St. Joseph County Parks

Your Place for Outdoor Family Fun!
Bendix WoodsFerrettie/BaugoPlace Trail MarshLaSalle TrailSpicer LakeSt. Patrick'sAnderson RoadChamberlain Lake
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Calendar of Events

March | April | May | June

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


March


  • 1              Saturday
  • Shakin’ at the Sugar Bush: Sweet Family FUN!
  • Bendix Woods County Park: Glenn Bauer Shelter
  • 1:30 to 4pm
  • Fee: $7/person

A sweet blast from the past for all to enjoy!  First, learn about the old-fashioned art of making warm, sweet maple syrup. Tap a tree and tour our Sugar House to see how we turn maple sap into maple syrup which is, quite literally, “made in the shade.”  Return indoors to enjoy homemade maple syrup milkshakes while you fashion and decorate your own, unique hula-hoop out of maple sap tubing. You will flip for the fun! Registration is required by February 20. Please let us know the height of each person attending so we can prepare your hoop materials! (Min. 7; max. 20)

hula-hoop

  • 9              Sunday
  • Leprechaun’s Lucky Gold Hunt
  • Ferrettie/Baugo Creek County Park: Baugo Station
  • 1 to 3 pm
  • Fee: $5/person
  • Ages 4 to 8

Celebrate upcoming St. Patrick’s Day by hunting for “gold” coins. Search around the park for some of the Leprechaun’s gold coins, which can be traded in for fun prizes. The hunt will begin at 1 pm with a craft and snack to follow. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Registration is required by March 5. (Min. 5; max. 12)


  • 9              Sunday
  • Take Two Hikes and Call Me in the Morning
  • Memorial’s BrainWorks, Leighton Center
  • 3 to 4:30pm
  • Free

These days we have more stress and spend more time indoors than ever. Just a few minutes outdoors can boost your mood and lower your blood pressure! As part of the BrainWorks Sage-ing Council Emerging Trends Series, Parks Director Evie Kirkwood will share insights on the healthy benefits of spending time with nature. Advance registration is appreciated. To register call 574/647-6628.


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

Welcome, home school families! Discover how humans have made maple syrup throughout history. Head outdoors to drill a tree and hang a sap bucket, and visit the sugar house to taste the sweet final product! Registration is required by March 10.


  • 15 & 16     Saturday & Sunday
  • Sugar Camp Days
  • Bendix Woods County Park
  • 8:30am to 3pm
  • Fee:  $7/vehicle

Join us in celebration as the end of winter nears! Watch sap cook into syrup, enjoy a pancake and sausage breakfast (a New Carlisle Lion’s Club fundraiser), tour the Sugar Bush, purchase homemade baked goods made with pure maple syrup, enjoy family music, and much more! Stay the day!


  • 22           Saturday
  • Save that Shirt
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
  • 9 to 11am
  • Fee: $3/person

Give an old shirt a new life, with just a pair of scissors. “Up-cycle” old t-shirts into aprons, tote bags, scarves, and accessories. No sewing necessary! Bring sharp scissors that will cut fabric if you can. Shirts will be provided or bring your own. Registration and payment are required by March 17. (Min. 4; max. 10)

Save the Shirts

  • 22           Saturday
  • How to Hunt Turkey in Indiana
  • Bendix Woods County Park: Nature Center
  • 9 to 11am

This program is designed for adults and youth. Hunting safety, ethics, equipment and natural history will be instructed by IDNR Conservation Officer Mark Richter. Mark has been in the field of law enforcement for over 20 years and is an avid sportsman of waterfowl and other game birds. Registration is required by March 18. (Min. 5; max. 30.)


  • 22           Saturday
  • Spring Sandhill Crane Trip
  • Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area
  • Depart at 4:45pm from Bendix Woods County Park Nature Center
  • Fee: $8/person
  • Transportation provided.

