The Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center is open for visitors

Our hours are Monday through Friday 9 AM to 4 PM

Saturday 9 AM to 3 PM, Sunday 10 AM to 4 PM

Fall Programs – visit Events and Programs page tab above for details and registration information

We have weekly Saturday Morning programs for those 5 and up, and monthly Thursday evening programs for adults (or serious older students). Check our programs schedule and register for fee based events at: https://sminc-lake-elmo.org/event-descriptions/ Please note the November 5th program, Cryogenics, will be rescheduled for a later date and not take place this Fall.


Sunfish Lake Park Trails are beautiful this week, it is now officially Fall and many of the trees are rapidly changing color. The green color is removed from the leaves and the other colors are left behind. Trees do that to recover materials from the green chlorophyll molecules for re-use next Spring.

We are located on the edge of a 17-acre restored prairie. To keep this interesting ecosystem from reverting to forest or invasive species cover, it has to be either mowed or burned regularly. The last prescribed burn was April 28, 2022, and the prairie is doing very well, the plants have gone to seed and the main color is yellow ranging to brown. Visit us and view our prairie plant specimen planters with all the plants named, then take a prairie walk and see them in the wild.

Stop at the reception desk for a scavenger hunt sheet, a trail map, and other information, or check out kid’s binoculars, magnifying glasses, etc… Complimentary Coffee and Tea are available.

Help is needed. For volunteer opportunities, visit the Help Wanted tab above. Especially, a few more reception volunteers are needed. If you, or you and a friend, enjoy talking with people and providing information, and would like to help, please email info@sminc-lake-elmo.org. Please contact Connie at 651-491-3853 and she will try to convince you to give it a try – with no obligation!!

When you walk the trails in Sunfish Lake Park, look for the navigation signs and the QR code/compass direction indicators. The QR code links to the Trail Info page on this website, which will provide specific information about each marked point. The compass will help us who are directionally challenged to find our way, even on cloudy days!

If you plan to use the biking trails, please check https://trails.morcmtb.org/ for trail condition information. The Lake Elmo City Council voted to accept the Sunfish Lake Park User Group recommendation that there should be no hiking on the bike trails (also known as one-way single-track or mountain bike trails) and no biking on the multi-user trails, which are reserved for hiking, horseback, nature walks, skiing, snowshoeing, etc. The intent was to improve trail safety for all users by reducing the travel speed differences. User compliance will be appreciated by all.

The Sunfish Lake Park Trail User Group met September 12th to consider recommendations to the Lake Elmo Parks Commission for trail improvements. If you are interested in participating in this group, please email info@sminc-lake-elmo.org

Activities to DownloadChrista’s new Nature Journal Pages have been added – check them out !! We are offering free downloads of nature-based activities – click on “Activities to Download” in the tabs above. These activities include illustrated nature Scavenger Hunt sheets, Nature Journal pages, Word Find Puzzles at different levels of difficulty, other Games, and Trail Guide information.

It is not too soon to Think Spring – as you are doing your Fall yard work, plan a DO IT YOURSELF POLLINATOR GARDEN for next year- attract and nourish pollinators. Click here to find links to various websites that provide help in setting up a pollinator garden on your own property – small or large! Information about native plant gardening is also found in the linked documents.

The Friends of Lake Elmo’s Sunfish Lake Park rely on donations to operate the Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center as a community resource according to our Mission Statement.  Please click on the “How to Donate” page and help us if you can.