Explore Parks and Nature Centers in the Twin Cities Gateway
Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota
Get Back to Nature
Experience the natural beauty of Minnesota firsthand at Wargo Nature Center in Lino Lakes. Rent a kayak or canoe from the Wargo Nature Center and take your crew out on area lakes, creeks and rivers for a peaceful paddle, looking for birds and wildlife along the way. Experienced paddlers may want to try kayaking the 23-mile Rice Creek Water Trail from Lino Lakes all the way to Fridley. Spend time back at the Nature Center to explore gardens full of butterflies, see a variety of birds attracted by the center’s bird feeders and ask questions of the naturalists on hand.
Get up close with birding and wildlife at the Springbrook Nature Center in Fridley, which lets visitors see resident turtles, snakes, salamanders and frogs. Plenty of other animals live in the natural habitat outside the center like bats, flying squirrels, beavers, birds and owls for which you can also be on the lookout. Be sure to take a walk along the Center’s 3 miles of hiking trails that wind past ponds, aspen trees, oak trees, floating boardwalks and native prairies. Families will enjoy the outdoor nature-based playground or can also try geocaching, which is real-life treasure hunting in the great outdoors using global positioning systems to locate “caches” of goodies left by others.
Discover the natural wonders of Minnesota’s wetlands at the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary, a new and developing 500 acre natural treasure, just north of Minneapolis. The sanctuary features hard trail and boardwalk that meander through four distinct habitats: Anoka sand plain wetlands, rich fen, poor fen and upland forest. Each habitat supports a distinct variety of plants, wildlife and insects including rare and endangered species of plants. Walk or bike along the trails on your own or participate in the sanctuary’s educational programs and field trips and naturalist-led hikes. It’s a great place to learn about the importance of wetlands to our environment.
Explore our Beautiful Parks
If you looking for a lot of fun activity for the family, Bunker Hills Regional Park near Coon Rapids is the park for you! This park is loaded with hiking and biking, camping, archery and disc golf. Not to mention the park is also home to Bunker Beach, Minnesota’s largest outdoor water park, Bunker Hills Golf Club and Bunker Park Stables, featuring horseback riding, hay and sleigh rides. Visitors can camp right in the park at Bunker Hills Campgrounds, featuring rustic campsites, RV sites, camper cabins and visitor center. Or, if you prefer, find yourself a comfy Coon Rapids Hotel.
For another full-spectrum park experience, check out the Rice Creek Regional Park Reserve in Lino Lakes. This spectacular 5,500-acrea park is the largest in the Twin Cities metropolitan area and includes great golf at the Chomonix Golf Course, Wargo Nature Center, Rice Creek Campground and Centerville Lake Beach. You’ll find picnic areas, boat launch, hiking and biking trails and a fishing pier. At the center of the reserve are seven interconnected lakes, headwaters to a 23-mile canoeable waterway to the Mississippi River.
Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park is another gem in the Twin Cities Gateway. Stop in the visitor center and visit the large aquariums of river fish, turtles, toads and more! Afterwards, follow the observation walkway to the dam for panoramic views of the Mississippi River. Bring your fishing equipment and throw a line into the Mississippi River from the fishing deck located on the west side of the dam. Pack a picnic and enjoy lunch with a view at one of the picnic areas. The park is located in the U.S. National Parks Mississippi River Recreation Area. Hike the 5.9 miles of turf trails south of the visitor center, where you can explore the natural area. The trails follow the river downstream and offer gorgeous views of islands and back channels. Look for herons, eagles and other birds on your hike!
If our parks and nature centers have got you hungry for even more nature and wildlife, you’re in luck. In the Twin Cities Gateway, you’re only minutes aware from the Como Park Zoo, located in St. Paul and the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley. You’ll find exotic animals from around the globe at these priceless preserves, and gain a greater appreciation for the natural world.
7401 Main St
Lino Lakes, MN 55014
9750 Egret Blvd NW
Minneapolis, MN 55433