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North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department
 

Outdoor Learning Centers

Outdoor Learning Center programs are available at Lake Metigoshe and Turtle River state parks. Each center offers ecology, conservation, cultural and recreational programming in an outdoor setting.

These state parks provide a natural classroom to study the outdoor environment. They offer a wide range of ecosystems, including forests, wetlands, prairies, rivers, and lakes, allowing participants to experience such places with knowledgeable interpretive naturalists.

Programs offer interactive learning. Navigate a course by using a compass, grasp anatomy and physiology by dressing up like a bird, step back in time by making your own butter or even taste some wild edibles! The naturalists at each learning center will work with you to make your individual arrangements.

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Scheduling information

  • Length of programs are 1 to 2 hours and depend on size and age of the group. Group size may be limited to maximum participation due to availability of equipment.
  • Reservations are required. Book early, especially for arrangements in the spring and summer season.
  • OLC programs are designed to handle groups of various sizes.Chaperones are required, but are not charged as participants. Suggested chaperone to student ratio is 1:12.
  • Rental of housing facilites may be available. Contact individual learning center for rental and reservation information. Camping is available at all locations.
  • All participants should dress appropriately for changing weather conditions. Layers are suggested. Groups are encouraged to bring their own meals. Meal arrangements can be made for additional fees.
  • Indoor facilities may be used for portions of the program during poor weather conditions.
  • Suggested items to bring to any of the learning centers include: drinking water, bug spray, sunscreen, rain gear, lip balm and appropriate shoes for hiking.
  • Other recreational opportunities that are available onsite may include volleyball, playground equipment, fishing, hiking trails, horseshoes, geocaching, biking and many more!

Fees/Rates

Rates are $5 per participant, per program. There is a $50 minimum for groups with 10 or less participants. Rates include state park entrance fees for up to one bus and two vehicles. Changes and or cancellations require two weeks notice or fees may apply.

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Program offerings

  • Birds of a Feather: Fly through many activities while learning to recognize the various adaptations and anatomy that distinguish between multiple species of birds. Discover how the anatomy of the beaks and feet are clues as to what a bird eats, where it lives and their role in the environment.
  • Bonkers for Botany: Embark on a tour of the different species of botanicals found in North Dakota as well as characteristics that make them unique. We’ll also learn to identify leaf shapes, arrangements and a few edibles.
  • Orienteering: Find your way here to learn what maps are, information maps provide and participate in activities requiring the use of map skills. Learn the parts of a compass, how to take a bearing and test your skills.
  • Outdoor Living Skills: Work with nature, not against it. Develop essential survival skills needed for spending time in the wilderness.
  • Sensory Hike: Get a sense of how animals rely on adaptations for survival. In this adventure, we’ll see, hear, smell, touch and perhaps taste nature while discovering ecological principles along the way.
  • Wild about Wildlife: Wildlife plays a role in our environment so join us on an expedition to discover characteristics and behaviors needed for survival. Meet them in their habitats.
  • Weather You Want It or Not: Storm into weather fronts, clouds and other meteorological phenomena created by nature.

Click on the links below for complete OLC specific program listings.

Contact the OLC near you for more information and to schedule a program for your group.

OLC Scout programming

Contact the closest learning center to fulfill badge work needs at all scout levels. Programs can be adapted to meet Girl Scout and Boy Scout standards.

Games and Activities

The Outdoor Learning Centers along with the Waterford Press provide these activity sheets to help studying the great outdoors.

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