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Woods, Waters and Wildlife: A Family Nature Adventure at the Lake

Program Number: 4966RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/20/2014 - 7/25/2014;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Sandstone, Minnesota
Price starting at: $515.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Family Programs; Multi-Sport; Intergenerational
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Gluten Free; Vegetarian; Low Fat    

The forests, fields, ponds and lakes of Minnesota’s North Woods hold exciting environmental lessons for you and your grandchild. Search for reptiles and amphibians, meet impressive birds of prey, discover the hidden life of beavers and learn about the natural behavior of wolves. Feel the rush of adventure on our rock climbing wall and high ropes course, and enjoy making traditional Ojibwe crafts.


• Take field trips to the North West Fur Post, where you learn about a colorful chapter in Minnesota's history, and the Hinckley Fire Museum, interpreting one of the most destructive fires in history.
• Examine pond water samples under the microscope to see what tiny creatures are living in them.
• Canoe on beautiful Grindstone Lake, go down a zipline and learn about outdoor survival.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to 1.5 miles per day; some uneven terrain. Canoeing and more outdoor activities supervised by expert staff.

This is a family program for participants, their adult children and grandchildren ages 9 and up.

Date Specific Information


Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Coordinated by Audubon Center of the North Woods.


Located in central Minnesota, this area was once home to the Ojibwe tribe, as well as Swedish and Danish immigrants. Local wildlife flourishes in the surrounding forests and nearby Kettle River and Grindstone Lake, also home to the Audubon Center.

Lodge style rooms with single beds and private baths on a 535-acre wildlife sanctuary.
Meals and Lodgings
   Audubon Center of the North Woods
  Sandstone, MN 5 nights
 Audubon Center of the North Woods
Type: Campus/Dorm
  Description: Located on 535 Wildlife Sanctuary. Rooms look out on lake and forest.
  Contact info: 54165 Audubon Drive
Sandstone, MN 55072 USA
phone: 320-245-2648
  Room amenities: Air-conditioning. Bedding, pillows, towels and wash cloths will be provided. Hair dryers are not provided. Personal soaps and shampoos are not provided.
  Facility amenities: Air-conditioning. Lounge and laundry facilities
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Check out time: 9:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:30 PM Registration. You will be staying at Audubon Center of the North Woods that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after lunch at 1:00 PM. You will be staying at Audubon Center of the North Woods the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Parking is free and we do have electrical hook-ups and enough space for RV's. All vehicles are accessible during the week.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Sandstone, MN
  Nearest city or town:  Sandstone, MN.
  Nearest highway: I-35.
  Nearest airport:  Minneapolis/St.Paul International Airport (MSP), Minneapolis, MN.
  From End of Program
  Location: Sandstone, MN
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

MSP/St. Paul


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Skyline Shuttle
phone: 888-354-2677
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1.5 hours 




75 miles


The Skyline Shuttle (, 888-354-2677) departs from Terminal 1 and 2 of the MSP/St. Paul Airport and has a stop at Tobie's in Hinckley, MN. Audubon Center staff will pick up and drop off individuals from here. It is a 15 minute ride from Tobie's to the Audubon Center.




From Bus Terminal




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Audubon Center of the North Woods
phone: 320-245-2648


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


15 minutes 




12 miles


Once participants arrive at the Tobie's station in Hinckley, Audubon Center staff will then pick up participants free of charge and drive them the remaining 15 minutes to the Audubon Center of the North Woods. Please call the Audubon Center to let us know what time your shuttle will arrive at Tobie's.

Driving Directions
  Free Time During the Week During free time, grandparents and grandchildren have many options. They can choose to go swimming at our beach, use our canoes, use our sand volley ball court, play outside activities, walk and explore on our many trails, or relax in the dormitory lounge, putting together puzzles or playing games.
  From the South (Minneapolis/St.Paul) Take Interstate 35 north to the Sandstone exit (approx. 65 miles). Exit and cross over freeway bridge on Highway 61, going west for 3 miles. Turn right at Co.Rd. 27 (Audubon Sign at the turn) and then immediately turn left at T intersection on Grindstone Lake Road. Then travel west for another 3 miles until you come to Co. Rd. 17 (also known as Fox Rd. and another Audubon sign). Turn right. Just 250 feet farther on your left is the entrance to the Center. Go through two stone pillars and follow the unpaved road 1 mile until you reach the large parking lot and main building.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Audubon Center Check-In/Walking Tour/Welcome and Orientation
(Sunday, July 20)

Note: The tour of the Center will take participants around our facilities and grounds, and provide a framework for the setting for the week's program.

