivals

Depending where you are in MN, there are two different Fire & Ice Festivals taking place next weekend (February 2rd).

The 30th Annual Fire & Ice Festival takes place in Plymouth. A free event for the whole family. All the fun happens on and around Parkers Lake.

  • recycling bin races
  • hayrides
  • snow bowling
  • box hockey
  • food trucks on hand to purchase food and snacks

The other option is on Lake Redwood near Redwood Falls.  Another fun event for the whole family.

  • games
  • bobski racing
  • broomball
  • bonfires
  • fireworks

There’s no shortage of fun to be found this time of year, it’s just a matter of how many layers you need to wear.

 

 

Ritter Fest Near Lakeville

It’s all about bundling up this week if you want to enjoy the outdoors.  Find ALL of your winter gear and have some fun at Ritter Fest near Lakeville tomorrow (January 27th).  No registration required and the small admission fee of $3 a person or $10 a carload will get you into the fun event.  Some of the activities taking place:

  • A winter sleigh ride through the woods.
  • Lakeville SnoTrackers will be available for snowmobile rides 
  • Lakeville Parks & Recreation will provide snowshoes to try.
  • Enjoy a hike through the beautiful Ritter Farm Park.

Right off 35W on the southside of Lakeville at 19300 Ritter Trail

 

Meet the Animals at the Maplewood Nature Center

Have you always wanted to own a snake or maybe a salamander?  Watching and learning about them is much easier and it’s free!  The Meet the Animals at the Maplewood Nature Center is a chance to ask questions and learn a bit more about some of the animals they offer homes to.  This all ages event takes place this coming Saturday from 10:30-noon.  Although it’s free they do ask that you register so they can plan a bit for the event.

**Fee: Free, register by Friday, January 25 at www.maplewoodnaturecenter.com and click on the RegisterOnline-Go button, or call 651-249-2170..Activity #16277

 

Tubing with Teens at Elm Creek Park Reserve

We might not have any mountains but we are lucky enough to have some great hills for sledding and tubing.  One of our favorite spots happens to be part of the Three River Park District.  Elm Creek Park Reserve is located near Maple Grove.  We like that they provide the tubes and having a magic carpet to get back up to the top.

Elm Creek is hosting a Tubing with Teens event this coming Friday from 6-9pm.  There’s a small fee for this evening of fun, only $5 and it’s well worth three hours of fun! It’s important to note that only 200 passes will be sold at this thrifty rate so you might want to plan ahead and purchase your pass.  The event is for kids 12-19. **Each Teen needs to have a parent waiver signed.  Hot cocoa will be provided and there will also be a nature photography contest which you can read about here on the event FB page.

A selection of board games will be available indoors.

6:00PM – Tubing Passes can be purchased for $5 by teens with tubing lasting for 2 hours from the time of purchase. Only 200 passes will be issued at the $5 rate.
7:30PM – All photos must be entered for the photo contest
8:00PM – The TRPD Teen Council will select 10 finalists for the photo contest and voting will open up to all teens to choose a winner
8:30PM – Voting closes for the photo contest
8:45PM – Winner is announced.
9:00PM – Teen Night Ends