Urban Wildlife at Wood Lake Nature Center
An 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. Call 612-861-9365 or visit the website for more information.