St. Joseph County Parks

Your Place for Outdoor Family Fun!
Bendix WoodsFerrettie/BaugoCrone Restoration AreaLaSalle TrailSpicer LakeSt. Patrick'sAnderson RoadChamberlain Lake
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Special Events:
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Big Trees
Boomers & Beyond
Calendar of Events
Indiana Master Naturalist
Leisure Activities
Nature Munchkins
Outdoor Wildlife for Seniors
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Calendar of Events


For program information or reservations call 574/654-3155.


  • 1              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 Pets Connect! Pets must be on a 6-foot leash.

  • 1              Saturday
  • Women Experience the Outdoors: Sandhill Cranes at Jasper-Pulaski
  • Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area
  • Depart 3pm: Bendix Woods County Park Nature Center
  • Fee: $8/person

This trip is designed for women who want to learn about the life cycle of the sandhill cranes and their massive fall migration. Bring a sack lunch for an evening meal and save room for homemade baked goods! Registration and payment are required by October 27. (Min.10, Max. 20).

  • 2              Sunday
  • Run Up Cyclocross
  • Bendix Woods County Park: Glenn Bauer Shelter

For more information visit or Run Up Cyclocross on Facebook.

  • 7              Friday
  • Studebaker Trees Volunteer Clean-up Day
  • Bendix Woods County Park: Nature Center
  • 10am to 3pm

Help us preserve the historic Studebaker Trees! We will be cutting vines, shrubs and small trees within the letters. Please wear long pants, sturdy shoes and a long-sleeved shirt. Also, bring a pair of gloves. If you wish to stay for the entire day, bring a lunch.

  • 8              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 5pm
  • Fee:  $5/person

Bring some chili to contribute to the lunch pot and learn how to use a GPS device on a high-tech “treasure hunt” to find caches at St. Patrick’s and throughout the world! A special geocache course and prizes will be set up just for this event! Bowls, spoons, fixin’s and drinks provided. Registration is required by November 5. (Min. 4; max. 15)

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

Welcome, home school families! Find out what seeds need to grow as you play Maple Seed Mix-Up, compete in the Seed Olympics, and taste a few delicious wild seeds! Registration is required by November 11.

  • 15           Saturday
  • Pottery Made Easy
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
  • 9am to noon
  • Fee: $10/person

Join a local pottery craftsperson to learn the “slump” method of pottery making. Make a bowl, pot or cup using self-hardening clay that does not require kiln firing. All materials provided. Registration and payment are required by November 12. (Min. 6; max. 12)

Other Park Programs

Coming this fall...Indiana Master Naturalist!

(IMN) Program provides participants (18 years or older) with hands-on classes 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 and other parks in the county. In addition to completing the required classes, participants will also volunteer an equivalent number of hours to receive the Indiana Master Naturalist certification. Weekly evening classes will be scheduled from September through November.

Click here for a Indiana Master Naturalist brochure.

Nature Munchkins

Nature Munchkins is designed for parents or grandparents to discover nature with their 3- to 4-year old. The sessions are on Thursdays from 9:30 to 11am at St. Patrick’s County Park. The fee is $5 per adult/child and $3 for a second child, or register for four sessions for $16. Advance registration and payment are required. (Min. 5; max. 10) Siblings outside of the age bracket are not allowed to attend.

  • September 25: Bugs
  • October 16: Creepy Critters
  • November 13: Animals Prepare for Winter
  • December  18: Winter Birds

Boomers & Beyond:

Outdoor Wild Life Series (O.W.L.S)
“Nature Provides” Natural History Series
Programs for those age 50 and better!
What is out there? How does it survive? Nature provides all that wild animals and humans need! Learn what wildlife lives in Northern Indiana; how fur traders and pioneers lived when our region was still “wild” and how Mother Nature, even during brutal winters, provides for wild creatures.
Fee: $5/person/program OR $30 for the entire 7-week program series. Registration and payment required the Friday before each program. Programs are from 2 to 3pm on Tuesdays. Max. 12 for each program.

Click here for a Boomers & Beyond brochure.

The How and Why of Migration
September 16
St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
Do earthworms migrate? Why do some birds stay for the winter when they could just fly off?  How do birds, butterflies and other wild creatures find their way? Find out the real reasons that creatures undertake these sometimes arduous journeys, and how they know where they are going!

Voyageurs and the Fur Trade
September 23
Ferrettie/Baugo Creek County Park: Baugo Station: Astor Room
Who were the voyageurs? What drew them to this area? What did they do and where did they go when the weather became cold and the water-ways were impassable? Come discover what life was like for this jovial group of men.

How Do They Do It?  Winter Survival
September 30
Bendix Woods County Park: Nature Center
Last year’s winter cold rewrote the record books! Yet, when spring came, the frogs, squirrels, insects, turtles, fish and even the resident birds seemed no worse for wear. Find out: how did they survive the record cold? When is a harsh winter a GOOD thing?

 The Pioneers – How did they do that?
October 7
Ferrettie/Baugo Creek County Park: Baugo Station: Astor Room
Staying warm, having enough food, meeting just basic needs, how did the pioneers do this? We’ll explore how the pioneers met their most basic needs when they first settled in this area.

Fall Trees
October 14
Spicer Lake Nature Preserve: Visitor Center
Enjoy a fall foliage hike with a focus on using bark, leaves and form to identify a selection of native trees.

Hibernation, what is it all about?
October 21
St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
There are various myths told about animals who hibernate but are they really true? A park interpreter will discuss these tales and also talk about other means of winter sleep with the various animals found in Michiana.

Fruits of Fall  
October 28
Bendix Woods County Park: Nature Center
From walnuts and persimmons to paw paws and hickory nuts, nature provides a bounty of wild edibles in the fall. Learn how to use a few of these to prepare tasty treats, and sample the delicious results!

Outdoor Wild Life for Seniors (O.W.L.S)

  • Tuesday, June 17
  • A Hike to Spicer Lake
  • Spicer Lake Nature Preserve: Visitor Center
  • 11am
  • Fee: $5/participant

Enjoy a leisurely hike along the boardwalk at Spicer Lake and learn what a great habitat a wetland can be! Bring a sack lunch if you wish, for a picnic after the program.

  • Tuesday, July 22
  • From Farm to County Park
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Harvest Room
  • 11am
  • Fee: $5/participant

Come hear the story of St. Patrick’s County Park and how it went from a working farm owned by the Sisters of the Holy Cross to a county park enjoyed by residents today. Bring a sack lunch if you wish, for a picnic after the program.

  • Tuesday, August 19
  • Voyageurs and the Fur Trade
  • 11am
  • Fee: $5/participant

Who were the voyageurs? Come learn how this jovial group of men assisted in the success of the fur trade. Bring a sack lunch if you wish, for a picnic after the program.