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Minnesota Valley Nat'l Wildlife Refuge

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge—Bloomington Education and Visitor Center, American Boulevard East, Bloomington, MN, USA

Hiking is available daily, while the visitor's center is open Fridays and Saturday (10:00am - 4:00pm).


indoor-activities, hike

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is a vast National Wildlife Refuge in Bloomington. 

Located in the middle of urban Bloomington, Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is a 14,000-acre National Wildlife Refuge that is great for families. Even though its location is near the Mall of America, once you're hiking, you'll hardly be able to tell you are so close to one of the largest malls in the United States!

From the parking lot, head to the visitor's center first. Here, families will find small backpacks that kids can borrow from the welcome desk to enhance their experience. Take the backpack with you on the trails to create a uniquely fun and educational experience for kids! In the visitor's center, you will also find an array of interactive exhibits showcasing great information about the local flora and fauna. There is even a space to play bird bingo together, as you watch for birds to come and eat from the feeders. Inside, you will also find a small gift shop and bathrooms. Check the website for updated visitor's center hours, currently, they are only open Fridays and Saturdays, but this can change depending on the season and staffing. Guided tours are also available (check the website for details).

Outside, take in the amazing view of the valley from the viewing area. From this vantage point, you will certainly see how vast the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is. Then, wide trails are perfect for little trekkers who love to run. Not to mention, there is a high potential for wildlife sightings of deer and birds. Trails would be tough with a stroller (there are stairs and steep embankments in from the visitor's center) - babywearing is your best bet here. Outdoor bathrooms are also available.

Afterward, head to Fiddlehead Coffee Co. for a latte and a bite to eat.


Parking Restrooms Good for All Ages Interactive Activities Hiking Admission Free
Thoughtfully captured by:
Antonia Grant
Antonia Grant is a life-long learner and avid adventurer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She loves equipping families with the tools and confidence they need to travel and adventure together. Antonia is also a strong believer in the beauty of multigenerational relationships and travel. Her main adventure buddies are her husband and young daughter. As a family, they love trying new restaurants, hiking, and traveling the world! By day she works at Carleton College, by night she is a Minneapolis ambassador for happyly. She’s always seeking new adventures to write about and share. Connect with Antonia on Instagram @knead.to.roam!
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