State Parks

The Department of Natural Resources is waiving entrance fees to all Minnesota state parks and recreation areas on Nov. 29, the day after Thanksgiving. (Pioneer file photo)

ST. PAUL -- The Department of Natural Resources is waiving entrance fees to all Minnesota state parks and recreation areas on Nov. 29, the day after Thanksgiving.

“I wish everyone in Minnesota a peaceful and happy Thanksgiving,” DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen said in a release. “And on the day after the holiday, I can't think of anything better than visiting one of Minnesota's spectacular state parks, with free admission. No matter where you are in the state, you’re likely within about a half-hour’s drive of a state park or recreation area.”

Research shows that spending time outdoors benefits children and adults, including improving mood, enhancing creative thinking and problem solving, promoting a conservation ethic, and improving physical fitness, the release said.

On Thanksgiving Day, the average American consumes around 4,500 calories. A brisk walk can burn about 300 calories in one hour.

“If you’ve never been to a state park before, this is a great way to extend your holiday a day further and get outdoors with family or friends to explore the natural beauty of our state parks,” Erika Rivers, director of DNR’s Parks and Trails Division, said in the release. “We hope anyone who visits on Free Park Friday will return throughout the winter season – and beyond -- to hike, snowshoe, watch wildlife or participate in naturalist-led programs.”

  • “Children’s Storytime: Turkey Trouble” from 1 to 2 p.m. at Lake Bemidji State Park in north central Minnesota.

  • “Turkey Hike” from 10 to 11 a.m. at Whitewater State Park in southeastern Minnesota.

  • “Falls Tour” from 10 to 11 a.m. at Gooseberry Falls State Park on Minnesota’s North Shore.
  • “Step Off that Stuffing Hike” from 1 to 2 p.m. at Interstate State Park near the Twin Cities metro area.

  • “Falconry: The Sport of Kings” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Tettegouche State Park and again from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Gooseberry Falls State Park on Minnesota’s North Shore.

For more information, visit mndnr.gov/freeparkfriday.

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