Animal tracks

Wild River State Park

1-2 p.m. Friday

Snow reveals the animal kingdom’s playground. Come out and see what all the footprints mean. Snowshoes provided if there is enough snow to use them. Meet at the visitor center. (651-583-2125, ext. 227,

Snow science

Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

10:30-11:15 a.m. Saturday

How are snowflakes formed? What makes snowflakes unique? Get answers and more. Meet at the interpretive center. (1-320-532-3269,

Christmas Bird Count

Lake Carlos State Park

7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday

Take part in the 115th Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count in the Alexandria, Minn., area. Stay a few hours or spend the whole day. Information collected is used to track migration patterns and changes in winter bird species abundance throughout North America. Meet at the visitor center between 7:30 and 8 a.m. for assignment of count areas and a quick lesson on bird identification and counting techniques. You do not have to be an expert birder to participate. (1-320-852-7200,

Snowshoe hike

Wild River State Park

1-2:30 p.m. Saturday

Finish the year with a guided snowshoe hike to the St. Croix River. Along the way, you may see some of the wildlife that call the park home. The program will be canceled if the windchill is 15 below. (651-583-2125, ext. 227,

Candlelight walk

Fort Snelling State Park

4-8 p.m. Saturday

Grab your family and ring in 2017. Hike miles of candlelit trails, warm up at one of several bonfires and toast marshmallows. The annual event draws nearly 2,000 people. Save time by getting your vehicle permit ($5 per day) in advance at (612-725-2724)

First Day hikes

Frontenac State Park (and numerous other state parks)

1-2:30 p.m. Sunday

Take a guided snowshoe hike to celebrate the new year. Learn how wildlife adapt for the winter and watch for signs of wildlife along a one-mile trail loop. Snowshoes are available for rent at the park office, or bring your own. Be prepared to walk if there isn’t enough snow for snowshoeing. Meet at the picnic shelter. (651-345-3401,

First Day hikes are happening at state parks across the United States. They are part of a national effort to get more children and families outdoors in 2017. See for details on First Day hikes at Minnesota’s state parks.