Perched above the Mississippi River, the West Coon Rapids Dam Visitor Center offers an exceptional array of exhibits and material interpreting the river habitat. A highlight of the visitor center is the large aquaria containing river fish, turtles and other local reptiles and amphibians. Come nose to nose with a longnose gar, see if you can spot the eel, and discover what the largest minnow is.
Nature Exploration Area
The nature exploration area next to the visitor center is a natural space created to encourage free play in the outdoors. Kids and adults can explore the forest, build forts, and exercise their creativity.
For great vistas follow the path to the observation walkway on top of the dam. Watch the ospreys high in their tower nest, search for special rocks along the river, fish, hug a 250-year-old oak tree, hunt for frogs in the wetlands, or search for animal signs.
Backpack kits are available, free of charge, for individuals and groups visiting the park. Topics are trees, birds, insects, and the Mississippi River. Kits may include binoculars, fun family activities, identification books, insect nets, etc.
In addition to providing fun and educational programs for school and other groups, Coon Rapids Dam Visitor Center is also host to summer camps.
We rely on the support of volunteers to maintain the high quality programs and operations at our nature centers. If you're interested in becoming an important part of our team of volunteers, please contact us.