 Afternoon: After arriving and checking into your room at Crosby Dormitory, there will be a walking tour of the property. You will view buildings and grounds and become acquainted with the facilities, while learning about the history of the Center. Distance covered is about two city blocks.
 Dinner: Blandin Dining Hall. Meals on site are served in the Blandin Dining Hall, just 40 feet from your Dormitory. Enjoy the exhibit displays, stained glass windows, local artwork, beautiful stone fireplace and view of the lake along with your meal. Our meals are served buffet style by our kitchen staff. Our signature shade grown, organic coffee and an assortment of teas are always available with every meal.
 Evening: We will gather for introductions to one another, the Center and for a review of the week's schedule. Part of the orientation will include name games and other interactive games for all ages
Accommodations: Audubon Center of the North Woods
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Canoeing Grindstone Lake/Minnesota Reptiles & Amphibians/Outdoor Survival Skills/Beaver Ecology/Wolf Behavior and Adaptations
(Monday, July 21)

Note: Canoeing is a popular Minnesota activity on our lakes and rivers. You will get first-hand instruction and the chance to paddle on beautiful, clear Grindstone Lake. At over 150 feet deep, it is quite impressive! You will also learn about the frogs, toads, salamanders, turtles and fish native to Minnesota, and see them up close and personal. During the evening learn about one of the most captivating animals in North America- the gray wolf. Minnesota is home to the lower 48's largest population.

 Breakfast: Blandin Dining Hall
 Morning: This morning you will participate in one of two classes. One will be covering canoeing techniques on beautiful Grindstone Lake. The other class will be on the area reptiles and amphibians. You will get to see our live specimens in our wildlife classroom, and also collect some in the field.
 Lunch: Blandin Dining Hall
 Afternoon: This afternoon there will participate in one of two classes. In one class you will get to find out about once-most important fur bearing animal in North America, the beaver. Learn about this amazing creature and all its adaptations that make it just as comfortable in the water as a fish! You will get to see old beaver dams and lodges as well as see how they change the habitat of an area. The other class is our outdoor survival class. Learn how to build shelters, what items to always carry with you in the woods, how to construct and build fires using multiple methods, and put all your skills to the test with a fun survival simulation of shelter and fire building.
 Dinner: Blandin Dining Hall
 Evening: This evening course will be focused on the most intriguing predator in the north woods- the wolf. In this interactive evening program learn about wolf behavior, social structure and communication, and the habitat and distribution of the wolf. Lots of materials and props make this a howling good time.
Accommodations: Audubon Center of the North Woods
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Canoeing Grindstone Lake/Minnesota's Reptiles & Amphibians/Beaver Ecology/Outdoor Survival Skills/ Birds of Prey Program
(Tuesday, July 22)

Note: Explore our beaver area and see the impact beavers have on an ecosystem, and learn about their fascinating adaptations to water. Test your survival skills in our outdoor suvival class. We will go over the basics of what to do in a wilderness setting, tips and skills to use- and then let you put them to the test building shelters, fires and cooking over a campfire! During the evening you will be able to learn from our feathered staff members- including hawks, owls and falcons up close!

 Breakfast: Blandin Dining Hall
 Morning: This morning you will participate in the morning class you didn't take yesterday. If you took Canoeing on Monday, you will take Minnesota's Reptiles and Amphibians on this day and vice versa.
 Lunch: Blandin Dining Hall
 Afternoon: This afternoon you will participate in the class you didn't take yesterday afternoon. If you took Beaver Ecology, you will take Outdoor Survival Skills and vice versa.
 Dinner: Blandin Dining Hall
 Evening: Tonight's program will be Birds of Prey, using our own educational raptors which include falcons, hawks, owls, and a bald eagle. During this exciting program, learn all about what makes these "hunters of the sky" successful, their amazing features and adaptations. A program sure to delight all ages.
Accommodations: Audubon Center of the North Woods
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Rock Climbing/Ropes Challenge Course/Game Night
(Wednesday, July 23)

Note: During this adventure day you will be able to challenge yourself on our 30 ft indoor rock climbing wall, and on our Skywalk High Ropes course, capped off by a trip down our zipline! This evening will be activities and games to enjoy.

