Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Lussier Family Heritage Center

Get Outside!

The Get Outside! Program focuses on equitable and inclusive access to environmental and outdoor education. The Lussier Family Heritage Center strives to provide nature based programming to youth who may not have access to our parks, natural areas, or environmental education on a regular basis. The goal is to build long-term relationships with youth through local community center partners and create safe spaces for youth of all backgrounds and abilities to explore nature through hands-on learning and positive experiences. Some of the program activities include outdoor exploration, habitat and wildlife identification, sustainability, pollution and runoff education, environmental processes, and exposure to recreation opportunities (i.e. snowshoeing, hiking, biking, disc golf, and fishing). 

Would you like to see your community center partner with this program?


Program Overview Video


Get Outside! Recreation Program Offerings

We offer all of the programs listed below. Our team will work with your community center and youth to determine what program is best suited for time of year and interest.

Kids stopped on their bikes along a trail. One is looking at the camera making a silly face.
Bike Adventure

Join us for a bike ride along the Lower Yahara River Trail through restored prairies, oak woodlands, past marshes, and over a boardwalk bridge across Lake Waubesa. There will be fun games along the way, a break along Lake Waubesa, and a stop at our tower overlook. This gentle bike ride with minimal hills is fun for all ages and ability levels. 

Age: Kindergarten - 8th grade. Bikes and helmets are provided (training wheels available). 

Three kids in a red canoe paddling toward the camera
Intro to Canoeing

Learn how to canoe in our surrounding waterways in this fun intro to canoeing program! Participants will learn how to paddle, properly wear a life vest, canoe safety, and use a canoe. Learn canoe basics and have a fun paddle in this new recreation program led by Lussier Family Heritage Center staff.

Age: 9 years old and up

Child kneeling down on a dock putting a worm on the fishing hook
Fishing Adventure

Is your group interested in learning how to fish? This is the program for you. Learn how to cast, bait, and catch fish along the shore or on one of our fishing piers. Staff will assist participants with removing fish and releasing them back into the water. Break up the day with a fun fish-focused game and learn to identify common Wisconsin fish. Fishing equipment is provided.

Age: Kindergarten - 8th grade. 

Child with a had on and back to camera holding an identification sheet an looking at critters in a tub of water.
Aquatic Adventure

Join us as we dive into pond and lake ecology! This program includes a story and a game about healthy aquatic ecosystems, a trip to the nearby lake and pond to discover frogs, dragonflies, snails, water bugs, turtles and more. We will become scientists, collecting water samples and critters, identifying them and determining the health of our waters.

Age: Kindergarten - 8th grade. 

Child standing in a prairie looking through binoculars.
Prairie Adventure

Come explore the prairie with us! Did you know less than 1% of Wisconsin prairies still exists? Discover why prairie plants are important for our ecosystem and pollinators, including bees, butterflies and birds. Grades 5+ will take part in an owl pellet dissection, Grades K-4 will get to create a fun craft.

Age: Kindergarten - 8th grade. 

Child using a hand lens to look at something in the grass
CSI: Critter Scene Investigation

Use you crime scene investigation skills in this animal identification program to discover the wildlife in Wisconsin. Learn about the different habitats they live in, food sources, and lifestyles of the creatures that call Wisconsin home. You may even find a new favorite animal during this interactive program!

Age: Kindergarten - 8th grade.

A geocache box hidden in the leaves
Learn to Geocache

Want to be a modern day treasure hunter? In this program the group will learn the basics of navigation using a GPS device to find a hidden geocache box. This a recreation activity you can do for a lifetime with caches hidden all around the world!

Age: 5th grade and up.

A group of kids carrying a tent
Learn to Camp

Join us for a night under the stars at a group campsite. We will cook on the fire and complete a night hike before hunkering down at the campfire for s’mores. In the morning we will make breakfast, and complete one more activity from the Get Outside program offerings before packing up and heading out for the day. This program runs from 4:00 p.m. to noon the next day. We will provide gear (tents, cooking materials, fire wood, sleeping bags, etc).

Age: 5th grade and up.

Kids walking in the snow with snow shoes
Snowshoe Adventure

Whether your group is trying snowshoeing for the first time or coming out to practice your skills this fun, snow-stomping adventure is a great way to play in the winter. Join us for a fun tromp through our prairie and woodland trails as our trek leads us down to see a frozen Lake Waubesa. Afterwards, we'll warm up with a cup of cocoa.

Age: 1st- 8th grade. Available December – March, snow dependent.

Child laying on their stomach on a sled going down the hill with a huge smile on their face.

Join us for a fun day outdoors at one of the 4 sledding hill locations within Dane County Parks. We will sled, building snow forts and more!

Age: Kindergarten - 8th grade. 

Kids practicing with flint
Survival Skills

What do all organisms need to survive? Learn how importance of shelter, water, and food allow for all living organisms to thrive through shelter building and more. Group will practice fire starting, basic knots, and shelter building in our forested area.