Quarry Hill Nature Center

Parks & Geology / Monday, March 11th, 2019

Can I just tell you how much I love the Quarry Hill Park and Nature Center in Rochester?

The park was originally purchased by the Rochester State Hospital in the 1870s.

In 1882, a cave was hand-carved to serve as a cellar for the storage of many vegetables grown on the State Hospital farm.

Quarry Hill Park was later purchased from the state by the City of Rochester in 1965.

Totally unassuming from the outside, the park is nestled within 300 acres of parkland and is located close to downtown Rochester.

You can step outside the city and enjoy the paved trails and natural hiking in the summer and cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in the winter.

The Nature Center was built in 1972 and opened in 1973 as a cooperative effort between the Rochester Park Department and the Rochester Public School District.

The Nature Center’s Exploration Hall is home to 35 species of live Minnesota-native animals (and a few exotic species) like snakes, turtles, freshwater fish, and a Saw-whet Owl.

Home to several animal ambassadors like Fredricka, the snapping turtle, who is 49 years old and loves it when staff scratches her back.

There is also a 1700 gallon fish aquarium which is home to seven kinds of Minnesota-native fish. The catfish alone weighs 11 pounds. Fun fact: On weekends, visitors can feed minnows, 10 for $1, to the fish in the large aquarium.

The Nature Center also plays host to an indoor beehive, a children’s’ library, a bird watching room, and a large collection of taxidermy.

Interestingly, they have a T.Rex skull that is a cast replica of STAN, the most complete T.rex specimen found to date.

This post was brought to you by Minnesota’s Rochester, but opinions are all my own. #experiencerochestermn #rochmn #onlyinmn #rochester_MN #downtownrochmn

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