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St. Joseph County Parks

Your Place for Outdoor Family Fun!
Bendix WoodsFerrettie/BaugoCrone Restoration AreaLaSalle TrailSpicer LakeSt. Patrick'sAnderson RoadChamberlain Lake
 
Special Events:
Bicentennial Birthday Bash
Running Wild 2016
 
Park Programs:
Big Trees
Boomers and Beyond
Calendar of Events
Guided Park Hikes
IN Master Naturalist
Leisure Activities
Nature Munchkins
School & Scout
 
Information:
Annual Report
Contacts
Deer Management
Support School Programs
Employment/ Volunteer Opps
Facility Rental Information
The Friends of St. Joseph County Parks
Park Foundation
Park Hours/Fees
Park Maps
Master Plan
Greenways Charrette
Park Related Links
Request for Proposals
Park Rules

Calendar of Events

For Outdoor Fun, check out these workshops, nature programs, family activities and more!
For information or to register for events, phone 574-654-3155 or email bendixwoods@sjcparks.org.
All programs have a minimum and maximum registration number; register early!

Fifty for 50!

In honor of the County Parks’ 50th Anniversary, we are celebrating with 50 free or discounted programs and special offers throughout the year! Look for this symbol highlighting the “Fifty for 50” events!


 August


  • 12           Friday
  • Women Experience the Outdoors: Summer Night Sky
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Red Barn
  • 9 to 11pm
  • Fee: $7/person

Spend an evening absorbing the beauty of the night sky. A brief presentation will introduce you to the night sky at this time of year. Afterwards, enjoy refreshments, look through a telescope, and chat with a member of the Michiana Astronomical Society who will be on hand to answer questions and share their knowledge. Observe the waxing moon at twilight and watch for a shooting star (the Perseid Meteor Showers peak on August 12). Registration and payment are required by August 8.


  • 17           Wednesday
  • Archery Lesson
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
  • 6 to 8pm
  • Fee: $10/person
  • Ages 12 & up, accompanied by adult

Join a local archery instructor for an archery lesson. Get hands-on experience with all the equipment and enjoy a
personalized shooting lesson. Registration and payment are required by August 15.


  • 20           Saturday
  • Running Wild: 5K Trail Run & 3K Fun Walk
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Red Barn
  • Registration begins at 8am
  • Run/walk starts at 9am

A FUNd-raising run and walk to benefit St. Joseph County Parks. Help us raise funds for park projects, including
scholarships to help schools cover the cost of transportation to the parks for programs. Dogs on leashes are welcome for the family fun walk. Fun walk will have a nature scavenger hunt. Age division prizes for timed run. To register click here.


  • 21           Sunday
  • Boomers and Beyond Day

To celebrate 50 years of outdoor fun, St. Joseph County Parks will waive the park entrance fee for Boomers (50 yrs +). Valid ID required.


  • 27           Saturday
  • Orienteering Meet
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Hurwich Shelter
  • 10am
  • Fee: $10/person plus gate fee

Orienteering is a cross country race with a map and compass. Use a map to make your way between checkpoints. For more information visit tinyurl.com/zyfc753.


September


  • 1              Thursday
  • Bag a Bat and a Batnana Split
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Red Barn
  • 7:30 to 10pm
  • Fee: $3/person

Discover the world of the bats of Indiana. Observe mist netting and procedures biologists use to record information about bats. End the evening with a batnana split. Registration and payment are required by August 29.


  • 8              Thursday
  • Field Habitat: Fall Home School Program
  • Bendix Woods County Park: Glenn Bauer Shelter
  • 10 to 11:30am                     Fee: $3/child

Welcome, home school families! Help us solve “The Case of the Skeleton in the Field”! Explore a field habitat, take a census of the creatures that live there, and hunt for the mystery skeleton. Registration is required by September 6.


