Confessions of a Non-Nature Lover: I Love Sioux Falls’ Outdoor Campus at Sertoma Park

Although I’m not usually an outdoorsy girl, the Outdoor Campus at Sertoma Park in Sioux Falls has won me over.  A butterfly garden, a picturesque bridge, and easily accessible walking trails have made it possible to steal away within the city limits and be back in time for happy hour.

There are 2 miles of trail, divided into the Prairie Trail, the Woodland trail, and the unusually named Riparian trail.  A quick internet search reveals that the word “riparian” means the bank of a river, or the place where the land and the river intersect.

For me, the trails offer the perfect blend of  “outdoorsy,” and, well, not… The trails are made of recycled asphalt, but are relatively flat, they are in the woods and prairie, but wide enough that you don’t have to unwillingly touch any flora or fauna, and best of all, they have amazing vistas, particularly the prairie trail at sunset.

As a person who likes to view nature, but without having to leave the trail, I appreciate the fact that the Outdoor Campus walking trails are designed to let you easily observe some native critters.  Standing on the bridge between the riparian and prairie trails, you can see turtles popping their heads above water and fish meandering below you, and the volunteer-planted butterfly garden attracts butterflies native to South Dakota.

If the walking trails don’t convince you, the Outdoor Campus also has an abundance of classes for all ages, as well as special events throughout the year.  You can check them out at their website, become a fan on their Facebook page, or follow their informative and often amusing Twitter feed.

Outdoor Campus at Sertoma Park in Sioux Falls

About Author

Seth Tupper

Seth Tupper was born and raised in South Dakota and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from South Dakota State University in 2001. After college, he worked at a newspaper in Minnesota and then returned to South Dakota in 2003 to join the staff of The Daily Republic in Mitchell, where he is currently the publisher. Seth has won numerous awards for his writing, including the 2007 Outstanding Young Journalist award in the daily newspapers category of the South Dakota Newspaper Association's Better Newspapers Contest. Seth's day-job and freelance work have granted him opportunities to meet hundreds of South Dakotans and travel across much of the state. He also spends a lot of his free time exploring South Dakota's state and national parks, hiking trails and kayak-friendly rivers.

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