Learn & Play
Freedom Park is free and open to the public, and the Great River Road Visitor & Learning Center is free and open to the public during open hours. Donations to the Friends of Freedom Park nonprofit are gratefully accepted for ongoing high-quality environmental education and operations at the Great River Road Visitor & Learning Center at Freedom Park.
Explore Our Butterfly Garden and Native Plantings: Several educational gardens surrounding the Center feature native plants and include prairie, woodland, wildlife, butterfly and rain gardens. One of 6 art benches in the St. Croix Valley is nestled in our butterfly garden, which features butterfly nectar and larvae food sources, and a waterfall.
Click here to learn about the Art Bench project and how Prescott’s own Bench was developed and created by local families and local artist John Turula.
Click here for a map of Freedom Park and its points of significance.
Wildlife Watching: Use our spotting scopes to watch eagles, raptors and other birds year round. Bring your binoculars for spring and fall migrations of thousands of birds. The Center is on the Great River Road Audubon Birding Trail, and is also a Watchable Wildlife site.
Scenic Vistas and Sunsets: The views of the Mississippi River (and sunsets) are spectacular, and the unique mixing of the blue waters of the St. Croix River with the muddy Mississippi is often visible from the overlooks. Watch barges hauling grain or coal come and go.
To learn more about the area surrounding the confluence of these two rivers, please visit the Great Rivers Confluence website.
Prairie Restoration and Habitat: The park grounds feature century-old bur oaks in an oak savanna setting. Part of the park also encompasses a small remnant of the bluff prairie, a habitat that is considered globally rare. Bluff prairies are home to many unique species of plants and animals. Watch for the blooms of pasque flower, leadplant, and rough blazing star. Keep your eyes peeled for the many rodents, butterflies, and spiders that call the bluff prairie their home.
Playground and Picnics: Children of all ages can enjoy the fun playground just outside the Center’s doors. Picnic tables and benches are scattered throughout the park; rest a while and enjoy the breathtaking bluff top views.
Ongoing Activities at the Great River Road Visitor & Learning Center
Junior Ranger Activities: The Great River Road Visitor & Learning Center is a National Park Service Partner site. The National Park Service has designed a badge activity specifically for our site. Click here to see the Badge Activity.
Art and Nature Backpacks: For children who like to explore and create their own adventures, we have Art and Nature Backpacks that they can check out from the Center! In each backpack, there is one pair of binoculars, art supplies, and other art-, nature-, and education-centered materials that encourage kids to engage with the natural world and with their own creative power.
Educational Displays: Visitors discover and enjoy the unique stories of this region through hands-on, audio-visual exhibits in the Center and many interpretive signs and exhibits outside. From Dakota people who lived at the rivers' confluence for centuries, to newcomers who made a living through fishing and boatbuilding, to those who piloted the steamboats that transported people, products, and ideas along the Mississippi from New Orleans to the Twin Cities, the stories of this region are told through the individuals who lived them.
Art Exhibits: The Center features rotating exhibits of local artists’ work. Each exhibit runs approximately 6 weeks following an artist reception, which offers the public a chance to meet the artist and learn about their inspirations. Selected artwork is for sale, and a portion of the art sales proceeds support the Center’s ongoing programs.
Upcoming Programs & Activities at the Great River Road Visitor & Learning Center
Public Programs: The Center offers a rich array of programs to the public. Our programs spark curiosity, spur creativity, and deepen our understanding and enjoyment of the unique history, culture, and natural resources of the Great Rivers Confluence. Check out our Facebook page and calendar for details. Most of our programs are free. If you would like to receive email announcements about our public programs, please contact us at email@example.com or call 715-262-0104.
Community Events: Freedom Park is a community gathering place and the Center partners with community groups to offer community wide-celebrations that include an Easter Egg Hunt and Prescott Daze. We hope to see you at these fun-filled community events.
Are you a part of a community group that needs space for your meetings and events? Click here for details on renting our facilities.