  • 9              Friday
  • Women Experience the Outdoors: Voyageurs and the Fur Trade
  • Ferrettie/Baugo Creek County Park: Baugo Station Astor Room
  • 10am to 12pm
  • Fee: $8/person

Women, travel back in time in honor of Indiana’s Bicentennial! Learn about the fur-trading voyageurs of the early 1800s and take a trip down Baugo Creek in a 34-foot-long replica birch bark canoe! Registration and payment are required by September 6.


  • 11           Sunday
  • Ringing of the Bell Ceremony
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Freedom Memorial
  • 9am

Clay Fire Territory, Mishawaka and South Bend Fire will join together and commemorate the 15th anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001.


  • 13           Tuesday
  • IUSB’s Raclin School of the Arts
    A Place to Be Somebody: The Charles Gordone Story
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Fischgrund Center for the Performing Arts
  • 6:30pm (gates open at 5pm)
  • Adults: $10, Students/children: FREE

This original production highlights the life of Charles Gordone, the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize in Drama and a graduate of Elkhart High School. Advance sales at the IUSB Arts Box Office: 574/520-4203 or arts.iusb.edu.


  •  21, 28; Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26      Wednesdays
  • Boomers and Beyond: Walking Club
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
  • 10 to 11:15am
  • Fee $18/person for 6 sessions
  • Ages: 50 and older

Boomers, meet other people who are interested in walking for fitness on the scenic park trails. Each walk will last 40 minutes, followed by brain-boosting paper and pencil activities from Memorial BrainWorks. Boost your health and wellness! Registration and payment are required by September 19.


  • 22           Thursday
  • Fun First Fishing
  • Ferrettie/Baugo Creek County Park: Baugo Station
  • 5:30 to 7pm
  • Fee: $2/person

Ages 6-12 and must be accompanied by adult. A beginner fishing lesson for kids! Learn equipment basics, knot tying, fish identification, and casting techniques followed by on-the-pond fishing. Registration and payment are required by September 19.


  • 24           Saturday
  • Canoe and Campfire
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
  • 5:30 to 8:30pm
  • Fee: $25/canoe, up to 3 people

Relax and unwind while enjoying a late summer evening paddle followed by a campfire and s’mores. All equipment will be provided. Not recommended for children 3 and under. Registration and payment are required by September 21.


  •  4th Annual ND-LEEF Science Sunday
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: ND-LEEF
  • 1 to 4pm
  • Free

Come learn about the current research at the Notre Dame Linked Experimental Ecosystem Facility (ND-LEEF).
Scientists will be on site to answer your questions and there will also be hands-on exhibits for kids. Complimentary light refreshments will be provided. Date TBA. Check ndleef.nd.edu for details.


  •  25           Sunday
  • Brownie Girl Scouts: Wonders of Water
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
  • 2 to 4:30pm
  • Fee: $5/scout

Experience the many Wonders of Water that are a part of your Girl Scout Journey. Learn the amazing things water can do; become friends with a stream; meet some tiny creatures that can tell us about water pollution and ponds; learn how you can keep water clean and healthy for the world! A mid-afternoon snack will be provided. Registration and payment are required by September 19.


  •  30           Friday
  • Make your Own Scarecrow
  • Bendix Woods County Park: Van Paris Shelter
  • 6 to 8:30pm
  • Fee: $25/up to family of 4, $2/additional family member

Welcome the fall season with an evening hayride and build your own scarecrow!  Scarecrow materials will be provided, but you may bring your own unique outfits, hats and accessories (one scarecrow per family).  Enjoy a campfire and s’mores, too! Registration and payment are required by September 27.


October


  • 2         Sunday
  • Bike Michiana for Hospice
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Red Barn

A family ride and 25-mi., 40-mi., 100-k, 100-mi. and 200-k rides are available. Post-ride party is at St. Patrick’s County Park.
For information or to register visit www.bikemichianaforhospice.org.



  •  5, 12, 19, 26      Wednesdays
  • Boomers and Beyond: Walking Club
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
  • 10 to 11:15am
  • Fee $18/person for 6 sessions
  • Ages: 50 and older

Boomers, meet other people who are interested in walking for fitness on the scenic park trails. Each walk will last 40 minutes, followed by brain-boosting paper and pencil activities from Memorial BrainWorks. Boost your health and wellness! Registration and payment are required by September 19.



