We could stay cozy inside, comfy in our sweatpants; swaddled in blankets. We could sit around, reading books and sipping hot beverages, before switching to binging screens and eating snacks.
We could do that. It sounds great, actually. I absolutely love that life. Why would we do anything else?
So we can get outside and explore! The healing power of nature and all that. I love that life, too. Really. Even if it’s a bit hard to get motivated in the colder months. My kids love it, too, no matter their protests when I suggest that we abandon our sweatpants for snow pants. Sometimes, their whining is enough to make me reconsider my plans, but when we get outside everything changes. We step out of the car at Springbrook Nature Center, no longer swaddled in blankets but in layers of winter gear, and find four different types of animal tracks before we even leave the parking lot. They climb snow-covered trees and slip-slide along a frozen creek. They join a giant snowball fight and build little snowpeople.
And then we go back to our couches and snacks and live our very best hibernation life. #balance
Springbrook Nature Center is truly a year-round family favorite of ours. Every season is perfect. We’ve been sung to by a chorus of toads in the summer, taken our family photos in the goldenest of golden hours of autumn, and slid down frozen hillsides in the winter. It’s enough to make you fall back in love with this beautiful state we live in, no matter the temperature outside.
100 85th Ave NW – Fridley, MN
November to March: 8:00 am – 4:30 pm, daily
April to October: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, daily
None! Springbrook is free and open to the public.
Springbrook features a few different hiking trails, from about a 1/2 mile to 1 1/2 miles in length.
There’s a dedicated play area just inside the nature center. In the summer, there’s a great water feature for kids to create rivers, dams, and, most of all, MUD! There are also lots of things to climb, balance on, hide in, and build with.
The indoor area features live animals in tanks, as well as several exhibits detailing Springbrook’s history and the type of animals that live in the area. You can also peer out the large glass windows to the bird feeders outside, where wild turkeys often join the songbirds for a snack.
Springbrook features events throughout the year. A couple of our favorites are Pumpkin Night in October, and Winterfest in January! They also offer summer camps and various types of children’s programming throughout the year.
Good to Know Before You Go
- Parking is free and plentiful in the adjacent parking lot.
- Bathrooms are located just inside the Interpretive Center.
- Snowshoe rentals are available in the winter.
- Feeding the animals is prohibited.
- Pets, bikes, and other wheeled transportation are not allowed on the trails. (Wheelchairs, strollers, and wagons are welcome!)