Twin Cities Turtle-spotting spots
August 2, 2007 9:11 AM   Subscribe

My wife loves Turtles. Can anyone tell me where best to go, in the Twin Cities area, to see turtles in their natural habitat?

We're looking for (Twin Cities, Minnesota, USA) metro area parks, rivers, lakes, etc.; where we have a good chance of spotting wild turtles basking. While we're on the topic, any tips about the times of day or of year that are most favorable for spotting turtles will also be most welcome.
posted by BigLankyBastard to Science & Nature (8 answers total)
Best answer: I see turtles at Lake of the Isles quite often- on sunny days, they like to hang out on shorelines or on half-submerged trees. If you rent a canoe at Calhoun and come up the channel, you can paddle around Isles and see lots of 'em; Cedar and Brownie lakes are also connected by canals, and would be good turtle spots.
posted by COBRA! at 9:20 AM on August 2, 2007

It's not metro area, but the annual Independence Day festivities in Balsam Lake, WI (about an hour and a half from the cities) include turtle races, immediately following the big parade down Main Street.

If your wife enjoys watching little kids be goofy as much as she enjoys turtles, consider it for next year. It is freaking hysterical.

This year we couldn't find a turtle, so we entered a rock. He came in third out of four in his heat.
posted by padraigin at 9:29 AM on August 2, 2007

I've seen lots of turtles outside of the recreational swimming area at Lake George Regional Park, just south of St. Francis in the far northern 'burbs.
posted by charmston at 9:39 AM on August 2, 2007

Best answer: I've seen turtles when I walk around Lake Calhoun. I've seen both hard and soft-shelled turtles (leatherbacks?) when walking around the Lake. It might be cool since you can walk right up to the edge of the water in most places, but its pretty popular so you probably won't be alone.
posted by adamwolf at 9:55 AM on August 2, 2007

I'm sorry that I can't provide information about where to go to see turtles, but I do want to say that reading this AskMe made me happy in a small but fundamental way. I hope you both have a great day together watching turtles!
posted by iamkimiam at 10:07 AM on August 2, 2007

Response by poster: Great information so far. Thanks especially adamwolf and COBRA!

Please keep the ideas coming.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 1:01 PM on August 2, 2007

They're not in their natural environment, but the rain-forest section of the Como Park conservatory has a large tank where you can watch the turtles swimming.
posted by nathan_teske at 10:13 AM on August 4, 2007

You may want to start with the guidebook Turtles and Turtle Watching for the North Central States by the MN DNR. There seem to be a couple copies available through your public libraries.
posted by zennie at 12:14 PM on August 10, 2007

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