After the expenses of new back-to-school clothes and classroom supplies and the annual end-of-summer cost of attending the Minnesota State Fair, families are looking for some fun that will be kind to their strained or depleted fall budgets.
Fortunately, the Eloise Butler Wildlife Garden and Bird Sanctuary, which is part of Theodore Wirth Regional Park, has a full schedule of free outdoor events and activities that focus on the beauty of late summer giving way to autumn.
“We are lucky to have one of the oldest public wildflower gardens in the US; it was established in 1907,” said Maria Montero, naturalist at the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden. “We invite people to come connect to nature. They can explore on their own or join in on some of the programs we are offering through mid-October.”
Operated by the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, the the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary sprawls over 16 acres and is home to more than 600 plant species, 130 bird species and habitat for other native wildlife.
“Through September, we have daily morning garden walks that last 45 minutes, from 11:00 to 11:45 a.m. on Thursday through Sunday. It’s also offered in Spanish on Saturday,” Montero said. “We’ll see what’s in bloom, the asters, goldenrod, and sunflowers.”
Other programs that Montero highlighted include the opportunity to go birding with a naturalist on Saturday mornings from 8:30-10 a.m., a nature-themed story time for young children on Saturdays from 2–2:30 p.m. and on Thursdays 10-10:30 a.m., a naturalist-led tour of the only bog in Minneapolis on Saturday, September 2, 4-5:00 p.m. and Sunday, September 17, 2-3:00 p.m.
Visitors can also join in on an FBI Walk—that’s Fungus, Bacteria & Insects. A naturalist will spotlight “nature’s recyclers,” the fungi, bacteria and insects that sustain our ecosystem during a twilight walk on Thursday, September 14 from 7-8 pm.
Another evening program is also popular with visitors.
“We’re planning a full moon walk on Thursday, Sept 28 from 7 to 8 pm. That’s a fun evening program to watch the moon rise and learn about nocturnal animals that are active at twilight,” Montero said. “We’ll be in the meadow habitat where all the blooms are happening.”
To find out more about these activities, you can go to www.minneapolisparks.org/garden for a link to the Eloise Wildflower Garden web page and a list of all the gardens in the Minneapolis park system.
Eloise Butler Wildlife Garden and Bird Sanctuary Part of Theodore Wirth Regional Park. 1 Theodore Wirth Pkwy. Minneapolis, MN 55405 (Garden entrance is off Theo Wirth Parkway immediately south of Glenwood Avenue).