Events and Programs

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

Current Schedule is 9 AM to 4 PM M-Tu-Th-F, 9 AM to Noon W-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..

FREE – Story Boards and Librarian Readings

The Friends have installed a story “A Bee’s Life / La vida de una abeja” in English and Spanish by Dona Herweck Rice on the holders along the trail around the nature center. Bring your early-grades kids to walk the trail and read this story.

The Washington County Library is holding a Summertime Story series at the nature center, every second Friday at 10 AM. Dates are June 11, June 25, July 9, July 23, August 6 and August 20. A librarian will be reading material suitable for children, but parents and grandparents are welcome to listen, too.

Free – Outdoor features to see:

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

Rain Garden – helps keep runoff from the lake

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

We will not be attacking the buckthorn in July or August, so 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 – July 29/30, August 17/18, September 23

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

Julie Schroeder <> or 651-352-5695

July29th & 30th, Thursday & Friday10am-3:00pmExperimental Watermedia Workshop; Wilderness & Wildlife
Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center, Sunfish Lake Park, Lake Elmo, MN Cost $145.00
Class Description: This will be a class of waterbased media. We will work at painting in a more experimental direction, landscapes & Wildlife. For the demos, I will be working on watercolor board and paper. We will be using Gesso & possibly be introducing some Gouache, Acrylic inks & the combination of all of these mediums. There will be limited spots in this class, register soon….

Detailed description is available to download:

If you are interested, let me know & I will put your name on the list.

NOTE: Here are photos one finished & one in progress.

I hope you can come!

Thursday September 23rd 10am-3pm Experimenting with Alcohol Inks Full Day
Small Group Class; Sally Manzara nature Center;      $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

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.

Coming up –

FREESunfish Lake Park Kite Flying Day – to be scheduled soon – learn about weather and clouds, learn how to make and fly a kite…