1. Presentations: Bat, Celestial Legends, Great Lakes Ghost Stories, Gunflint Lake History, Ham Lake Fire, Lake Superior Shipwrecks, Life of a Voyageur, Minnesota Ghost Stories, Minnesota Storm History, Northern Lights, Sensational Snakes, Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, Spider, Underground Railroad.
3. Music: Celtic Music Show, Classic Country Music Show, Gunflint Folk Music Show, Old-Time Music Show, Old-Time Gospel Music Show, Sing Along.
4. Craft Projects: Birch Bark Bookmarks, Branch Weaving, Candle Making, Dream Catchers, Northwoods Magnets, Soap Making, Watercolor Craft and Hike, Woodsy Picture Frames.
5. Birding: Boreal Birding Hike, Birding Canoe Paddle, Bird Migration Hike, Birding Presentation, Eagle Canoe Paddle, Loon Kayak Paddle, Ravens and their Relatives Presentation.
6. Hikes: Animal Tracking, Berry Picking, Celestial Legends Night Hike, Dragonfly Walk and Talk, Geology of the High Cliffs, Geology Hike to Lookout Point, Medicinal Plants, Photography, Spider Walk and Talk, Wetland Ecology Walk and Talk, Wild Edibles,
7. Hikes Continued: Wildflower, Wolf Howling.
8. Paddling Excursions: Fire and Ice Geology Kayak Paddle, Sunset Canoe Paddle, Voyageur Canoe Paddle, Wildfire Ecology Canoe Paddle.
9. Activities upon Request: Introduction to Canoeing, Introduction to Kayaking, Musical Jam Session.
Did you know that the little brown bat (one of the local species) can eat up to 1,600 mosquitoes per hour? Come learn about these amazing flying mammals in this fascinating presentation.
Celestial Legends - New
Learn the ancient stories surrounding our constellations in this interesting new presentation. If conditions permit, we will view the beautiful starry night sky to study the constellations themselves.
Great Lakes Ghost Stories
The tales of ghost ships, haunted lighthouses, and other restless spirits which inhabit the five Great Lakes are told in this spine-chilling activity.
Gunflint Lake History
Come learn about the human history of this amazing place. We will discuss the early native tribes, Voyageurs, mining, logging, and tourism that has defined Gunflint Lake for many generations.
Ham Lake Fire
In 2007, a giant wildfire started at Ham Lake, and spread throughout much of the Gunflint Trail. Residents were evacuated, and many structures were destroyed. Over a thousand fire fighters from all over the continent helped fight the fire. The forest was reborn in an incredible way. Come to this fascinating presentation and hear what this event was like from one of the firefighters who experienced it.
Lake Superior Shipwrecks
Come learn about some of the 500+ shipwrecks in our nearest Great Lake.
Life of a Voyageur
Did you know that the international border is based off of the old Voyageur’s route? Come learn about the history of these adventurers who traveled these waters over 200 years ago.
Minnesota Ghost Stories
Did you know that most of the college campuses in Minnesota are reputed to be haunted? How about that you most likely passed several haunted sites on the way up here. Learn about these stories and much more at the Minnesota Ghost Stories program.
Minnesota Storm History
Minnesotans love to talk about the weather. We take a certain pride in surviving the worst Mother Nature can throw at us. In this fascinating program, we will discuss the severe weather from the late 1800s to the present.
Come learn about one of the most fascinating phenomena around the world in this fascinating presentation about the Aurora Borealis.
Join John and his reptilian companion to learn about the ecology, biology, and mythology surrounding these fascinating, yet very misunderstood creatures.
Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes
Did you know that there are thousands of shipwrecks on the bottom of the Great Lakes? You actually passed several of the wreck sites on your way up here. In this program we go over a variety of wrecks from all of the Great Lakes, covering everything from the 60-foot Griffon to the 729-foot Edmund Fitzgerald.
Did you know that spider silk, ounce for ounce, is actually stronger than steel? How about that it is liquid when inside the spider? Come to this interesting new program and learn about these very beneficial, yet highly misunderstood forms of life.
