Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the safety of participants, guests, and staff, we have had to make a tough decision about summer programming at Wood Lake Nature Center. We have carefully evaluated the program with our Public Safety and Health team and have sought the safest option for all. All Wood Lake summer programs have been cancelled through August, this includes summer camps, Saturday and Sunday Specials, and Adult/Child programs.
The park and trails are open, including the new boardwalk! The building remains closed to the public until further notice.
Though not providing traditional programming this summer, the Wood Lake staff will be offering virtual programming as part of the Richfield Recreation Department’s virtual program. The virtual programming can be found at www.richfieldmn.gov/virtualrecreation, with updates throughout the summer. The Wood Lake online segments will be posted Monday and Wednesday and will include puppet shows, creature features, story time, and a science section.
6710 Lake Shore Drive (street map)
Richfield, MN 55423
Not Currently Open
Daily: Sunrise to 11:00 pm
To maintain the park and support its plant and animal life, please observe the following guidelines:
-Stay on the trail
-Observe park signs
-No picking of plants
Friends of Wood Lake (FOWL) Presentation
You're invited to watch this year's stay-at-home version of the Friends of Wood Lake Fundraising Dinner presentation! Check out the video below by Nature Center Manager Paul Smithson, with introductions from Recreation Services Director Amy Markle and KARE-11's Sven Sundgaard.
| Friends of Wood Lake Donations
Now, more than ever Wood Lake needs your support! If you are able, consider a donation to the Friends of Wood Lake. The funds donated help us provide a variety of critical needs at Wood Lake including environmental education programs, program equipment, and habitat work.
Programs & Events
Wood Lake has a variety of programs and events throughout the year for people of any age. All programming has been cancelled through August. View the Richfield Virtual Recreation page to see what online programs are being offered this summer.
Urban Wildland Virtual Races
This year's Urban Wildland is a virtual race. Run a 5K, 10K, 10 Mile, or Half Marathon and record your time online. Receive a runner shirt, medal, and customized runner bib to print. To register, visit www.urbanwildland.com.
Nature Exploration Backpacks Available for checkout!
Wood Lake has six nature exploration backpacks that families can check out for free: two birding packs, two forest exploration packs, and two insect packs. The packs have handy tools and information for doing some independent exploring. Ask at the front desk during regular business hours (M-Sat, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Sun, Noon to 5:00 pm). Backpack photos
Since 1971, the K-6 Richfield Public School students have visited Wood Lake three times a year as part of their regular science curriculum This partnership is made possible by the annual Urban Wildland Half Marathon & 5K.
Wood Lake Nature Center is a 150-acre natural area dedicated to environmental education, wildlife observation, and outdoor recreation. Wood Lake staff offices at the 4,000 square-foot main building, which features many educational exhibits (see hours above). The park features several wildlife viewing areas, a 100-seat amphitheater, a picnic ground, and three miles of trails and boardwalks. The trails are either blacktop or crushed limestone and most are wheelchair accessible during summer months. To preserve the natural habitat, no pets, bikes or rollerblades are allowed.
Wood Lake has over two miles of crushed limestone walking trails, floating boardwalk, and groomed cross-country ski trails (weather-permitting). See Wood Lake's trail map for distances and more information. The trails wind through three different habitats: cattail marsh, mixed lowland forest, and restored prairie. For a list of birds you may see at Wood Lake, refer to our birding brochure.
Wood Lake's mission is to provide the public with high-quality experiences in recreation and environmental education programs, act as a teacher/naturalist training facility and provide a high quality, diverse freshwater marsh-oriented nature facility for those programs and for use by individuals and groups seeking unprogrammed natural experiences.
Wood Lake was once a recreational lake, surrounded by homes, but much of its water drained in the 1950's. In 1969, the Richfield City Council approved the conversion of Wood Lake into a nature center.
In 1991, Friends of Wood Lake (FOWL) was formed as an advocacy and fundraising group.
In 2018, Wood Lake Naturalists provided programming to 19,921 people. That represents 24,740 hours of program time. Approximately 72,000 visitors a year visit Wood Lake for the trails and overall nature experience.