Carl Kroening Center, like nature, is changing

The Carl Kroening Interpretive Center, a nature center in our community along the banks of the Mississippi River, is going through some changes, just like nature! On the horizon is a pending name change. The Minneapolis Park and Rec Board (MPRB) is working to change the name from Carl Kroening Interpretive Center to Carl Kroening Nature Center, which is more descriptive of the facility. It’s a long process. The next public hearing and resulting vote will not be until August/September of 2021, because there is a two year waiting period on the renaming nomination.

The Kroening Center also is adding several new interactive outdoor play assets for visitors of all ages. The play space includes a short Nature Ninja Adventure Trail which is essentially playing “hot lava” in the park instead of jumping from couch to chair at home. It will lead into a nature play space with a woven willow structure by Kelly English from Cheeriup ( and a loose parts play space for fort building and imaginative play. With the play space immediately adjacent to the Kroening Center building we hope it entices more people to visit the Center and to visit more frequently.

The “Nature in the City” exhibit is also being fabricated presently with an anticipated installation date sometime this summer. This too is meant to encourage people to visit more often. It’s designed with components that can change seasonally, and for naturalists to contribute their knowledge and talents as well. The existing exhibits at Kroening Interpretive Center, which date back to the building’s opening in 2002, have been partially dismantled due to safety concerns.


Thanks to the funders listed below, they’ll be replaced with new, hands-on “Nature in the City” exhibits that incorporate citizen science and themes including water (Shingle Creek runs into the Mississippi River at the park’s south end); native plants and pollinators; wildlife, such as coyotes, crows and beavers, and its adaptation to city life; and flight (dragonflies, Mississippi flyway and migration). The project received final approval and funding from the following sources in 2018 that are now underway: $500,000 grant: Environment & Natural Resources Trust Fund; $100,000 funding support from Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO); and $50,0000 funding support from City of Minneapolis Public Works.           

Carl Kroening Interpretive Center opened its doors nearly two decades ago along the banks of the Mississippi River. Residents from the community on both sides of the river diligently worked to help design an asset along the river for what once the City’s Workhouse lawn, and then was home of the Mississippi Courts neighborhood for 40 years.

Carl Kroening Interpretive Center truly is more accurately described by visitors as a nature center for all ages to enjoy. Plan to visit at 4900 Mississippi Court Drive, or contact the Center for their “Stay Safe” hours and upcoming programming at 612-370-4844, or Facebook.