Mississippi River Learning Center | GATEWAY

Experience the Land + Water + Culture of the Mississippi River

The combined River Learning Center and proposed National Park Service Headquarters and Visitor Center will be a one-of-a-kind national hub of Mississippi River-focused recreation, education and environmental stewardship.


Located at the Watergate Marina site at Crosby Farm Regional Park, the River Learning Center will transform this currently isolated area into an easy-to-reach hub that strengthens the community’s connection to an incredible natural resource and fosters generations of park users and river stewards.

Creating a River Center

The Twin Cities stretch of the Mississippi is a national park, but today has few spots to safely access the river. With its two sheltered bays opening up the river in new ways to thousands of local and national visitors, the River Learning Center will be the gateway to the Mississippi. Some of the proposed features include a Sam Morgan Trailhead on the bluff, River Learning Center building, boathouse for kayak and canoe rental, and a canopy walk for access from the bluff to floodplain.

Project Design

The City of Saint Paul and Great River Passage Conservancy, in partnership with Mississippi Park Connection, the National Park Service, Your Boat Club, and Wilderness Inquiry worked with W Architecture & Landscape Architecture to complete schematic design for the Mississippi River Learning Center. Schematic design includes site analysis, exploring design concepts, providing a general overview of the basic features and programming, and getting a general idea of the look and feel of the project. Following months of community engagement, we invite you to watch the final schematic design as it was presented in October 2022 and review the final conceptual design report with further detail below.

Stay connected with us to receive updates as the project continues to move forward!

Project Timeline

March –  October 2022
• Community Engagement
Final Schematic Design Presentation

May 2023
$8M received from MN Legislature
• Launch of new programming (via Mississippi Park Connection and City of Saint Paul)

March 2024
Request for Proposals for Designer Released
Request for Proposals for Facilitator for Engagement of Native American Tribal Leaders & Organizations Released

Summer 2024
• Design Team Selection

September 2024 – Beyond
• Finalized Advanced Design & Construction Documents
• Fundraising
• Construction
• Opening and operations


State of Minnesota
Capitol Region Watershed District
Sandy Fuller
Mississippi Park Connection
Shepard Family Fund
W. Second Growth Foundation
Wilderness Inquiry