Ney Calendar and Upcoming Programs

All classes require registration to attend unless otherwise noted.

Community Events

Tree Jamboree

April 20th from 11am – 2pm

Celebrate the best day of the year (in our opinion): Earth Day! This tree-themed celebration will feature live music, crafts, food for purchase, a raptor demonstration, guests like Zero Waste Mankato, tree plantings, and more! Attendance is completely free, though some parts of the event (food, for example) will have a cost associated.

Youth & Family Programs

Geocaching for Bunny Baskets

All ages welcome

Celebrate the spring with one of our favorite animals, the rabbit! We will have themed bunny baskets hidden throughout the park for your family to discover and enjoy! At the beginning of your session, we will send GPS coordinates where your basket is located. Staff will be available on site, but this is designed to be an “on-your-own-adventure”.

Participants will need access to a GPS or smartphone with a Geocaching app. You will receive an email with instructions for finding your basket before the event, and an email with GPS location at the start of your morning or afternoon session (10am or 1pm).

Registration is per basket. If you would like multiple baskets, please register for each of them (max 2 per family). There will be a morning and afternoon session on the 30th and 31st. The morning session is 10-12pm and the afternoon session is 1-3pm.

**If your section is sold out and you would like to be added to the waiting list OR you would like more than 2 baskets, please email us.**

The baskets contain candy, small toys, and fun items related to nature. Geared toward those ages 12 and younger, however, the hunt is fun for all ages!

Saturday, March 30th, 10am-12pm
Saturday, March 30th, 1pm-3pm
Sunday, March 31st, 10am-12pm
Sunday, March 31st, 1pm-3pm

Pre-Registration Required. $12/member; $15/non-member. Register here.

Tiny Trekkers

Ages 4-6

Spend the morning at Ney Nature Center in this new monthly drop-off program! Children will learn about a different topic during each class, have a chance to make a craft, and either meet an animal or hear a story before going home. To learn more about the session, click on the registration link and then the class below to read the description. Please dress for the weather, as we will go outside each session.  

Maple Syrup: March 5th from 10-11:30am
Nests & Red Winged Blackbirds: April 2nd from 10-11:30am
Buzzing Bees: May 7th from 10-11:30am

Pre-Registration Required. $3/member; $5/non-member. Register here.

Nature Detectives

Ages 7-11

Spend the morning at Ney Nature Center as a Nature Detective! In this monthly drop-off class, children will learn about a different topic during each class, have a chance to make a craft, and either meet an animal or hear a story before going home. To learn more about the session, click on the registration link and then the class below to read the description. Please dress for the weather, as we will be going outside each session. 

Maple Syrup: March 12th from 10-11:30am
Nests & Red Winged Blackbirds: April 9th from 10-11:30am
Buzzing Bees: May 14th from 10-11:30am

Pre-Registration Required. $3/member; $5/non-member. Register here.

Family Expedition

All Ages (activities suit elementary-aged children, but people of all ages can enjoy these classes!)

Join us at Ney Nature Center with your family on an expedition into a topic each month! Your family will have a chance to make a craft, play a game, or learn about something new in a hands-on way. To learn more about the session, click on the registration link and then the class below to read the description. Please dress for the weather, as we will be going outside each session. 

Maple Syrup: Saturday, March 16th from 10:00-11:00am
Nests & Red Winged Blackbirds: Saturday, April 6th from 10:00-11:00am
Buzzing Bees: Thursday, May 9th from 6:00-7:00pm

Pre-Registration Required. $3/member; $5/non-member. Register here.

Mud Club

Ages 6-12 years old

Come explore off-trail with a Ney Center Naturalist!  Be prepared to get muddy as we explore through ravines, wetlands, prairies, and other off-trail places within the park.  Our adventures will start at the main education building.  Please wear sturdy shoes and appropriate clothing, as we will be outside for the majority of the program.  Participants should expect to walk more than a mile throughout our adventure.

March 2nd, 2024 from 2-4pm
April 6th, 2024 from 2-4pm

Pre-Registration Required. $5/member; $7/non-member. Register for two or more Mud Clubs at once and enter “MUDDY” at checkout for $1 off! Register here.

Maple Syrup: Tree to Bottle

All ages welcome

Are you curious about how we turn sap into syrup? Join us for this fun, hands-on class, where we will walk you through the steps, tap a tree together, and discuss the science of syrup! All ages are welcome; please dress for the weather; we will go on a short walk. Taste test included!

March 17th from 2-3pm
April 11th from 6-7pm
April 13th from 10-11am

Pre-Registration Required. $5/member; $7/non-member. Register here.

Adult Programs

Lifelong Learner Series

Discover a new topic each month as we explore local wildlife, history, and conservation issues. Join us for lunch and conversation; please inform staff of any dietary restrictions. Ages 18+.

Sandhill Cranes: Thursday, February 15th from 12-1:30pm 

Every year, from mid-February to mid-April, 1 million Sandhill Cranes visit the Platte River Valley in Nebraska to rest and refuel on their way back to their breeding grounds in the North.  This annual event is one of the largest animal migrations on Earth.  We will be learning all about this amazing spectacle and these dynamic birds.

Maple Syrup: Thursday, March 14th from 12-1:30pm 

Come learn about this Minnesota favorite!  We will go over the history and process of making Maple Syrup, the process here at Ney, and what you would need if you wanted to make Maple Syrup at home.

Rivers: Thursday, April 18th from 12-1:30pm 

Come on down to Ney Nature Center to learn all about rivers.  These amazing bodies of water shape and change our landscapes, both in the short term by flooding and in the long term by carving through bedrock.  We will also go over why the Minnesota River Valley is shaped so differently than the size of the river might suggest.

Trees: Thursday, May 23rd from 12-1:30pm 

As the trees start to grow again, it is the perfect time to learn more about these majestic plants.  Slow-growing as they are, we depend on trees for many aspects of modern-day life.  Foster your appreciation for all things tree-related as we get ready for Summer.

Pre-registration required. $12/member or $15/non-member. Register here.

Hiking Club

Interested in exploring Ney’s many miles of trails? Join a Ney naturalist and other hiking enthusiasts for great conversation, new trails, and exciting adventures! Registration is per session.

Last session: March 9th from 2-3pm

Registration is not required. However, if we cancel the class, those registered will be notified. $FREE/member; $5/non-member. Register here.

FAQ & Policies

Public Programs Cancellation Policy: If you cancel your registration 24 hours or more before the start of the program, you can receive a 100% refund. If you cancel within 24 hours of the start of the program, you will receive a 90% refund. If you leave partway through or no-call, no-show, you will not receive a refund. You can move your registration to another class if available as well.

Ney Nature Center reserves the right to cancel any program due to illness, staffing issues, low registration, weather, etc. We promise to try our best to avoid cancellations and will try to give participants fair notice of any changes, but we are not always able to do this, so we appreciate your understanding. If Ney cancels a program, all participants will receive a 100% refund of their registration.

COVID-19 & Illness: At this time we are following CDC guidelines for all of our procedures, please visit the MN Department of Health website for more information. If you are experiencing symptoms of a communicable illness, please stay home! You can reach us by email or call us at 507-357-8580.