 Breakfast: Blandin Dining Hall
 Morning: This morning you will participate in one of two classes. Our indoor climbing wall features eleven different ropes, featuring four overhangs, a chimney, and a vertical crack. Learn some basic climbing skills and test them out on our wall. The other class is our High Ropes Course. This course features seven different activities and a zipline to challenge yourself in a safe setting. This course is one that is sure to leave you feeling exhilerated!
 Lunch: Blandin Dining Hall
 Afternoon: A switch of the morning classes. Those who participated in Climbing will take High Ropes and vice versa.
 Dinner: Blandin Dining Hall
 Evening: Tonight you will get the chance to let your creative juices flow as you try Native American crafts such as quill work, twining, and shell work. There will also be Native American games you will learn and get to play as well.
Accommodations: Audubon Center of the North Woods
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: North West Fur Post/Hinckley Fire Museum/Native American Crafts & Games
(Thursday, July 24)

Note: On this field trip day, enjoy a visit to the historic Northwest Company Fur Post and learn all about the Voyageur -fur trade of the 1600-1800s. This authentic post has re-enactments and hands-on exhibits and materials. We will then enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch along the Snake River, and then journey to the Hinckley Fire Museum. It is here we will learn about one of the most catastrophic fires in world history. During the evening you will learn how to make traditional Ojibwe crafts.

 Breakfast: Blandin Dining Hall
 Morning: From the 1600s-1800s the North County was witness to the largest fur trade industry in our continent's history. The Voyageurs paddled up to 70 miles a day carrying goods to trade for animal pelts with Native Americans to be sold back in Europe. This morning we will go on a field trip to the North West Fur Post, a restored Fur trading company site run by the Minnesota Historical Society and learn about this colorful chapter in Minnesota's history. This engaging and realistic post is complete with costumed guides and a variety of indoor and outdoor exhibits, buildings and facilities. You won't want to forget your camera on this day!
 Lunch: Picnic Lunch
 Afternoon: Every year you hear about wildfires burning out west that eat up thousands of acres. Today you will learn of a fire that dwarfs those by comparison. The Hinckley Fire of 1894 burned over 400 square miles in less than four hours, with flames reaching 5 miles high! This afternoon we will visit the Hinckley Fire Museum and learn how this fire happened, the conditions that created it, and see original photographs and artifacts.
 Dinner: Blandin Dining Hall
 Evening: A group campfire with s'mores, stories, and a group-wide talent show. A great way to spend the last evening!
Accommodations: Audubon Center of the North Woods
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Stream Invertebrates and Pond Life/Wrap Up/Departure
(Friday, July 25)

Note: There is much to discover in the water! During this morning you will use buckets, nets and magnifying scopes to collect and examine all the amazing life in our streams and ponds. We will then conclude the program with a week wrap-up

 Breakfast: Blandin Dining Hall.
 Morning: Ever wondered what's in the water around you? This morning we will take a look at what is living in the Audubon Center ponds. We will collect water samples and bring them back to the classroom and examine them under the microscope. You won't believe all the things you find under the magnifying glass! You won't look at water the same way again. We will finish with a summation of the week and closing thoughts.
 Lunch: Blandin Dining Hall
 Afternoon: Shuttle and Departures at 1 pm
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Reptiles & Amphibians of Minneosta

Author: Stan Tekiela

The Beaver: Its Life & Impact 2nd Edition

Author: Dietland Muller-Schwarze

The Lives of Wolves, Coyotes & Foxes

Author: Stan Tekiela

Handbook of American Indian Games

Author: Allan and Paulette Macfarlan


Author: American Canoe Association

Northern Pine County (Images of America Series)

Author: Earl J. Foster and Amy Troolin

The Illustrated Voyageur: Paintings & Companion Stories

Author: Howard Sivertson

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