MN state park events to keep you active in November


Winter is fast approaching. The cold weather has already set in. Many of us can already feel the cabin fever start to set in, and, with the weather often less than inviting, it’s not always easy to think of ways to get out of the house and enjoy nature’s bounty.

Thankfully, the Minnesota State Park System cares not about cooling temperatures: Their calendar is stocked full of evens throughout the coming month.

Note: A vehicle permit is required to visit state parks. Purchase a vehicle permit before you go and get a full year of unlimited visits to all Minnesota’s state parks and recreation areas.

Saturday November 11th

Tundra Swan Migration(Family)
Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge, Winona
Cost: $25
Time: 9AM to 3PM
Take a bus tour to see the impressive and fascinating migration that takes place in side the refuge of the Tundra Swan. Lunch is included!

To register, or for more information, please call the Upper Midwest Wildlife Refuge at (507) 454-7351.


Knots to Live By
Afton State Park
Cost: FREE
Time: 9:30AM to 11AM
Do you enjoy sitting in front of a fireplace and drinking cider? Here’s a great opportunity to do just that while learning how to tie different knots. Learn what knot to use when tying up a tarp and the best way to tie it, and other basic knots that can come in handy more often than you’d think. To top it off you’ll even get to bring home a “survival” bracelet from the event.

To register, call (651) 231-6968.

For more information, please call Linda Radimecky at (651) 231-6968, or email at


Geocaching Through MN State Park History
Location: Fort Snelling State Park

Cost: FREE
Time: 10AM to 12PM
If you love history, and learning about it outdoors, this event is for you. Through geocaching on a scavenger hunt, you will explore the history of Fort Snelling State Park (where the Twin Cities began).  All equipment and instruction is provided, just make sure you dress appropriately for the weather.

Space is limited and registration is required so please call (612) 725-2724 or email

Saturday November 18th

Winter Bird I.D.
Location: Jay Cooke State Park
Cost: FREE
Time: 1PM to 3PM
Do you ever wonder what birds are feeding outside your window, or roosting in the branches of your backyard tree? This event will help you identify some of our more common winter birds here in Minnesota. Meet at the River Inn Interpretive Center to begin your education. Binoculars are available if needed.

Pre-register by calling Jay Cooke State Park at (218) 673-7006.


Location: Fort Snelling State Park

Cost: FREE
Time: 1PM to 2PM
Learn what it takes to be able to sleep through all winter in Minnesota, and the special adaptions animals to snooze away the season. Meet at the Thomas C. Savage Visitor Center and remember to dress for the weather. No registration is required.

For questions or more information call (612) 279-3550.


Abandoned Homes
Location: Fort Snelling State Park

Cost: FREE
Time: 1PM to 2PM
Search the park with a Naturalist for the vacated homes that animals use during the summer months. Learn how the homes are constructed and furnished by birds and other animals. Meet at the Thomas C. Savage Visitor Center and remember, again and as always, to dress for the weather. No registration is required.

For questions or more information please call (612) 279-3550.

Friday November 24th

Free Park Friday
Cost: FREE
Time: All day long
A great opportunity for you and friends or family to get outside and explore all that the parks have to offer.  From camping overnight, to hiking trails, or just sitting and enjoying the scenery, there is tons to do across Minnesota’s robust park system.


Family Turkey Trek
Location: Blue Mounds State Park

Cost: FREE
Time: 3PM to 4PM
After filling up on Thanksgiving food and starting to question why you ate so much, head on over and join a Naturalist for a 1-mile hike to the upper cliff line of the historic quarry.  You can then decide to continue hiking down the trail, or head back to your vehicle if you’ve had enough. Take your time and enjoy the outdoors. You’ll also learn about wild turkeys (as the name implies) and their unique history in Minnesota.

Call (507) 283-6050, or send email to for more information.


Feeling Stuffed? Step it Off Hike
Location: Interstate State Park

Cost: FREE
Time: 1PM to 2PM
Full to the brim on holiday eats? Get out of your food coma and build some energy on a 1-mile hike with a Naturalist up the historic Railroad Trail. On the mostly flat trail, you can search for signs of fall and winter as you make your way. Meet at the Taylor’s Falls Community Center and make a day of it by going to the town’s Lighting Festival events before and/or after.

For more information contact Jenni Webster at (651) 465-5711 x 225, or by email at

(For more general information on upcoming park events, click HERE.)