Candlelight & Ice – A New Year's Eve Tradition at Wood Lake Nature Center 

Candlelight & Ice – A New Year’s Eve Tradition at Wood Lake Nature Center 

Richfield, Minn. (December 23, 2022)  How would you like to end 2022 with a “star-lit pilgrimage from the old year into the new”? That’s how one participant describes Wood Lake Nature Center’s beloved New Year’s Eve tradition called Candlelight & Ice.

This family-friendly event features a candlelit luminary walk around the park, and when the ice is solid enough, straight across the marsh. The event draws upward of 2,000 residents to enjoy the park on December 31. 

This year, the event boasts additional activities both inside the Nature Center and outdoors, including the Brick Oven Bus food truck. Outdoors, participants can follow one of two trails.

“We’re excited to be adding a storybook trail that leads to a mini program of star stories from around the world,” noted seasonal naturalist, Aaron McGuire, organizer of this year’s event. “It’s perfect for families with children of all ages who might want a shorter luminary walk to enjoy.”  

On the nearby dock, you’ll find volunteers from Starry Skies North ready to point out constellations and other celestial bodies. 

For the classic Candlelight & Ice experience, follow the longer luminary walk around the grounds, enjoying the quiet of the night and a warming fire at the midway point. 

Around the nature center building, participants will find the outdoor activity area, including a bonfire and s’more station, patio heaters and picnic tables. There, visitors can enjoy a snow and ice sculpture station and conservation themed games. Food truck Brick Oven Bus, sponsored by local realtor Steve Schneeberger, will be on site serving wood-fired pizzas for lunch and dinner, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.  

Indoors activities will include a hot cocoa station, s’more making station around the fireplace, arts and crafts and a wishing tree. Participants will write down a wish for the new year onto a ribbon, and then tie their wish onto the tree.

“We hope that visitors of all ages will enjoy a stress-free entry into 2023 by taking a luminary-lit hike at Wood Lake, warming up by a fire, and enjoying the outdoors at night,” noted Paul Smithson, facility manager of the Wood Lake Nature Center.

Candlelight & Ice will be held on December 31, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Wood Lake Nature Center, (6710 Lake Shore Drive S). Carpooling is encouraged and event parking will be available along parts of Lyndale Ave, Lake Shore Drive, City Bella’s lot, as well as in Wood Lake’s lot.

Reserve your tickets for Candlelight & Ice at or purchase on the night of the event, as space allows. Doors open at 5:00 pm; event organizers recommend arriving by 8:15 pm to allow for adequate time to enjoy the activities. Tickets are $6 each, and free for Friends of Wood Lake members.