One of the best parts about our area is all the beautiful nature that surrounds it. Here are some of our favorite trails.
Westwood Hills is a 160-acre natural area featuring marsh, woods and restored prairie. More than 3 miles of trails and walkways provide hikers with can’t-miss opportunities for leaf peeping, birdwatching and wildlife spotting. The preserve is beautiful throughout the seasons and provides homes for many animals, including deer, turtles, fox, mink and owls.
Visitors to Westwood will want to explore the new $12 million, eco-friendly Interpretive Center. It’s full of interactive exhibits, such as a display on pollinators and the important role they play, as well as live animals, including a flying squirrel, a red-tailed hawk and a barred owl. The Nature Center offers a unique, outdoor, multi-generational classroom in the middle of the city. Professionally trained naturalists lead a variety of fun, informative and hands-on environmental education and outdoor recreation programs year-round. Perfect for families and groups of all types.
The newly constructed Interpretive Center houses a multi-purpose space, accommodating up to 130 people for meetings, wedding receptions, galas, company events, birthday parties, family reunions and more! The multi-purpose room also separates into three smaller spaces (Willow, Aspen and Oak) for meetings and events. Room amenities include a caterer’s holding kitchen and audio-visual equipment. If you wish to have alcohol at your event, an additional fee may be charged to retain a police officer. A refundable damage and kitchen cleaning deposit may apply. The smaller Maple conference room, which holds 16, is perfect for business meetings, book clubs and similar events. There is a 2-hr minimum on individual room rental or rent the entire facility for up to 12 hours.
Next to the Interpretive Center is the Lower Park Building, which features an open design that’s perfect for up to 25 people.
A short walk past the Interpretive Center will bring you to the award-winning Hobbs Pavilion with picnic table seating for groups of up to 48. This outdoor shelter was donated by Maurice Hobbs in memory of his late wife Barbara. This open-air shelter is used for youth programming during the week and is available for weekend rentals. It received an Award of Excellence from the Minnesota Recreation and Park Association.
Looking for a scenic spot for a small wedding or outdoor photo shoot? The Water Garden and Waterfall Observation Deck offers stunning views and can accommodate up to 25 people.
The multi-purpose room contains air walls to break the space up into 3 smaller rooms. The fee for this room covers a 12-hour rental period.
Located near the parking lot, this building has an open design that seats up to 25 people. Windows on three sides of this fully accessible building offer beautiful views of the nature center grounds and the playground. The building also has restrooms, drinking fountains and a sink. It's a great place for meetings, parties and more! 2-hr rental minimum. A refundable $300 damage deposit is due 14 days before your event.
Please note that this building is not currently available for rent.
Located adjacent to the water garden area, this shelter seats up to 48 people at picnic tables. Restrooms, drinking fountains, electrical outlets and sink are provided. This open shelter has protection from sun and rain and has a view of Westwood Lake. Available weekends, mid-May to mid-September, 11 am - 3 pm. Rental is for the entire time block. A refundable $100 damage deposit is due 14 days before your event.
Looking for a scenic location for a small wedding, photo shoot or outdoor meeting space? Enjoy the background view of the water garden as you watch the water flow over the top of the 6-foot-high waterfall and tumble down the hillside! From the accessible Observation Deck, you can see the full view of the waterfall, water garden, Westwood Lake and surrounding woods.
The water garden features native Minnesota plants blooming throughout the summer season, as well as streams, waterfalls and a pond. Stroll along the accessible crushed rock paths, across bridges and gaze into the pond to see the fish. There are bench areas for taking photos or to relax and enjoy the view.
Available mid-May to mid-October. This space may be rented by the hour. A refundable $100 damage deposit is due 14 days before your event.
To reserve a room at the Interpretive Center, complete the Westwood Hills Nature Center facility rental application.
To reserve the park building, pavilion or water garden, please complete the outdoor facility rental application.