  • 8              Saturday
  • Bicentennial Birthday Bash
  • Bendix Woods County Park
  • 11am to 4:30pm
  • Free

Greet the State Torch Relay as it passes
through St. Joseph County. Music, dance, food and fun for the whole family! Click here for a printable flyer.


  • 13           Thursday
  • Field Habitat: Fall Home School Program
  • Bendix Woods County Park: Glenn Bauer Shelter
  • 10 to 11:30am
  • Fee: $3/child

Welcome, home school families! Gather clues about the identity of the mystery skeleton. Discover what group the creature belonged to and how big it was. Registration is required by October 11.


  • 14           Friday
  • Fall Paddles and Pastries Kayak Trip
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
  • 5 to 7:30pm
  • Fee: $20/person

Ages 12 and older. Escape the stress of busy schedules and enjoy a peaceful, refreshing fall paddle down the St. Joseph River.
The evening will conclude with a delicious pastry. Registration and payment are required by October 11.


  • 15       Saturday
  • St. Pat’s 24-hr Run
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Red Barn
  • Run begins at 8am

For more information, visit www.stpats24hour.com.


  • 16           Sunday
  • Make your Own Scarecrow
  • Bendix Woods County Park: Van Paris Shelter
  • 12:30 to 3pm
  • Fee: $25/up to family of 4, $2/additional family member

Welcome the fall season with a daytime hayride and build your own scarecrow! See September 30 program description. Registration and payment are required by October 13.


  • 21           Friday
  • Sing-Along and S’mores Hayride
  • Bendix Woods County Park: Runnels Shelter
  • 6 to 8pm
  • Fee: $3/person

Bring your friends or family to the campfire! Sing along with the guitar music (lyrics provided to popular songs just in case you don’t remember them all). Make a s’more and go on a hayride. A fun evening for all. Registration and payment are required by October 17.


  • 22 & 23                 Saturday & Sunday
  • Portraits in the Park
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: White Barn
  • 3 to 5:30pm
  • Fee: $25/family

The colors are changing and it is the perfect season to capture photos of your family! Join professional photographer Joe Colpitts for a 20-minute photo shoot and receive one 8x10 portrait and access to portraits to share. Additional photos can be purchased. Registration and payment are required by October 18.


November


  • 4              Friday
  • Family Passport to Play: Hayride and S’mores
  • Bendix Woods County Park: Van Paris Shelter
  • 5:30 to 7:30pm
  • Free

Enjoy this colorful time of year with a tractor-drawn hayride. A campfire, s’mores and hot cocoa await you after the brisk ride. For more information, visit the Healthworks! Happenings calendar and Family Passport to Play on Facebook.


  •  4              Friday
  • Climate Change: the Effects on Plants and Animals since the Last Ice Age
  • Spicer Lake Nature Preserve: Visitor Center
  • 7pm
  • Free

Professor Jack Williams of the University of Wisconsin and his research team present their findings from soil cores taken from Spicer Lake Nature Preserve. Registration is required by October 31.


  • 5              Saturday
  • Tail Waggin’ Hayride
  • Bendix Woods County Park: Otahnagon Area
  • 1 to 4pm
  • Fee: $3/person and donated pet items

Bring your dog for a tractor-drawn hayride through the crisp autumn air. Light refreshments for dogs and owners are available for purchase. Pet-related donations aid PetsConnect! Pets must be on a 6-foot leash. Pet costumes welcome.


  • 5              Saturday
  • Sandhill Cranes at Jasper-Pulaski
  • Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area
  • Depart: Bendix Woods County Park Nature Center
  • 4pm
  • Fee: $8/person

Are you interested in traveling to see the annual migration of the Sandhill Cranes? Bring a sack lunch for an evening dinner. There is a small amount of walking and stair climbing to the observation deck. Please dress for the weather and bring binoculars. Registration is required by October 31.


