Nature Education

Three Rivers is home to hundreds of species of animals indigenous to the native woods, prairies and wetlands. If you want to get up close and personal or learn a little more, try visiting one of the nature centers. Learn about the unique characteristics of different wildlife species, conduct your own science experiments or even pet a wild animal.

upcoming events

Ongoing | Richardson & Mississippi Gateway
Explore nature through hands-on activities! Programs are entirely outdoors.

April 24 & 25 | Nature Centers
This spring, we are turning the nature centers inside out! Each weekend features different outdoor activities that may include meeting live animals, participating in nature challenges and checking out free exploration materials.

All Programs and Events

See all upcoming nature education programs and events.

Nature Centers Closed

Nature centers and program centers are closed to the general public to accommodate summer camp and programming needs. See all of our operational updates.

Through social media, we're bringing the outdoors to you! Tune in to explore nature, meet farm animals, try new art projects and more.

Learn about the outdoors

Our staff of naturalists is dedicated to sharing their knowledge and their love of nature, and to teaching the importance of environmental stewardship to visitors. Educational opportunities abound, from seasonal programs and events to customized group adventures.

Our Natural Resources division is responsible for monitoring and maintaining the health of the habitats and wildlife populations in our parks. Come explore on your own, or take part in one of our Naturalist-led classes. It’s a fun, hands-on learning experience for the whole family.

Nature School is an outdoor-based preschool program led by Three Rivers at Mississippi Gateway Regional Park for children ages 4-6.

In Three Rivers, having fun doesn't have to cost a thing. From free parking to free activities to free programs and events, find your adventure!

Birding in the Parks

Hundreds of bird species have been spotted in Three Rivers parks. Use this checklist and observation guide to record your sightings!

Help out your favorite nature center by volunteering at summer camp, watching over the resident animals or being part of the Naturalist Youth Leader Program.

We rely on the support of volunteers to maintain the high-quality programs and operations at our nature centers. You can become an important part of this effort.

The Wandering Naturalist

Episodes 83-85: Adapted Nature

At Three Rivers, we want everybody, of any ability, to participate in our programs and enjoy experiences outdoors. Learn about our adapted programming, our partnership with the Autism Society of Minnesota, and how we make our parks accessible.

The Three Rivers Blog

Species Spotlight: Elderberries

By: Paul Kortebein

April 08, 2021

Elderberries are some of the most widespread plants in our area. Learn all about the two varieties of elderberries that grow in Minnesota, where to find them, how to tell them apart and more.

Phenology: Nature's Calendar

By: Ashley Smith

March 22, 2021

American robins, red-winged blackbirds, the call of wood frogs — signs of spring are upon us and we are taking note! Learn what it means to notice these changes of the season and how phenology helps local and global communities.

February 03, 2021

Watch a video to learn about the elusive mating ritual of the American woodcock and get tips on how you can experience this seasonal display of courtship this spring.

Other things to do

Art Education

Art Education

a woman making pottery on a wheel.

Silverwood Park offers nature-inspired art programs for children and adults.

Campground

Camping

Camping tent and fire

Fall asleep to the sound of crickets and wake up with the sunrise. Camping is the stuff memories are made of and at Three Rivers, you’ll find all the fun of camping without the long car trip. Campgrounds are located at Baker, Carver, and Cleary Lake

Educational Farming

Educational Farming

A young girl waters plants in a greenhouse.

At Three Rivers, those who might not have an opportunity to see the ins and outs of a real working farm get a chance to learn where their food comes from, meet some animals and explore farm life at Gale Woods.

Geocaching

Geocaching

Two girls using a GPS unit

Geocaching is a family-friendly, high-tech treasure hunt that combines respect for the environment with a sense of adventure.

History Education

History Exploration

a yellow brick farmhouse with a memorial boulder in front of it.

Have you ever wondered what life was like for the people who lived here before us? Step back in time and discover their stories through the historic sites of the Grimm Farm, Noerenberg Gardens, the Historic Pierre Bottineau House, and The Landing. Evidence within the parks tells how people have lived, worked and played here for over 12,000 years.

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing

four people snowshoeing on a sunny day.

Three Rivers offers trails of varying difficulty for snowshoers of all skill levels. It’s a great way for the entire family to take in the scenes of a Minnesota winter. Please note: Snowshoeing is not permitted on cross-country ski trails unless otherwise noted.

NEW THIS SEASON: Snowshoe rentals require advanced reservations. Availability will vary by location.