Underground Railroad Presentation
The Underground Railroad is a major part of the culture of the Great Lakes Region. The Great Lakes were often the last step to freedom, since Great Britain and her territories became free well before the United States. Come to this program and learn about the fascinating first civil rights movement through stories and songs.
Celtic Music Show
Come hear music and poetry from Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, and Wales. Many of the instruments of the Celtic Nations will be played, including some things you may not have seen before.
Classic Country Music Show
Enjoy songs from the roots of Country Music. You will hear Country Gospel, Old Time, Western, Bluegrass, and Honky-tonk played on the guitar, banjo, mountain dulcimer, mandolin, and fiddle.
Gunflint Folk Music Show
Come learn about Folk Music through stories and songs performed on the guitar, mountain dulcimer, mandolin, banjo, baritone ukulele, and fiddle. Singing along is allowed, but not required.
Old-Time Music Show
This fascinating and invigorating new show is an exploration of the first decades Country Music. The main instrument in this performance is the fiddle, but you will also hear the mountain dulcimer, banjo, guitar, tin whistle, mandolin, harmonica, and baritone ukulele.
Old-Time Gospel Music Show
This music show is good for the soul. John will play and sing a nice variety of Gospel Music on the mountain dulcimer, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and banjo.
Join John the naturalist for a good old-fashioned sing along.
*All Craft Projects will take place outside if the weather permits.
Birch Bark Bookmarks
Craft a unique bookmark out of birch bark and yarn.
Make a beautiful wall hanging by weaving a colorful yarn pattern between two forks of a branch.
Learn the ancient art of candle making by creating a dip candle. Due to the length of time it takes to heat the wax, please sign up at least two hours in advance.
The dream catchers are an Anishinaabe device used to capture bad dreams, while letting the good dreams through the hole in the center. The bad dreams caught in the webbing melt away with the morning dew. Come to this craft and construct your own dream catcher which will influence your dreams for years. Kids under age 15, please bring an adult helper.
Make your own refrigerator magnets out of materials such as pinecones, sticks, bark, and lichens.
Have you ever wondered how soap is made? We will be melting the soap base, adding color and scent, and pouring it into a mold to get your very own bar of homemade soap. We have a wide variety of bases, colors, scents, additives, and molds to choose from in this exciting activity.
Watercolor Craft and Hike
Talk an easy hike to a beautiful overlook and make your own watercolor creation.
Woodsy Picture Frames
Craft a frame out of birch or cedar bark, and decorate it with cones, rocks, and lichens. When you get home, print off one of your pictures from your trip to place inside.
Boreal Birding Hike
“Oh, sweet Canada, Canada, Canada.” “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?” “Chickadee dee dee dee dee.” These songs come from the white-throated sparrow, the barred owl, and the black-capped chickadee. Come on the Boreal Birding hike to learn about these birds and many more.
Birding Canoe Paddle
In this fun and informative paddle, we will learn about birds while searching for such species as the common loon, red-necked grebe, American black duck, common merganser, and much more. This activity will be moderately challenging.
Bird Migration Hike
Spring and fall are the times to witness some of nature’s greatest journeys; the migrations of the birds. Birding during migration is very exciting because you never know what you are going to see. Some birds are migrating from the Gunflint Trail, others are migrating to it, and there are also avifauna that are just coming through this beautiful region. Come on this fun hike, see some amazing birds, and learn about one of the greatest adventures on Earth.
Learn the basics of backyard birding, including field guides, optical equipment, and identification techniques, while viewing some of the common birds of the area.
Eagle Canoe Paddle
Come learn about our national bird while taking a scenic paddle.
Loon Kayak Paddle
There are several pairs of loons who nest on Gunflint and Magnetic Lakes. Learn some interesting facts about our state bird while paddling among them.
Ravens and their Relatives Presentation
Come learn about one of the smartest of all birds, the northern raven. We will also learn about some of the raven’s local relatives, including: the American crow, Canada jay, and blue jay.
