Spring is a season to be spent appreciating the new growth in nature. For Minnesotans, spring marks the end of the cold weather, and the beginning of warmer months ahead. Here are five best places to go if you are planning a day trip to see blooming wildflowers this spring. Get outside and enjoy the new floral life that is budding around the city.
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
3675 Arboretum Drive
Chaska, MN 55318
Colorful blooms begin late April at the Arb and continue throughout the growing season with vibrant displays transforming from one variety to the next. This principal public garden of the upper Midwest is abundant with colorful botanical pageantry any time you visit. Click the link above to learn “What’s in Bloom.” Then, stop by the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Information Desk in the Visitor Center and grab a Visit Map prior to starting your trek around the many gardens filled with clarions of spring. Right now, Spring Peeper Meadow will greet you with a chorus of frogs. Delicate wildflowers like the showy Lady’s Slipper await you in the woodlands. The cool wetness of the forests shelters the fern fronds unrolling themselves like a fiddlehead.
Minnesota Scientific & Natural Areas
Minnesota’s scientific and natural areas (SNAs) offer many suitable sites to find unusual spring flowers. These Scientific & Natural Areas (SNAs) are established to “preserve natural features and rare resources of exceptional scientific and educational value.” You may visit any SNA without charge but be advised the purpose of these sites is for education and natural observation. Consequently, intensive recreational activities are prohibited. Ardent naturalists may also wish to explore Wisconsin’s state natural areas.
Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden And Bird Sanctuary
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
1 Theodore Wirth Pkwy.
Minneapolis, MN 55422
Experience the spectacular seasonal pageantry of native prairie, wetland and woodland wildflowers throughout. Witness different botanical varieties as you walk from one habitat to another. Woodland habitat harbors bluebells, bloodroot trillium, trout lilies and wild ginger from April through May. Wetland environment fosters showy lady’s slippers, native irises, and cardinal flowers June through July. Choose between self-guided tour trails and regular naturalist-conducted walks across the 15-acre plot. The parkland touts over 500 plant and 130 bird species in its jurisdiction.
Jay Cooke State Park
Carlton, MN 55718
You may have missed the spring ephemerals in the metro area, but the boreal forest on Minnesota’s North Shore may be the place to go for a rerun on the wonders of spring. Jay Cooke is a great place to find wildflowers in the spring. Look for northern bluebell, blue beadlily, bunchberry and Canada mayflower in the four acres of these woodlands protecting the lower reaches of the St. Louis River. Jay Cooke is one of the ten most visited state parks in Minnesota. Traverse the swinging suspension bridge elevated over a St. Louis River swelled by springtime run-off. Explore the Thomson Dam gorge. Peruse an historic cemetery in a park established 1915.
Related: Best Parks In Minnesota
Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park
9700 170th St. E.
Nerstrand, MN 55053
This park is a wildflower garden every spring showcasing hepatica, bloodroot, and Dutchman’s breeches. The endangered dwarf trout lily can be observed from the boardwalk at Big Woods State Park and at the Riverbend Nature Center in Faribault. The only place on earth where this rare plant can be found are the wooded slopes and floodplains in the drainages of the Straight, Cannon, Little Cannon, and the North Fork Zumbro Rivers and Prairie Creek. The only time of year one can witness this rare plant is between the middle of April and the middle of May. Plan your visit on Friday May 13 or Saturday May 14, 2016 and stop by the Carley State Park for oodles of false rue anemone and Virginia bluebells. Then, celebrate the Bluebell Festival in Plainview.
Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.