Family Fun "Quick Glance"

Tenting/Camping | Fishing | Bird Watching | Geocaching |


Feel like roughing it in the wilderness? The AELC has the perfect facility and landscape! Located just east of the Nature Center building are five primitive campsites for tent camping. Restrooms and showers are available in the Nature Center building upon request for overnight visitors.

The cost is $15 per evening. Members can enjoy camping in the Sand Hills free of charge. To register your campsite, call 218-945-3136. Need to call on the weekend? Call 218-289-5667.

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Even though you will probably never catch a “trophy fish” in the Sand Hill River, younger children can really enjoy catching the suckers and chubs that are very abundant in some locations.  The bigger minnows seem to bite on just about anything and can really keep the kids busy reeling them in!  Right below the river deck, for example, the “fish” are plentiful.  During the summer months, we try to keep dried bread or corn on hand for young visitors to throw to the fish below while they stand on the deck.  Some of our adult visitors also enjoy watching the “feeding frenzy!”

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Bird Watching

(Photos courtesy of Eric Bergussen)

Whether you are a bird watching enthusiast or just a casual bird watcher, the AELC is also a great location to observe our feathered friends.  Right outside the Nature Center building we have a bird feeder that is swirling with bird activity all year round.  Some other great locations include the Seep at Lookout Point, the “River View”, and the Lagoon Overlook.  The edges of the native prairies are also excellent locations for watching the bird activity. For a check list and complete listing of birds found at the Nature Center, click here.

Check out these links!

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Ahoy, mates! Let the treasure hunting begin! Students can join the international game called geocaching. Learn to use GPS technology to find treasures, or geocaches, which have been hidden in the Sand Hills.

Geocaching is an outdoor treasure-hunting game in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers (called "geocaches" or "caches") anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container (usually a tupperware or ammo box) containing a logbook and "treasure," usually toys or trinkets of little value.
Geocaches are currently placed in over 100 countries around the world and on all seven continents, including Antarctica.  There are over 820,000 active geocaches in the world right now.

For the traditional geocache, a geocacher will place a waterproof container, containing a log book (with pen or pencil) and trinkets or some sort of treasures, then note the cache's coordinates. These coordinates, along with other details of the location, are posted on a website. Other geocachers obtain the coordinates from the Internet and seek out the cache using their GPS handheld receivers. The finding geocachers record their exploits in the logbook and online. Geocachers are free to take objects from the cache in exchange for leaving something of similar or higher value, so there is treasure for the next person to find.

If you wish to try your hand at geocaching, GPS units are available to rent at the Nature Center for $6 per day.  The visitor center is open daily from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.  There are several geocaches hidden in the Sand Hills area surrounding the Nature Center.  To learn the coordinates of geocaches in the Sand Hills (and in your area) visit

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Safari Van Tours

The safari van tours of the Sand Hills are available during the summer months only. To schedule a tour call 945-3136. It is best to call a day or two in advance so arrangements can be made.

  • $6 Adults
  • $4 for children 12 and under
  • AELC members - FREE!

To become a member, click here.

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