Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary - Fifteen-acre preserve offers guided bird walks and full-moon hikes. Guidebooks provide information on more than 50 sites in the garden. Open 7:30 a.m. to an hour before sunset Apr. 1 through Oct. 15. Theodore Wirth Pkwy., south of Glenwood Ave., Minneapolis, 612-370-4903; www.minneapolisparks.org.
Lowry Nature Center - The preserve is home to deer, raptors, beaver, otters, butterflies, trumpeter swans, and osprey, and Lowry offers nature programs for children, school groups, and families. 7025 Victoria Dr. (Carver Park Reserve), Victoria, 763-694-7650; www.threeriversparks.org.
Lyndale Park Gardens - 61-acre park with a 250-variety rose garden, rock garden, bird sanctuary, and the Peace Bridge, built from stones recovered from ground zeros at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. 4124 Roseway Rd., Minneapolis, 612-230-6400; www.minneapolisparks.org.
Maplewood Nature Center - This park includes nature trails, an educational visitor center, and outdoor natural play area. 2659 E. 7th St., Maplewood, 651-249-2170; www.maplewoodnaturecenter.com.
Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park - Hundreds of plants from throughout the world, as well as an outdoor Japanese garden. 1225 Estabrook Dr., St. Paul, 651-487-8200; www.comozooconservatory.org.
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden - Outdoor sculpture and topiary park anchored by Cowles Conservatory. 726 Vineland Pl., Minneapolis, 612-370-4929; www.minneapolisparks.org.
Minnehaha Falls Pergola Gardens - The gardens overlook Minnehaha Falls. 4801 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis, 612-230-6400; www.minneapolisparks.org.
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge - This 34-mile preserve is home to fish, coyotes, foxes, beavers, and a variety of birds and amphibians. The Visitor Center offers regular nature programs for families and school groups. 3815 American Blvd. E., Bloomington, 952-854-5900; www.fws.gov.
Noerenberg Memorial Gardens - Formal flower gardens designed and maintained by master gardeners; gardens include a wide variety of unusual annuals and perennials and a large day lily collection. Open for tours, programs, and weddings. 2840 North Shore Dr., Orono, 763-559-6700; www.threeriversparks.org.
Normandale Community College Japanese Garden - This two-acre suburban oasis features a waterfall, lagoon, strolling paths, and immaculate landscaping. 9700 France Ave. S., Bloomington, 952-352-8200; www.normandale.edu/japanesegarden.
Richardson Nature Center - Wildlife viewing areas; meeting spaces and nature programs for families and school groups. 8737 E. Bush Lake Rd. (Highland Lake Park Reserve), Bloomington, 763-694-7676; www.threeriversparks.org.
Tamarack Nature Center - This 320-acre habitat for heron, turtle, mink, and muskrat provides regular outdoor education and recreation programs. 5287 Otter Lake Rd., White Bear Township, 651-407-5350; www.co.ramsey.mn.us.
University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum - A thousand acres of public gardens, including plants developed for northern climates, natural and native areas, and demonstration gardens. 3675 Arboretum Dr., Chaska, 952-443-1400; www.arboretum.umn.edu.
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