Eastman Nature Center

Nestled in the sugar maple floodplain forest of Rush Creek, this is a great place to begin an outdoor journey. Walk across the floating boardwalk, explore the miles of hiking and snowshoeing trails for a bit of exercise or visit the nature center. Hop on the bike trails of Elm Creek Park Reserve or sit quietly and watch the creek flow by. Visitors may see trumpeter swans, wild turkey, bluebirds, dragonflies and abundant native wildflowers.

Main Number:

763-694-7700
13351 Elm Creek Road
Dayton, MN 55369

Monday–Saturday: 9 AM–5 PM

Sunday: 12–5 PM

Elm Creek PDF Maps

Upcoming Events

Big Year of Bugs: Programs & Events

April–Sept. | Multiple Locations
Celebrate bugs with us with programs and events throughout Three Rivers!

All Programs & Events

See all upcoming programs and events at Eastman. 

Nearly all of our program offerings can be adapted or modified. Please call 763-559-9000 (for relay services dial 711) or email access@ThreeRiversParks.org to request free modifications and learn about available options. 

Become a Junior Naturalist

20 pages of activities to help you explore

Learn about nature all around you with the Junior Naturalist Activity Book! Pick up a free copy at this location or print it out. Available in both English and Spanish.

Discover the world of birding in the Young Birders Club! Learn all about native birds, and attend programs and events at nature centers in Three Rivers. Open to ages 9-12.

More About Eastman

Eastman Nature Center is named after Whitney H. Eastman, an avid birdwatcher and advocate of environmental education. The nature center has something for everyone. Floor-to-ceiling windows entice visitors to do some indoor birdwatching. (Use this checklist and guide to record your observations!) Children enjoy hands-on activities, dressing up in costumes and putting on a puppet show in our puppet tree. Live reptiles and amphibians add to the rotating interpretive displays throughout the building. The building also has a quiet reading room, a screened in and open air deck, large classrooms and an after-hours restroom. 

Opportunities to enhance your experience along the trails are available through trail guide sheets, exploration kits and interpretive signs. Just down the trail, let your children play "wild" in the nature exploration area. Kids can dig, climb, make a fort or dam and engage their imaginations, while adults play along or observe nearby.

Groups

The professional naturalists at Eastman Nature Center offer outdoor education programs for schools, scout troops, senior centers, homeschools and other organized groups.

Virtual Tour

Woodland restoration project

Three Rivers Park District will begin a woodland/savanna restoration project in the northeastern part of Elm Creek Park Reserve in the winter of 2024. The multi-phase project will continue through June of 2026.

The project will restore 42 acres of oak woods. The first phase will involve the removal of buckthorn and other small trees within the project area. This will be accomplished by a contractor using forestry mowers and hand cutting. Large mature trees will be protected. The second phase will involve a herbicide treatment to control re-sprouts of invasive species, and the third phase will be a seeding of native plants.

Funding for the project is provided by a Conservation Partners Legacy Grant made possible by Minnesota’s Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, as well as funding from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Rooms in the Eastman Nature Center can be rented to host meetings, retreats, family gatherings, birthdays, small weddings and receptions, and other events.

Wild Birthday Parties are offered year-round and are appropriate for children age four and older. Nature-based topics range from pond insects to birds, and snowshoeing to live animals. 

Join other teens in the Naturalist Youth Leader Program or help care for the animals that live at Eastman. Three Rivers offers several volunteer and internship opportunities in the parks.

Volunteering

We rely on the support of volunteers to maintain the high quality programs and operations at our nature centers.

Give to Eastman

Love Eastman Nature Center? Consider supporting its outdoor education programs, displays and animal care with a donation

The Wandering Naturalist

Episodes 204–206: Hidden Depth

Dive with Angela and Brandon and explore the plants that call the lakes, ponds and rivers of Minnesota home. Learn about the different types of native plant species, how Three Rivers monitors and manages aquatic plants, and the current control methods being used to deal with invasive aquatic species.  

Related Blog Posts

February 06, 2024

Join us throughout the year to learn more about the insect world and what makes these creatures fascinating and awe-inspiring.

May 02, 2023

Learn how outdoor recreation has helped nurture healing in victims of gun violence in this Q&A with Farji Shaheer, founder and director of Three Rivers’ partner organization Innovative SOULutions.

January 05, 2022

We’re all about birds in 2022! Learn why Three Rivers is celebrating these important creatures throughout the year and how you can join in.

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