Urban Wildlife at Wood Lake Nature Center

By Explore Minnesota

Wood Lake Nature CenterAn oasis can be found near the heart of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Wood Lake Nature Center is a 150-acre preserve with diverse natural habitats including forest, restored prairie and a cattail marsh. Established by the city of Richfield, Wood Lake was one of the Twin Cities' first nature centers. Though it is surrounded by urban activity, this special spot attracts plenty of wildlife.

The center is a great birding destination, with migrating warblers, vireos, flycatchers and sparrows. Waterfowl include wood ducks, hooded mergansers and blue-winged teal. Visitors can see great blue and green herons and hear owls, swallows and bluebirds. Other Wood Lake wildlife includes deer, foxes, turtles and butterflies. Three miles of trails and boardwalks provide views of flora and fauna. In contrast to most urban parks, Wood Lake has no bikes, Rollerblades or pets, a policy that preserves the park's natural habitats.

The center has a wildlife observation shelter, picnic area, amphitheater, and an interpretive building featuring animals, exhibits and events. Staff naturalists lead frequent programs on the center's habitats and wildlife, and several classes are offered in the summer. Wood Lake Nature Center is open every day.