  • 10           Thursday
  • Field Habitat: Fall Home School Program
  • Bendix Woods County Park: Glenn Bauer Shelter
  • 10 to 11:30am
  • Fee: $3/child

Welcome, home school families! Measure and compare bones to discover the identity of the mystery skeleton. Make a button as a reward for solving the case! Registration is required by November 8.


  • 12           Saturday
  • Geocache Chili Dump
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: White Barn Harvest Room
  • GPS coordinates: N 41° 45.428’, W 086° 16.207’
  • 1 to 4pm
  • Fee: $5/person

Bring some chili for the lunch pot and learn how to use your smart phone on a high-tech “treasure hunt” to find caches at and around St. Patrick’s County Park! Bowls, spoons, fixin’s and drinks provided. Registration is required by November 9.


  • 19           Saturday
  • Crochet for Beginners
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Harvest Room
  • 9am to noon
  • Fee: $8/person
  • Ages 12 to adult

Have you tried knitting but could never get the hang of using two needles at the same time? Then crochet might be for you! Learn how to make basic stitches and read instructions. Hook and yarn provided. Registration and payment are required by November 14.


  • 30           Wednesday
  • Hammered Holiday Cards
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
  • 5:30 to 7:30pm
  • Fee: $3/person

Make holiday cards with hammers! Use live evergreens and a flower-pounding technique to decorate cards with a “faux watercolor” look. All materials provided. Suitable for ages 5 to adult. Registration and payment are required by November 24.


December


  • 3              Saturday
  • Mom and Me Pottery
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
  • 9 to 11:30am
  • Fee: $14/pair

Join a local pottery craftsperson to learn the “slump” method of pottery making. Make a decorative bowl, pot or cup together using self-hardening clay that does not require firing. All materials provided. Registration and payment are required by November 16.


Other Park Programs


Garden Work Days

When: Mondays, September 12 and 26
Site: Bendix Woods County Park: Nature Center
Time: 9:30am to 12pm

Volunteers are needed to help with weeding the gardens. Call 574-654-3155 to register.


Comming this fall...

Indiana Master Naturalist

Coming this fall… Indiana Master Naturalist (IMN) Program provides participants (18 years or older) with hands-on classes to learn about the natural history and resources of Indiana. This 11-week course will offer sessions on soils, water, botany, birds, insects/spiders and much more! Sessions will be presented by area specialists/educators at the county parks. Click here for a program brochure.


Nature Munchkins

Discover nature with your 3- to 4- year old! Sessions are the third Thursday of every month from 9:30 to 11am at St. Patrick’s Park. The fee is $5 per adult/child pair and $3 for a second child. You may register for four sessions for $16. Advance registration and payment are required. Siblings outside of the age bracket are not allowed to attend.

  • September 15 - Bugs and Spiders
  • October 20 - Owls
  • November 17 - Deer
  • December 15 - Winter Birds
Nature Munchkins

Guided Park Hikes

It’s fall and we’re exploring the County Parks! Come learn about unique fall features while enjoying all the color on a FREE guided hike! Hikes last 60-90 minutes and begin at 5pm. Register by the Friday before the hike.

October 12:
St. Patrick’s County Park – Brown Barn

October 19:
Spicer Lake Nature Preserve – Visitor Center

October 26:
Ferrettie/Baugo Creek County Park – Baugo Station

November 2:
Bendix Woods County Park – Nature Center


Boomers and Beyond Outdoor Wild Life Series (O.W.L.S)

“Comeback Creatures” Programs for those 50 years of age and better!

When: Tuesdays
Time: 2 to 3pm
Fee: $7/person/program OR $25 for the entire 4-week program series.
Registration and payment are required the Friday before each program.

September 6
Indiana’s Comeback Creatures: Setting the Stage
Bendix Woods County Park: Nature Center

September 13
Beavers
Ferrettie/Baugo Creek County Park: Baugo Station: Astor Room

September 20
Whitetail Deer
Spicer Lake Nature Preserve: Visitor Center

September 27
Eagles
St. Patrick’s County Park: ND-LEEF: Morrison Family Pavilion