From a gentle breeze to a gale, air is always around us, constantly on the move and impacting our lives. In this program, students will explore the ways air is used and needed by plants and animals, and how humans put wind to work.
There are stories in the clues left behind by the animals that live here at Dodge. Learn to find tracks, patterns, signs, nests and scat, then unravel the story of an animal’s adventures from your careful observations.
The ponds and wetlands of Dodge are home to a multitude of different plants and animals. Students will collect, observe and study aquatic plants and animals in their habitats in this hands-on exploration.
From their role in pollinating crops to the sweet honey they make, bees are an important part of our world. Learn more about their life cycles as you watch a beekeeper open a working hive. Then learn about honey extraction and taste the sweet results.
*August and September Only
Prairies, woodlands, ponds – these are the homes to many species of birds found at the nature center. Hike, observe and identify common birds in the various habitats and learn about the adaptations that help them survive.
Skeletons provide structure, protection and movement. Students will analyze bones from different animals to compare their forms and functions, including dissecting sterilized owl pellets. This program has an additional fee for materials.
Tour our barn, chicken coop and pastures. You’ll enjoy the sights and sounds (and smells) of a small, sustainable farm as you see and learn about farm life, farm animals and the roles they play in peoples’ lives. *Children must be at least three years old.
The most common farm animal in the world is also one of the most interesting. Get a very close look at the life cycle of chickens on our farm. Tour the coop, hold a chicken, check for eggs and see the free range flock as the roosters crow all the while.
The interaction between honey bees and apple trees in the spring allows us to enjoy the harvest of honey and apples in the fall. Learn how bees act as pollinators and how various life cycles are connected. Taste the apples and honey that are the products of pollination while watching bees work.
Grab a net and a jar and we’ll be off to see what 6-legged creatures live here at Dodge. We’ll look for eggs and larvae while learning about insects’ life cycles, find predators and prey, and catch and release a bug or two. No log shall be left unturned in this insect adventure.
*Ends first week of October
Winter presents life-and-death struggles for Minnesota animals who face limited sunlight, cold, snow, and ice. Learn how animals use migration, hibernation, and adaptation to deal with winter conditions as we hike the woods, prairie, and frozen ponds of Dodge to observe some of these strategies in action.
Investigate the lives of Minnesota’s mammals and uncover what foods they prefer to eat. Learn to classify mammals as herbivores, carnivores or omnivores by examining clues from their skulls.
Celebrate the return of spring by observing the age-old process of turning tree sap into syrup. Students will help tap a tree, collect sap, visit the evaporator and sample some delicious maple syrup. Dress for the snowy, muddy trails.
What wild animals live where we are? This program will introduce students to some of Minnesota’s wildlife through investigating various habitats and visiting with live animals.
Finding your way is a skill. Practice with a compass to find direction and pacing to measure distance. Then use teamwork as small groups head outside to navigate our orienteering courses. Compasses are provided.
Make your own paper from recycled and natural materials. Students will compare different types of paper and paper products and learn the process of making paper by doing it themselves.
From pulleys to levers, ramps to wheels, the farm is filled with simple machines that illustrate principles of physics. Students will discover the physics used in farm machinery, tools and building design, and work together to complete farm tasks using simple tools and physics.
What does it take to make a plant thrive? Students will compare the various ways plants compete for their basic needs as well as learn about the cycles that make up many parts of how plants work. They’ll hike to see plants outdoors and take home their own plant from a cutting.
Meet one of nature’s most amazing groups of animals – raptors. See a live raptor and participate in hands-on activities to better understand the critical role these birds play in the environment.
The sun is a source of energy that humans use in direct and secondary ways. Through hands-on activities, students will be introduced to how sunlight and wind are used as renewable energies.
Discover the world of the cold-blooded creatures as students compare and contrast the reptiles and amphibians in our live animal collection. Students will be able to observe and interact with many native species in this hands-on adventure.
Each season is unique and brings many changes to the land as well as the plants and animals living there. In this program students explore the prairies, ponds, and forests of Dodge using your five senses to find the best of what each season has to offer.
Participants will learn about our location in the solar system and discover the stories behind constellations we will view in a portable starlab. This class is designed for either day or night programs, regardless of the weather.
Examine the living and non-living components of the soil in hands-on activities. Learn about the importance and different types of soil as we collect and compare soil samples from the prairie, forest, and wetlands of the nature center.
Sound surrounds us every day and is an important way for people and animals to gather information about what is happening around us. Learn to identify the sounds found in nature and their patterns.
Use your senses to explore and discover similarities and differences in the leaves, bark, branches and seeds of the trees of Dodge’s woods.
Water is the basis of all life on earth. We find it in many locations as it moves in the water cycle. Students will participate in hands-on activities to learn how water travels and how humans impact water quality through our actions and choices.
Students will learn and practice the skills of fire-building and survival shelter construction. Do you have what it takes to build a shelter and a one-match fire?
Being outdoors in a Minnesota winter can be cold, snowy and challenging for plants, animals, and people. Inventions, both old and new, allow us to explore the winter landscape. We’ll predict and record temperatures in the air, under the snow, and under the ice as well as cut through the ice and snow
*January and February Only