Planning your school’s trip
Before you come, please contact park staff by email at [email protected] or by phone at 612-279-3550 to discuss the details of your school’s trip. The park is one of the busiest day-use sites in Minnesota’s state park system with over one million visitors a year. Planning ahead and communicating with park staff prior to your school’s arrival is critical to your field trip’s success. Unscheduled field trips can overload the park’s available facilities such as bathrooms, lunch space and school bus parking. By planning your school’s trip in advance, your school also has the opportunity to work with one of our staff naturalists, who are able to provided age-appropriate programs on our park’s rich cultural history and vast natural resources.
Making your naturalist-led field trip a success:
Please distribute a schedule to all of the teachers and chaperones in your group prior to your arrival. This facilitates smooth transitions between programming and lunch, and assures each student is able to participate in each activity. We recommend pairing chaperones with groups prior to your arrival with a student to adult ratio of ten to one. Teachers and chaperones may be asked to help with materials and supplies, behavior control and other duties as needed.
Students will be engaging in active indoor and outdoor learning and should be dressed to be comfortable in the predicted weather conditions. We recommend sturdy, weather appropriate footwear and layered clothing. Snow boots are always recommended for winter programming and flip flops are not recommended at any time of year. Students should bring a filled water bottle as water fountains on site are limited. Students and staff should be tick conscious at all times of year – ticks are active throughout the winter if conditions are right! Read more about tick prevention and removal here. Nametags for students is always appreciated. Remind your students that this is a public park and that they will be sharing the park with dog walkers, bird watchers, bike riders and many more.
The park address is 101 Snelling Lake Road, St. Paul, MN 55111. We recommend supplying chaperones and bus drivers with driving instructions in advance of your trip. Download the map. The park entrance is located directly across Highway 5 from the MSP Airport. As you approach the park from the east or west on Highway 5, look for brown state highway signs directing you to the state park and the Post Road exit. Do not follow signs to Historic Fort Snelling – this is a separate site. From Post Road, follow signs down the hill into the park. Please stop at the front contact station for the free bus entrance pass. Additional vehicles must have a valid Minnesota State Parks permit. These free, day use, education permits are also available at the front ranger station. Please account for an additional 15 minutes of travel time between stopping at the contact station and driving the two additional miles to the Visitor’s Center. Running late? Please call us at 612-279-3550 as soon as you can!
Park naturalists rarely cancel programs due to weather. They will be ready to teach rain, shine or snow. If inclement weather occurs during a program, they will adjust the activity and spend more time indoors or under shelter. Park staff will contact you as soon as possible if a program needs to be canceled in advance.
If you need to cancel, contact the naturalists as soon as possible. Please understand they may not be able to reschedule – their schedules fill up quickly!
Outdoor lunch space is available throughout the park. Picnic tables are available at the Visitor Center, Picnic Island and Snelling Lake Beach. In the event of inclement weather, limited indoor facilities are available only to naturalist-lead trips. Running water and flush toilets are seasonally available at Picnic Island and the Snelling Lake Beach. Running water and flush toilets are available year round at the Visitor Center and the Contact Station. There are no refrigerators or microwaves for school group use. Please bring large waste bags for your school’s trash and place trash in the most convenient dumpster to your school’s lunch space. Your field trip site may not have a space to store lunches, so you may need to store these on the bus. If a member of your group requires an accommodation, please let park staff know.
Fort Snelling State Park strives to make field trip experiences accessible to students of all backgrounds and abilities. Please call us at 612-279-3550 to discuss any accommodations your group may need. The park is able to provide a wide range of accommodations with advanced notice such as sign language interpreters, a wheelchair for use on site and private rooms for tube feeding or nursing mothers. Our trails provide a wide variety of conditions and grades, so please let us know what works best for your group.
Thomas C. Savage visitor center
We are so glad you are here! Please be mindful that the visitor’s center is a public use facility even when your school group is on site. Try to keep students contained to the program area and conscious of their volume while indoors. If eating indoors, students must eat in the meeting room and dispose of all trash. Also, shoes must be worn at all times. If students would like to visit the gift store, an adult must accompany them at all times. Please try to leave the space in the same condition as when you arrived.