To be an animal tracker is to be a nature detective. Not only do we look at what kind of animal made the track, we also look at what the animal was doing at the time. On this hike, we will search for the answers to questions such as; “Why is the bark missing from a part of this tree,” and “Why are these snowshoe hare tracks thirteen-feet apart?” Learn the answers to these questions as well as many more in this enlightening activity.
Strawberries, dewberries, raspberries, Saskatoon berries, blueberries, and thimbleberries. When your mouth stops watering, come sign-up for this fun and delicious hike.
Celestial Legends Night Hike
Learn about many of the stories behind the constellations under the beautiful skies of the Gunflint Trail.
Dragonfly Walk and Talk
Hike to Lonely Lake and learn about the oldest type of flying animal, the dragonfly, which has been gracing the skies of this planet for 300,000,000 years!
Geology of the High Cliffs
The High Cliffs were formed underground during a major rifting event over an eon ago. Massive continental glaciers came through during the Great Ice Age, and dug away the softer surrounding rock, leaving gigantic cliffs towering above the landscape. Learn about these things and much more on this fascinating hike in which we see one of the best geological views in Minnesota.
Geology Hike to Lookout Point
This is an easier version of the geology hike listed above in which we travel to Lookout Point and learn about Gunflint Trail and Lake Superior Geology.
Learn about the plethora of plants with medicinal qualities on the Gunflint Trail.
During this hike we will focus on how to set up the picture to make it interesting, and we will take some great photos of things near and far. A camera is not required for this activity.
Spider Walk and Talk
Enjoy a fascinating presentation about spiders and take a short walk to look for evidence of these incredibly beneficial arachnids.
Wetland Ecology Walk and Talk
Come learn about the various types of wetlands in a fascinating presentation. Then hike through two different wetlands to see this beautiful and mysterious type of ecosystem.
A lot of wonderful wild edibles come out throughout the spring, summer, and autumn. Learn about edible bark, cattails, ferns in their fiddlehead stage, berries, Labrador tea, and much more in this fun activity.
Come learn about the beautiful wildflowers of the area.
Wolf Howling Night Hike
Join a naturalist on a night-time trek through the wilderness as we communicate with one of the most spectacular of all northern animals, the gray wolf. Along the way, we will learn about the wolf, and why it likes to howl. This activity can be challenging due to the lower light conditions.
*For safety, each kid under age 15 must be accompanied by an adult.
*All paddling activities are moderate to challenging.
*See Birding Activities (above) for more ways to paddle!
Fire and Ice Geology Paddle
There are several fascinating Precambrian geological formations within easy paddling distance of the lodge. Join one of our naturalists to gain a new appreciation of extremely ancient history.
Sunset Canoe Paddle
Come view the sunset on Gunflint Lake from the beautiful vantage point of one of our canoes.
Voyageur Canoe Paddle
Lean about the Voyageurs who transported trade goods and furs over Gunflint Lake hundreds of years ago, while paddling in a replica Voyageur Canoe. Due to the close proximity of participants, everyone over age 12 must be vaccinated to participate in this activity.
Wildfire Ecology Canoe Paddle
Come learn what happens during a fire, how our fire dependent ecosystem reacts to the fire, and a local fire history in this fascinating new paddling activity.
Activities upon Request
Talk to a Naturalist well in advance if you are interested in these activities. If possible, they will try to accommodate you.
Introduction to Canoeing
This is an introduction to the basics of canoeing in which you will learn the Forward, J, Draw, and Sweep strokes. You will practice these things on the dock and then put your new knowledge to use out on Gunflint Lake.
Introduction to Kayaking
This introduction to kayaking includes the basic paddling strokes, proper entry and exit techniques, and more.
Musical Jam Session
Bring your instruments and your voices to the Gunflint Nature Center for a good, old fashioned hootenanny. The musical selections will depend on who is present, and we will take turns leading the songs if you are interested in doing so. Otherwise, you can just join in on other people’s songs.