Plan Your Visit

Looking for birds 512x358px

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge has two visitor and education centers, access areas to more than 14,000 acres of land dedicated to wildlife and habitat conservation, as well as wildlife-dependent recreation. To get a glimpse of the multiple habitats within the Refuge, visit either center or any of the Refuge units. Office and Visitor Center hours of operation vary seasonally.

  • Office and Visitor Center Hours

    Bloomington VC

    The lands and waters of the Refuge are open for public enjoyment, however offices and visitor centers will remain closed. Click here for more information.  Scroll down for information and links for information about visitor activities and specific visitor center information.

  • Know before you go

    Officer and young person fishing

    Review the Rules and Regulations, and be aware of trail closures. Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Wetland Management District lands are open from sunrise to sunset daily.  Restrooms are available at our visitor centers during open hours.  Please plan on packing out what you bring in, including your recycling, trash, pet waste, and any other items you bring along; trash receptacles are located only at our Education and Visitor Centers.  Pets must be leashed at all times.

    Offices and our Education and Visitor Centers are CLOSED on all federal holidays. Hours are subject to change due to weather-related or other periodic closures. Weather-related closures are listed on our Facebook page.

  • Trails Information

    Boardwalk with sunshine

    Trail conditions on the Refuge vary throughout the year. Be prepared, as you may encounter changes in trail conditions while hiking, including periodic flooding, wet or muddy areas, thorny vegetation, and rough ground. Bug spray, sunscreen, and drinking water are recommended during warm weather. Trails are ungroomed in winter and may be snow-packed and icy. To protect wildlife, please stay on designated trails and keep pets leashed at all times while visiting the Refuge.

     

     

  • What can I do there?

    Two people bicycling by FWS

    Plan a walk, find trails to bike, grab a fishing pole, or try your hand at wildlife photography!  There are many things to do at your National Wildlife Refuge, and trails and grounds are open sunrise to sunset daily.  

    Learn More
  • Just For Kids

    Technology outdoors

    We have all sorts of fun activities for kids! You can find distance learning support (grades K-5), discover printable activities, download our Outdoors Explorer activity booklet, read about our free equipment lending programs, and learn about our new Nature Play Area at Old Cedar Avenue Bridge!

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  • Bloomington Education and Visitor Center

    Bloomington Visitor Center by Gina Hatch

    Just moments from the Mall of America and MSP International Airport, and a short walk from the Metro Transit light rail Blue Line, the Bloomington Education and Visitor Center is located atop a bluff within view of the Minnesota River valley.  The visitor center also serves as the headquarters office for the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Wetland Management District.

    Hours of Operation:

    Walk-up Information Desk:   

    • May 2021 Hours: Saturdays, 12-4 p.m. 
    • June 2021 Hours: Friday, Saturdays, Sundays, 12-4 p.m. 

    Contact information:

    • Address: 3815 American Boulevard East, Bloomington, Minnesota 55425
    • Phone: 952-854-5900; TTY: 1-800-877-8339
    • Email: MinnesotaValley@fws.gov

    Follow the link below for public transit information and driving directions

     

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  • Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center

    Rapids Lake Visitor Center courtesy Minnesota Valley Trust

    Located among restored tallgrass prairie and oak savannas, the Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center serves as a vital part of our mission to provide wildlife and habitat education.  The Rapids Lake unit of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge also serves as home office to our maintenance and wildland fire crews.

    Hours of Operation:

    Walk-up Information Desk:   

    • June 2021 Hours: Friday, Saturdays, Sundays, 12-4 p.m. 

    Contact information:

    • Address: 15865 Rapids Lake Road, Carver, Minnesota 55315 
    • Phone: 952-361-4500; TTY: 1-800-877-8339 
    • Email: MinnesotaValley@fws.gov 

    Follow the link for public transit information and driving directions

     

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  • Minnesota Valley Wetland Management District

    Duck hunter at sunrise by USFWS

    Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge also manages a 14-county Wetland Management District (WMD), stretching from Blue Earth County to Chisago County.  Within the WMD, over 2,600 acres of land have been designated as Waterfowl Production Area (WPA) lands, set aside for the production of waterfowl and other wetland and prairie dependent species.  WPAs, like portions of the Refuge, are open to the public.  Click here to see maps of these public lands.  In addition, over 2,000 acres of wetlands and grasslands are protected through permanent easements.

     

    • Office Hours: Tuesday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
    • Address: 15865 Rapids Lake Drive, Carver, Minnesota 55315
    • Phone: 952-361-4500; TTY: 1-800-877-8339
    • Email: MinnesotaValley@fws.gov

     

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