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Discover the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

To celebrate its 40th anniversary, learn about the refuge's protected habitat and enjoy family-friendly activities


Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
An overlook at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Tina Shaw/USFWS.

2016 has been a big year for outdoor spaces. The National Park System celebrated 100 years, Minnesota State Parks 125 years, and now the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is commemorating its 40th year of protecting our state’s habitat.

Located less than 10 miles from downtown Minneapolis, the refuge stretches a band of green for 72 miles along the Minnesota River from Fort Snelling to Henderson, covers more than 14,000 acres, and provides a critical habitat for migratory birds, deer, and other wildlife. It’s also a key site in Minnesota for monarch butterfly conservation efforts, and is one of only 17 refuges across the country designated as an Urban Wildlife Refuge.

“Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is one of Minnesota’s best kept secrets. It provides Twin Cities residents access to a wilderness area just minutes from their homes,” says Tim Bodeen, Refuge Manager.

To help celebrate its 40th anniversary, the refuge will be holding an event on Saturday, Oct. 8 including a commemorative ceremony and cupcake celebration at 1 p.m. at the Bloomington Education and Visitor Center, with food trucks available between 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The daylong event will also include free family-friendly and hands-on activities such as biking, fishing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, hiking, bird watching, and hunting.

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge 40th Anniversary Celebration
Sat., Oct. 8
3815 American Blvd. E., Bloomington

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Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

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