Of all the free places for families in the Twin Cities, Tamarack Nature Center stands out as a fun, quirky, educational, creative and inspiring destination, all in one.
Tamarack Nature Center is located in White Bear Township, in the northeast metro area.
My kids have played here since they were little, as there’s a lot to climb, explore and experience.
Start with the nature center building, where you’ll find fish, turtles, snakes, frogs and salamanders. Plus pick up a free scavenger hunt!
Check out their schedule as they have many programs year-round. On select Saturday mornings, they have FREE Drop-In Discovery Stations where you can get up-close visits with live animals and enjoy other activities.
Then walk the short path to the Discovery Hollow Nature Play Area where kids can climb cliffs, build a tree fort, and explore a hobbit house!
You can even go in the hobbit house and pretend to be a hobbit.
The play area has various “caves” to explore, cliffs and stairs, and paths.
Kids can run wild in nature here!
There’s even a garden where kids can help grow plants, weed and water.
All of this is free to explore, though donations are always welcome.
There are 6 trails which includes several shorter ones:
Dragonfly Loop = 4.0km/2.5mi
Acorn Loop= 2.0km/1.25mi
Deer Pass Trail = 1.30 km/.80mi
Bluestem Trail Paved Loop = .80km/.5mi
Turtle Pass Trail = .2km/.12mi
Chickadee Trail Loop = .68km/.42mi
There’s more to explore including day camps, volunteer opportunities and more. There are opportunities year-round. You can ski and snowshoe in the winter, too!
5287 Otter Lake Rd
White Bear Township