Located in Maplewood Minnesota, the Maplewood Nature Center is a great option for spending sometime in the great outdoors. Maplewood is only 15miles from Minneapolis, but at the nature center you definitely feel like you are out of the cities!

The nature center is fairly small, offering 1.5 miles of hiking trails, but that is part of what makes it so great especially if you have smaller children. It is easy to explore the whole center in just an hour or two. Inside the visitor center you will find great displays and even a couple live animals. Make sure to stop in and check it out. You can also pick up a great guide to the hiking trail. The trail has Interpretive Posts along the way.  My kids loved finding the each post and checking it off the list.

My favorite part of the hike is the boardwalk that crosses the lake. The lily pads were so thick and flowering when we visited in late July. My kids LOVED counting the flowers we found and seeing the giant lily pad leaves up close. You also get an up close look at the cattails and other water loving plant species.

My kids’ favorite part of the Maplewood Nature Center was easily the nature play area that they have. It’s a good one! They get to climb on boulders, giant logs, and the coolest thing is the xylophone made from logs that the kids get to bang out a tune on.

They also offer various programs throughout the year and options for events such as birthday parties. Find more information on their programs and events here.