View one of the wonders of spring! Join a park interpreter to watch the Sandhill Cranes as they convene on their trips to nesting grounds. Eat early, or bring a snack supper; park staff will provide homemade treats! There is a small amount of walking and a ramp to the observation deck. We will return to Bendix Woods around 10pm. Registration and payment are required by March 17. (Min. 10; max. 20)


  • 29           Saturday
  • Invasive Species Work Day and Seminar
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
  • 9am to noon

Join the North West IN Cooperative and St. Joseph County Parks for a morning of invasive plant identification and removal. Dress for outdoor work and bring loppers. Registration is required by Monday, March 24. (Min. 5; max. 25).


April


  • 2              Wednesday
  • Spring Home School Program: Soils
  • Bendix Woods County Park: Glenn Bauer Shelter
  • 10 to 11:30am
  • Fee: $3/child

Welcome, home school families! Dig into the dirt and find out what it’s made of! Meet the weird creatures that live underground and find out how people affect soil. Registration is required by March 31.


  • 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, May 7            Wednesdays
  • Boomers and Beyond: Spring Walking Club
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
  • 2 to 3:15 pm
  • Fee: $18/person for 6 sessions

Meet other local people and walk around the beautiful trails of St. Patrick’s County Park. The walks will be around 40 minutes long to feed a good amount of oxygen to your brain, and will be followed by brain-boosting paper and pencil activities from Memorial BrainWorks. Boost your health and wellness! Registration and payment are required by March 28. (Min. 5; max. 15)


  • 7 to 11                   Monday to Friday
  • Free Spring Break Fun!
  • Bendix Woods County Park
  • 10am to 4:30pm
  • Free!

Enjoy spring break with a visit to Bendix Woods! Explore the exhibits in the nature center, play on the playground, walk on a wooded trail or share a picnic in the sunshine. On Thursday, little creatures from the pond will visit the nature center where you can get see them from 10am to 2pm.


  • 12           Saturday
  • Naturally Eggscellent
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
  • 10am to noon
  • Fee: $5/person

Dye eggs the “natural” way this Easter! Use a variety of food items and spices to dye hard-boiled eggs. Take home decorated eggs and the knowledge needed to start experimenting with more colors at home. Registration and payment are required by April 9. (Min. 4; max. 12)

Eggscellent

  • 19           Saturday
  • Fun First Fishing
  • Ferrettie/Baugo Creek County Park:  Baugo Station
  • 10 am to noon
  • Ages 8 & up
  • Gate fee in effect after 10am

In honor of Indiana’s free fishing weekend, join us for this beginners’ fishing lesson. Basics of rods, reels, hooks, lines and baits will be discussed along with hands-on fishing fun. Receive a free aquatic theme poster or coloring book! Registration is required by April 16. (Min. 5; max. 12).


  • 25, 26 & 27    Friday, Saturday & Sunday
  • Nature Photography Workshop
  • Bendix Woods County Park: Nature Center
  • 9am to 5pm all three days
  • Fee: $150/3 days
  • (Participants MUST attend all 3 days)

Join Cliff Zenor, nature photographer, workshop teacher and tour leader and explore how to photograph the natural world. Discover the best techniques for producing better outdoor photographs with your Digital SLR camera. Registration and payment are required by April 17. The workshop is being sponsored by Gene's Camera Store.  (Min. 5; max. 10)

Acrobat Reader Nature Photography Poster Acrobat Reader Nature Photography Brochure

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

Join park staff and a local pottery crafts- person to learn the “slump” method of pottery making using self-hardening clay that does not require firing in a kiln. All materials will be provided. Registration and payment are required by April 23. (Min. 6; max. 12).

Pottery

  • 26           Saturday
  • Audubon Rummage Sale
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Red Barn
  • 8am to 1pm
  • Gate fee in effect after 10am

Shop through a barn full of treasures! This annual event is organized and sponsored by the South Bend-Elkhart Audubon Society. Drop off your donated items on Wed., April 23, from 3 to 5pm; and on Thurs. & Fri., April 24 & 25 from noon to 5:30pm. For more information call 574/243-8739.


  • 27           Sunday
  • NIMBA: Time Trial
  • Bendix Woods County Park: Van Paris Shelter
  • Gate fee in effect after 10am

The Northern Indiana Mountain Bike Association is hosting a time trial at the Bendix Woods County Park Mountain Biking Trail! Proceeds go toward building more trails. For more information, including times and fees, go to nimba-bike.org.


