About the Lee & Rose Warner Nature Center

This mission of the WNC is to build lasting relationships between people and the natural world.

For over 50 years, the Science Museum of Minnesota and Manitou Fund have worked together to operate Warner Nature Center.

On September 5, 2019, the Science Museum and Manitou Fund announced the Warner Nature Center will be closing, with operations winding down fully by December 31, 2019.

Both the Science Museum and Manitou Fund are extremely grateful to every person who has contributed to its success. Because of the unwavering dedication of employees, volunteers, donors, and the community at-large over the past many years, Warner Nature Center has become one of Minnesota’s most cherished places for nature and outdoor education.


Lee & Rose Warner Nature Center

Over the years, the WNC has provided children and the public with many opportunities to connect and grow with the natural world. They have done this through student programs, volunteer programs, public programs, research studies, forum discussions, etc. These opportunities have benefited the community and future generations.

WNC History

January 1, 1970, the name of the center was changed from the Wilder Nature Center to the Lee and Rose Warner Nature Center when the Lee and Rose Warner foundation purchased the land and buildings and agreed to take over the funding of the center. The foundation had been established by Rose Frenzel Warner in 1959 to carry on interests she shared with her husband Lee Warner.

WNC Student Programs

The Lee & Rose Warner Nature Center provides an ideal location for student classes to visit over 600 acres of forest, grassland, bog, and lakes inhabited by native wildlife such as deer, beaver, raccoon, mink, turtles, frogs, insects, and both resident and migratory birds. The classes begin with a 30-minute indoor presentation by a naturalist, after which students are divided into small groups for a variety of indoor and outdoor activities with volunteer trail guides.

WNC Science Research

The WNC is proud of their tradition of science-based learning. As part of their mission and history, they seek to use their site for research so visitors can have the opportunity to learn about scientists and the WNC staff can learn more about the site we teach on. Some of their scientific research includes bird banding, dragonfly monitoring, buckthorn research, bog ecology research, and Blanding's turtle tracking.

WNC Volunteer Program

You can join over 100 other volunteers who help WNC provide quality environmental education to area children and families. WNC offers a variety of volunteer opportunities for all ages. Whether you want to work with children, animals, or just need an excuse to get outdoors for some physical exercise, Warner can offer you the opportunity to do so.

WNC Public Programs

The WNC is open to the public several times a month for exciting naturalist lead events ranging from open houses to art projects to bird watching and storytelling. Warner offers an exciting array of camps for ages two to adult. You can book a custom program for your private group on a variety of topics.

WNC's Funding

The Lee & Rose Warner Nature Center is generously funded by the Manitou Fund with additional support from family foundations, Friends of Warner, private donations and user fees. The Manitou Fund is possible thanks to the generosity of Lee and Rose Warner and Don McNeely who shared a vision for excellence in outdoor education and for educating people of all ages about the wonders of nature.

WNC's Collections

The WNC's collection includes specimens of birds, mammals, plants, rocks, fossils, fungi, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. They currently have over 4,000 specimens in our collection. Collecting these specimens help the naturalist identify species, teach with real examples, and preserve materials for scientific study.

WNC's Animals

WNC has 13 captive animals that help us educate people about the natural world. All of our animals are in captivity because they are no longer able to survive in the wild. Some of them are injured, like our Barred Owl who is blind in her left eye, while others, like the Spiny Softshell turtle, were formally pets and no longer have the skills to be competitive with their wild counterparts.

WNC's Staff

WNC's staff has changed over the past 50 years but the staff throughout the years have always been passionate about nature and sharing what they know with others. The WNC's current staff is made of 10 hardworking individuals who are dedicated to providing the most optimal programs and research projects at Warner for people to build long-lasting relationships with the natural world.


©2019 by We Love Warner. 

Disclaimer: The content of this website strictly reflects the views and opinions of a group of Warner Nature Center volunteers wishing to continue the legacy of Warner Nature Center and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the staff of Warner Nature Center nor the staff of the Science Museum of Minnesota.