Nature is all around you in the Minneapolis park system: From woodlands and prairies to ravines and river bluffs to spectacular vistas and secluded trails, thousands of acres are yours to explore.

Head out on your own, or join a nature program or activity: MPRB offers opportunities for all ages, abilities and interests, and in all seasons.

The links below highlight programs, places and other ways to connect with nature. Or browse all current nature programs and activities with a click of this button:

Browse & Register

Nature Programs for Children

Junior Naturalists

Who: Children ages 6 to 12 years
What: Participants delve into focused topics like ducks, leaves, dragonflies, deer and more – sign up based on your child’s interests.
When/Where:
Tuesday mornings – Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden
Sunday afternoons – North Mississippi Regional Park

Browse & Register

Nature Nuts

Who: Four- and five-year-olds
What: Mostly outdoors play sessions with activities geared to participants and loosely based around themes such as plants, insects, water, reptiles, seasons, farms. Your child will join a current preschool class for the session.
When/Where: Weekly, year-round – various neighborhood parks and North Mississippi Regional Park

Browse & Register

Nature Programs and Activities for Families and Adults

Bird-Watching Programs

Who: While anyone is welcome to participate in bird watching programs, some programs are geared towards more ambitious birders while others are geared towards families and those wanting to learn about bird watching in a more casual setting. Please read the program descriptions for more information about individual programs.
What: Browse a range of bird watching programs that include early birders, beginning birding, bird watching: watchful Wednesdays and more.
Where/When: Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, North Mississippi Regional Park, and other Minneapolis Regional Parks

Browse & Register

Canoeing (in season)

Who: Ages 2 and up; children under 12 should have a guardian present
What: Join us for scheduled or drop-in opportunities to get out on the water.
Where/When: Various locations; typically June to August

Browse & Register

Nature Connections (Adults 55+)

Who: Adults 55 and over
What: Join an MPRB Naturalist for weekly outdoor walking groups and indoor nature-related activities at select recreation centers. Bring your outdoor shoes for a nature-focused walking group, or get your nature fix indoors with floral arranging, birding from the indoors and more. Click on “Register” below for more information
Where/When: Tuesdays and Thursdays – Loring Park
Thursday and Fridays – Matthews Park

Browse & Register

Nature Nuts: Nature Play Group

Who: Toddlers and preschoolers WITH a caregiver
What: Outdoor fun for young ones and their caregivers, based around animal, plant and seasonal themes.
When/Where:
Wednesdays – North Mississippi Regional Park
Various days – neighborhood parks

Browse & Register

Nature Tots

Who: Toddlers and preschoolers WITH a caregiver
What: Single sessions focus on topics like ducks, leaves, dragonflies, deer and more. Sign up based on your child’s interests.
When/Where:
Tuesday mornings – Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden
Sunday afternoons – North Mississippi Regional Park

Browse & Register

Snowshoeing (in season)

Who: Programs for ages 5 and up; ages 8 and up; and adults only.
What: Join us for scheduled or drop-in opportunities to get the basics on snowshoeing, then get outside to enjoy the winter. Bring neighbors, friends and kids; we provide the snowshoes!
Where/When: Various locations; typically late December to early March

Get more information on snowshoeing snowshoeing trails and rentals in Minneapolis parks.

Browse & Register

Other Hikes and Guided Experiences

Who: Most programs are for ages 18 and up, but a few include young people ages 8 or 12 and up.
What: Browse a range of programs that include forest bathing, campfires and phenology, plus a book club, date nights and more.
Where/When: various locations and dates

Browse & Register

Explore by Place

Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary – Woodland, wetland and prairie landscapes come together at the oldest public wildflower garden in the U.S. (est. 1907), located in Theodore Wirth Regional Park.

JD Rivers’ Children’s Garden – In season, everyone is welcome to visit this one-acre garden in Theodore Wirth Regional Park, which is devoted helping youth discover the joys of growing, preparing and eating healthy food. The garden is accessible June through August; hours vary depending on staffing and programming.

Minnehaha Creek Park – This highlight of the Minneapolis park system connects to Mississippi River Gorge Regional Park via the Winchell Trail and Historic Fort Snelling at Bdote via the Minnesota Valley State Trail

Mississippi Gorge Regional Park – Hardwood forests, steep bluffs and flat bottom-lands give this park a semi-wild character.

Nokomis Naturescape Garden – Planted in the late 1990s, an array of native grasses and wildflowers thrive on four acres northeast of Lake Nokomis.

North Mississippi Regional Park & Carl W. Kroening Interpretive Center – This spectacular site includes 67 acres of woods and prairie along the Mississippi River; the center hosts an array of programs for all ages and interests.

Quaking Bog – Restoration began in the 1980s at this unique, five-acre site in Theodore Wirth Regional Park.

Roberts Bird Sanctuary – Designated in 1936, the sanctuary comprises 31 acres of woodlands and wetlands north of Lake Harriet.

Special Events

Participate in annual events that celebrate nature and the environment. Learn about volunteer opportunities.

Earth Day Clean Up

The annual Earth Day Cleanup has become the biggest community service project in the city.

Arbor Day

Minneapolis has celebrated Arbor Day for more than a century, reminding the community about the importance of urban forestry, trees and tree care.

Pollinator Party

Buzz over to the Pollinator Party, a celebration of the life and work of honey bees and wild bees.

Monarch Festival

The annual Monarch Festival celebrates the monarch butterfly’s amazing migration from Minnesota to Mexico and raises awareness of the need to provide and protect monarch habitat.

National Get Outdoors Day

Canoes! Archery! Climbing! Fishing! And so much more … Everyone is welcome to try out an awesome variety of outdoor activities at this free annual festival.


Recreation Fee Assistance

Minneapolis residents who cannot afford instructional fees because of economic need may apply for fee assistance through the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Fee Assistance Program.

Browse All Nature Programs

Use ActiveNet to browse and register for Environmental Programs, or check with a Recreation Center near you.

Browse & Register