  • 27           Sunday
  • Hoots to Howls
  • Bendix Woods County Park: Studebaker Shelter
  • 1:30pm
  • Fee: $3/person

Experience wildlife up close with wildlife rehabilitator Kim Hoover from Hoots to Howls, Inc. Kim will share information on the habits of several owl, hawk and mammal species native to Indiana as well as personal stories as a wildlife rehabilitator. Registration and payment are required by April 25. (Min. 10; max. 50)


May


  • 3              Saturday
  • Floral Lane Birding Stroll
  • Warren Dunes State Park
  • Depart at 7:45am from St. Patrick’s County Park White Barn parking lot; return 1:30pm.

Spend a morning of birding at one of Warren Dunes State Park’s hidden treasures. Spring warblers, hawks and other migrants may be found. Dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes for hiking. Bring binoculars or borrow a pair from us. Pack a lunch for after the hike. Registration is required by April 28. (Min. 5; max. 10 adults)


  • 3    Saturday
  • Hoosier Riverwatch Volunteer Water Monitor Training
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
  • 8:30am to 4:30pm
  • Free

Become a certified volunteer monitor! Learn water quality monitoring utilizing hands-on habitat, chemical, and biological assessment methods. Gain experience and skills in the use of chemical kits and aquatic insect collection and identification. Sessions are held both inside and outdoors. Bring a sack lunch. Registration is required by April 28. (Min. 4; max. 12)

Hoosier Riverwatch

  • 7              Wednesday
  • Spring Home School Program: Wildflowers
  • Bendix Woods County Park: Runnels Shelter
  • 10 to 11:30am
  • Fee: $3/child

Visit one of the most beautiful spring spots in our county! Learn flower names, facts and folklore, and peek inside a blossom to find out why flowers are so important. Registration is required by May 5.


  • 8              Thursday
  • Go FishIN Crew Captain Workshop
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
  • 9am to 4pm
  • Free

Learn about fish biology, aquatic ecosystems, fish management, basic angling skills, and angler ethics. Become a Crew Captain and take your knowledge and skills to your classroom and community. No experience is needed. All equipment will be provided. Registration is required. To register or ask questions, email dfwed@dnr.IN.gov or call 317/234-8440.


  • 10           Saturday
  • Science for Ambitious Girls!
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Harvest Room
  • 9am to 12:30pm
  • Fee: $10/student

5th-8th grade girls, enjoy a morning of outdoor science fun with hands-on, feet-stomping learning experiments led by women scientists from the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University of South Bend. Join Drs. Jen Tank, Deb Marr and Micha Kilburn as they share their passion for science. Registration and payment are required by May 5. (Min. 20, max. 45)


  • 10           Saturday
  • Vermicomposting for Beginners
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
  • 10am to noon
  • Fee: $5/person

Discover everything you need to know to recycle kitchen scraps into valuable compost for the garden and houseplants. Learn about worms and how they can help to reduce the amount of waste sent to a landfill. Make a small “worm bin” to get started composting at home! Registration and payment are required by May 5. (Min. 4; max. 20)

Vermicomposting

  • 11           Sunday
  • Mother’s Day Canoe & Cookies
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
  • 9 to 11 am
  • Fee: $20/canoe

Close the computer, put the phone down, and avoid the mall parking lot for a while. It’s a day to play, explore and create some adventurous memories while enjoying a canoe trip down a 4-mile stretch of the St. Joseph River. Following the canoe trip enjoy some cookies and milk. All equipment and basic instruction will be provided. Registration and payment are required by May 8. (Min. 4 canoes; max. 16)


  •  16           Friday
  • Exploring the Spring Stars
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
  • 7 to 9pm
  • Fee: $3/person

Come out to the park to see the stars and constellations of spring and summer!  Special guests from the Michiana Astronomical Society will educate and entertain for the evening. Viewing aids will be provided and no experience is necessary.


