Public Programs

The Prairie in the Fall

Photo by Scott Sharkey

Registration is required for events marked with an asterisk (*). Programs and events may be cancelled due to inclement weather. For more information, call 952-854-5900.  

  • Visitor Center Hours

    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center hours are: 

    • Current - Memorial Day: Tuesday - Sunday from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.  
    • After Memorial Day: 7 days a week from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

    Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center hours are:

    • Labor Day - Memorial Day: Tuesday - Friday 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
    • Memorial Day - Labor Day: Tuesday - Sunday 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

    Both visitor and education centers are closed on all federal holidays, as well as Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.  Hours are subject to change due to weather-related or other periodic closures.  Federal holidays include:

    • New Year's Day (January 1)
    • Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Third Monday in January)
    • Birthday of George Washington (Third Monday in February)
    • Memorial Day (Last Monday in May)
    • Independence Day (July 4)
    • Labor Day (First Monday in September)
    • Columbus/Indigenous People's Day (Second Monday in October)
    • Veteran's Day (November 11)
    • Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday in November)
    • Christmas Day (December 25)


  • Outings: Bird Walks at Bass Ponds

    Multiple Dates:

    Monday, January 28; Sunday, March 3; Saturday, March 16; Monday, March 18; Saturday, March 23; Sunday, March 31; Monday, April 1; Monday, April 29; Sunday, May 5; Saturday, June 1

    8:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
    Bass Ponds Trails at the Long Meadow Lake Unit
    2501 86th Street East, Bloomington, MN 55425

    Join us for a bird walk at the Bass Ponds trails of the Long Meadow Lake unit of Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Learn about some of the 220 species that stop during their migration south! 

    Birders of all levels are welcome to join! Bring along binoculars, and a field guide if you have one. Please dress for the weather, as the walks will be outside for the duration.

    Meet at the Bass Ponds trailhead.

    Walks led by Refuge volunteer naturalist Craig Mandel

  • *Workshops: Bird Language

    Multiple dates (NOTE: Date changes in February from the first Saturday to the first Sunday): 

    Sunday, February 3; Sunday, March 3; Sunday, April 7

    9:15 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center, Classroom A
    3815 American Blvd. East, Bloomington, MN  

    Want to learn more about birds and their behavior?  Wonder what they're chirping about, or why they suddenly fall silent?  Join Volunteer Refuge Naturalists Jonathon Poppele and Donnie Phyllaier for this special workshop series to learn more!

    Workshops meet at the Bloomington Education and Visitor Center indoors for discussion, and will head outside for observations and more learning.  Bring a notebook, pencils, and something to sit on outdoors.  Be sure to dress for the weather!

    Registration encouraged via, or via Facebook.

  • Events: Lake Harriet Kite Festival

    Saturday, January 22, 2019

    10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. 
    Lake Harriet Park
    4135 W Lake Harriet Parkway, Minneapolis 55409 

    Ever wish you could soar like a Bald Eagle or flutter in the sky on Monarch wings? Well you almost can...with help from our new refuge kites! Join refuge staff, refuge volunteers and other enthusiasts on Lake Harriet to fly a kite. Try out our kites or bring your own! This is a FREE event and parking is also FREE.

  • Workshops: Tech Nature

    Multiple dates:

    Saturday, February 16, 2019

    1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
    Bloomington Education and Visitor Center, Auditorium
    3815 American Blvd. East, Bloomington, MN

    There are a multitude of apps available for smartphones and tablets specifically created for enjoying nature or engaging in citizen science projects.  If you're wondering what they are, and how to use them, join U.S. Park Service Park Ranger, and local bird expert "Birdchick", Sharon Stiteler to learn together.  

    Bring your smartphone or tablet, and dress for venturing outdoors to try things out.

    Registration encouraged via Facebook: