Polk County, Wisconsin is a small area that lies just an hour to the north east of the Twin Cities in Minnesota and you can find the D.D. Kennedy Environmental there. It is a county park that has 106 acres of learning fun for kids of all ages. Any child can go to learn and experience nature first hand in a quiet and wild atmosphere.
The Environmental Center has nature trails that are paved, and handicapped accessible. The trails are mostly flat and they go completely around the small mill pond that is in the center of the park. As you walk along the nature trails you will see signs to help interpret all the things to see on the trail. Bridges are part of the nature trail so you can walk above the stream and look into the water. Turtles, fish and beaver can be seen swimming in the streams.
Fishing is good at the mill pond and there are several prime spots for you to take your child fishing. You can select a place along the shore, on a pier or on a bridge to throw in a line and try your luck. The pond has a small water fall that is man made with a bridge expanding the top of it so you can walk over the falls and watch the water fall over into the stream below. Along with fishing your child can watch birds of many kinds in the water and in the air.
Lily pads, pines, and other fauna are in the park for your kids to learn about plants, trees and water plants. Oak trees drop acorns and in the fall you can see the large oak trees hold onto their leaves when the other trees drop theirs. The water plants are along the edge of the pond and if you look closely you will see turtles and other wildlife living among the pond plants.
Picnics can be eaten in many places in the park since tables are available in shelters along with grills so you can make your hot dogs or hamburgers after a long hike. You will find restrooms with pit toilets that are clean.
This is a relatively new nature center with many plans for expansion but there is plenty to see and do there now. You may find that it is hard to find the Kennedy Environmental area. It is located south of Balsam Lake, Wisconsin. Take hwy 8 out of Balsam Lake and follow the small brown county park signs. You can find out more information at http://tourism.state.wi.us/item_detail/DD_Kennedy_Environmental_Area/_County_Park.aspx.