Events and Programs

The Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center Building re-opened June 1st.

Current Schedule is 9 AM to 4 PM M-Tu-W-Th-F, 9 AM to Noon Sat and closed Sunday. Outdoor features and activities are available as shown below, the Park is open 6 AM to 9 PM.

Admission to Lake Elmo’s Sunfish Lake Park and to the Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center are free of charge.   FREE events and programs are so marked.  Registration and  payment for most programs with fees is available on-line via Paypal, or contact the Event producer directly with the contact information shown..

New – FREE Kite Flying – Saturday October 2nd at Noon

We are starting a new activity organized by Board member John. There will be a kite flying event at Noon on the first Saturday of the month, starting August 7th, weather permitting. Come and learn to make and fly a kite, or bring your own kite to fly.

FREE – Story Board Trail

The Washington County Library and the Friends have installed a story “Planting a Rainbow” by Lois Ehlert on the holders along the trail around the nature center. Bring your early-grades kids to walk the trail and read this story.

Free – Outdoor features to see:

Prairie Plant Specimen Walk – visit the individual plants and then go look for them on the prairie

Bean bag toss – Kim has painted the boards to resemble birdhouses, can you get the bird to fly into its house?

Rain Garden – helps keep runoff from the lake (not much runoff this Summer!)

Three Sisters Garden – Native American combination planting – Corn, Beans and Squash grow cooperatively

Monarch Waystation – provides nectar all Summer long for wandering butterflies

Messy Play Area – stepping stumps, a canoeful of sand, and a very slow turtle ride

Benches for sitting and relaxing

Picnic tables

Free air and water for your bike tires and your dog (or yourself)

FREE -Regular Buckthorn Removal Days – Second Saturdays at 9:30 AM

September 11th is the next opportunity- please contact George at 651-757-5610 for details. We have the loppers, gloves, herbicide.

FEE- Julie Schroeder Art Workshops – September 23, October 7th, November 2-3 (description available soon)

Contact Julie directly if you wish to register/pay for any of these workshops – website:

Julie Schroeder <> or 651-352-5695

Thursday September 23rd 10am-3pm Experimenting with Alcohol Inks Full Day
Small Group Class; Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center;  cost:  $65.00 includes all supplies
This medium is very special. It’s not like any other art form.  It’s so exciting to watch the inks move & flow & it happens right in your hands!  Anyone can do it…no need to have experience.   Each painting is totally unique, bright & powerful. Alcohol inks have such a color intensity & personality unmatched by other mediums. Julie will walk you through the steps to beautiful vibrant paintings.  We’ll be using the inks on Yupo paper as well as on a variety of tiles for amazing effects! 
BONUS: We’ll be experimenting with 2 different brands of inks & discussing the differences in each kind as we work and experimenting with some new techniques! All supplies included! Come & have fun with colors & free flow painting. You’ll take home many little gems of paintings as well as some on tiles!

Hope to see you painting!

Julie A. Schroeder

Thursday October 7th 10 AM to 3 PM Mixed Media canvas “Bee Kind”

Location: Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center, Lake Elmo, MN Cost: $65.00 to participate in a small group

On two 10×10 inch canvases we’ll create honey bees and flowers. For this painting you can choose your own colors for the background & the flowers. We will be using torn papers, napkins, stencils, glue, paint, pastels, lace, glitter and a variety of other fun materials. By layering paint, papers, fabrics and stenciling, you’ll create an amazing dimensional piece of art! No experience necessary, all supplies included.

Let me know if you’d like to join us – the class size is limited. Hope to see you painting!

November 2/3 – to be described


FREE -Saturday October 23rd , 9 AM to 1 PM – Sunfish Lake Park Buckthorn Removal Festival returns!

We are planning the day – please contact George at 651-757-5610 if you would like to participate as Buckthorn Removal Team leader, or volunteer to help saw, lop, or pull buckthorn. Contact if you would like to help with the other details of this traditional event.

FREE – Sunfish Lake Park Project on iNaturalist

Go to to view the observations in the Sunfish Lake Park Project, or take pictures and upload them to the Project.

FREE – Scavenger Hunt printouts available

If you are taking a nature walk and would like to print out a pictorial scavenger hunt, Christa has made some, feel free to download and print them, by clicking on the Activities to Download tab above. Or pick one up at the Reception Desk at the nature center.

FREE – Beekeeping

The beekeepers have scheduled Thursday mornings at 10 AM for their weekly hive maintenance and upgrading activity. If you are interested, please came and visit the area just southeast of the nature center, they would be happy to explain the activity for you.