  • 18           Sunday
  • Get Out There!
  • Ferrettie/Baugo Creek County Park: Oak Tree Shelter
  • 1 to 4pm
  • Fee: $7/vehicle

Come out to the park to experience a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities. Try canoeing or kayaking, learn to fish, play disc golf, practice archery or go geocaching!  This event is designed for the whole family to get outside and enjoy the outdoors!

Get Out There

  • 21           Wednesday
  • Women Experience the Outdoors:  Guided Kayak Trip
  • St. Patrick’s County Park:  Brown Barn
  • 5 to 7pm
  • Fee: $15/person

Join other women and park staff for a leisurely kayak trip on the St. Joseph River to enjoy the splendor of the spring colors. Kayak instructions and snacks will be provided. Registration and payment are required by May 19. (Min.5; max. 10)

Guided Kayak Trip

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

Get hands-on experience with all the equipment and enjoy a personalized shooting lesson. Equipment will be provided. Registration and payment are required by May 27. (Min. 5; max. 15)

Archery

June


  • 8              Sunday
  • Bike the Bend
  • St. Patrick’s County Park: Red Barn
  • 6:30 to 11:30am
  • Fee: $20/adult before April 1; $25/adult after; $30/adult day of the event.
  • Children 17 and under ride free with a registered adult.

Cyclists of all ages and abilities are invited to join in a fun-filled day riding through the streets of South Bend, Mishawaka and along the scenic banks of the St. Joseph River. More than 30 miles of vehicle-restricted streets and trails to ride at your leisure provide a family-friendly, safe and unique way to enjoy our community. St. Patrick’s County Park is a major staging area for the event. For more information log onto www.bikethebend.com.

Bike the Bend

Other Park Programs


Free Fishing Days

  • April 19, May 17, June 7 & 8
  • St. Joseph County Parks
  • 10am to 8:30pm
  • Gate fee in effect

These days only, Indiana residents may fish without a state fishing license in Indiana waters. Free Fishing Days were created by the Indiana General Assembly in 1995 and are designated each year by the director of the Department of Natural Resources to promote angling as a recreational activity.

Free Fishing

Nature Munchkins

Parents and grandparents, discover nature with your 3- to 4- year old at St. Patrick’s County Park. Sessions are scheduled for the third Thursday of every month from 9:30 to 11am. The fee is $5 per adult-child pair and $3 for a second child. Participants may register for four sessions for $16. Advance registration and payment are required. Siblings outside of the age bracket are not allowed to attend. (Min. 5; max. 10)

  • March 20: Owls
  • April 24: Reptiles and Amphibians
  • May 15: Birds
  • June 19: Swamp Stomp for Pond Creatures

Outdoor Adventures Day Camp

Paddle, hike, and navigate your way to adventurous outdoor fun! Outdoor Adventures is a day camp that gives kids age five to 14 an opportunity to discover the wonder of the natural environment. Four camps are offered for different age groups. The camp is held at St. Patrick’s County Park.

Acrobat Reader Outdoor Adventures Day Camp Brochure


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

Seniors, 50 years of age and better, get a taste of your “wild side”! Enjoy a feast for the senses learning about a variety of foods and experiencing the natural world around you. This eight week program series will get you outdoors and sampling some of nature’s delicious bounty!
Fee: $7/person/program OR $50 for the entire 8-week program series. Programs are on Tuesday afternoons from 2 to pm. Registration and payment are required one week prior to each program. Max. 12 for each program.

  • March 11: Tapping Time
    Bendix Woods County Park: Glenn Bauer Shelter
  • March 18: Cooking with Maple Syrup
    Bendix Woods County Park: Nature Center
  • March 25: The White-tailed Deer
    St. Patrick’s County Park: Harvest Room
  • April 1:     Campfire Coffee Can Cooking
    Bendix Woods County Park: Studebaker Shelter
  • April 8:     Feeding Your Backyard Birds
    Spicer Lake Nature Preserve: Visitor Center
  • April 15:   Spring Wildflower Hike
    Bendix Woods County Park: Hardwoods Shelter
  • April 22:   From Pest to Pesto
    St. Patrick’s County Park: Brown Barn
  • April 29:   Wild Edible Salad
    Bendix Woods County Park: Nature Center