Miles of trails are open to the public at no charge from sunup to sundown for you to explore prairies, woodlands, and wetlands. The Main Office is located on the Main Property in West St. Paul. It is open 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The office is closed on major holidays, but trails remain open for hiking year-round.
Yes, if your group has less than 7 people you are welcome to explore the grounds. All pre-arranged or organized groups of 7 or more people (including children) must call in advance to request permission for use of outdoor facilities and spaces. Certain fees may apply. Please call 651-455-4531 to schedule your visit. Dodge Nature Center is a carry-in, carry-out facility. Please keep the grounds clean and free of debris by taking with you what you brought.
If you are interested in hosting a birthday party or event at Dodge, please see the rentals page.
You are welcome to bring in food to eat while you are exploring Dodge, but Dodge does not have food available for purchase onsite. Please keep food away from the barn and pasture areas. Dodge Nature Center is a carry-in, carry-out, zero waste facility. Please keep the grounds clean and free of debris by taking with you what you brought.
Local wildlife (turkeys, raccoons, turtles, deer and more) live at the nature center. Resident farm animals and raptors can be viewed at our Main Property. Please keep your hands out of animal pens and stay outside of pasture fences. Dodge offers a variety of nature programs year-round for you to meet and learn more about the animal ambassadors.
Dodge’s barn is only open for educational events and programs. Check out the upcoming activities calendar to register for a public program.
If you’re visiting Dodge, parking is available at the Main Office as well as the Farm Education entrance. These lots can be found at Entrance 1 and 3 on the Main Property map.
Bicycles are not allowed on Dodge Nature Center trails. Bikers please stay on the River to River Greenway County Bike Trail, found along the Main Property’s southern border.
The Lilly Property is the best Dodge location to cross country ski or snowshoe. While we do not create ski trails, guests are invited (and encouraged) to create their own. You are welcome to do this activity at any of the Dodge properties (including Shepard Farm, once the trails open to the public in the near future). Dodge does not rent skis or snowshoes.
At Dodge, we operate in many weather conditions. Events and programs will go on, rain or shine! Because Dodge’s buildings are open by appointment only, we do not encourage hiking on the trails when there is a risk of severe weather.
In the case of severe inclement weather, Dodge Nature Center and Dodge Nature Preschool follow the closing guidelines of School District 197. Should District 197 close due to snow or other severe weather, Dodge Nature Center and Dodge Nature Preschool will close programs, classes, and offices. Should inclement weather fall on a day when District 197 is not in session (such as a Saturday), Dodge Nature Center staff will communicate changes to program and event participants.
For the safety of students and wildlife, dogs and other pets are not allowed on Dodge Nature Center property. Service animals are welcome.
All photographers (professional and amateur) who conduct posed photography are required to obtain a permit. Nature photography is welcome without a permit. Any photo taken at Dodge Nature Center intended for sale or publication will require permission with an applicable fee.
Please note, photography is not allowed on Dodge’s Shepard Farm location at this time, but it will be an option in the future as the expansion opens more features.
Leave nature discoveries and artifacts where you find them so that the next visitors can enjoy them. Please do not pick flowers on Dodge property. If you find mushrooms or berries for eating, make sure you have positively identified it before picking. Take care not to trample the plants or disturb the animals in the area you are looking, and share the resource by harvesting only what you can use for one meal with your family.
The only smoke seen at the nature center is during a prescribed prairie burn or a campfire program. Smoke and tobacco-free nature centers keep kids and community healthy.
Event/program admission is nonrefundable. Events and programs happen regardless of weather conditions. No full or partial refunds will be given.
Dodge Nature Center is not licensed to take injured animals. If you have a wild animal that has been injured please contact the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota at 651-486-9453.
For the health and safety of the animals that currently live at the nature center, Dodge does not accept donations of live animals.
Dodge Nature Center happily accepts a variety of donations. Please visit the donation page to learn more.
Dodge Nature Center relies on in-kind donations for animal care, office supplies, program supplies, tools, vehicles, lawn care and more. Gifts of taxidermy need to be reviewed by staff before they can be accepted. If you would like to make a donation of goods, please contact the development office at 651-789-5201 or email email@example.com.