Nature scavenger hunts offer fun way to experience state parks

Published 8:00 pm Tuesday, June 29, 2021

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Visitors to Myre-Big Island State Park can add some extra fun to their experience this summer with an educational scavenger hunt by Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota.

The scavenger hunt is part of a statewide challenge happening at 69 Minnesota state park locations and five local parks, according to a press release. Each scavenger hunt is tailored to a specific park and highlights 19 different types of birds, mammals, wildflowers, trees and recreational activities that can be found in that location.

The hunts combine online technology with in-person experiences. Participants access the hunts online in the form of an interactive checklist that features a photo of each item, along with a brief description of a fun fact about that plant or animal. Some items are very common and will be seen by most people who visit the park, such as a black-capped chickadee, while others are more elusive, such as a white indigo flower or a moose.

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“Even if a participant isn’t able to check off a specific item, we hope the experience of looking for that plant or animal opens their imagination to the diversity of plant and animal life that exists in the parks,” said Lisa Filter, Parks & Trails Council’s external relations director.

Participants can submit their hunt into a weekly drawing for a $20 gift card to Minnesota state parks. Points are awarded to each item that is found, as well as for completing the hunt with children. Those points translate into entries in the weekly drawing.

An additional prize drawing has been sponsored by the Freeborn County Trail Association that will be awarded at the end of the season from all entries to Myre-Big Island State Park. This additional prize is a gift card for the Minnesota state parks and trails. This is a great activity for the whole family to enjoy as you discover Myre-Big Island State Park.

Parks & Trails Council piloted the scavenger hunt idea last summer, as virtually all park programs were canceled due to COVID-19. The hunts were a self-guided, socially distanced option to fill that gap. But, even as the pandemic restrictions have lifted, the hunts have evolved into a fun activity that people enjoy doing.

The hunts are designed for all ages, but with a special attention to parents of young children.

“Kids love a challenge and the colorful photos that we included make it even more engaging for them,” Filter said.

Visit Parks & Trails Council’s website at to access the hunt or look for a flyer in the park for more details.