This is a view overlooking the large, multifaceted play area (aka Discovery Hollow) of the Tamarack Nature Center located in White Bear Township, Minnesota. Tamarack Nature Center is run by one of our local counties and is a 20 minute drive north from the downtown area. It consists of three main areas: the Waterway area, the Log Play area and a huge vegetable and herb garden. (There is also a large “Garden Kitchen” which I assume they use during the camps and summer programs.)
Here is a sign marking the water way areas. There are two sources of water that feed into the sand beds. One is up higher and the other down lower.
The best part of Tamarack Nature Center is the Waterways. They have a huge sand bar that is fed with water by human operated systems. When the water goes off, one touch and you can turn it back on. It goes for about a minute and so you get to keep turning it back on as the children desire. (My four year old learned how to turn it on so that made things easy.) The water was also REALLY cold which was nice for such a hot day. As you can see, the children were enjoying the water and sand play both viscerally and intellectually, depending on their age and desired play activity.
Here are a few shots of a Dad and his son making a dam in the water area.
In addition to the water and sand area there was a more shaded area with logs and branches that the children could move around to create forts or whatever their imagination desired. I saw a father instructing his young child on the physics of paddling a canoe while sitting on a log with a stick-for-a-paddle in hand!
In general, the park was also just plain beautiful. It sits on a very large piece of undeveloped land. Here’s a shot looking out over the field just adjacent to the play area.
This was another little area. I assume they use it for presentations or for preschool activities and the like.
Not far from the play area the rocks and flowers were a source of attraction as well.
I love the windwill and this view of the park.
Inside the Nature Center itself there was also a large room with live animals (turtles, salamanders, bees). It had a beautiful high ceiling and lots of windows looking out over the meadows and the bird feeders. There was a kids’ corner with books and nature puzzles.
I believe there are also paths to walk and more nature sights to see. I look forward to our next foray into the Tamarack Nature Center! Perhaps in the winter?