I enjoyed the last post from Carolyn on 5 Things To Do Near Minneapolis, Minnesota, and she has kindly written another post with another 5 things to do in the area; and these activities are perfectly geared towards children who are inquisitive!
Eastman Nature Center is in Elm Creek Park Reserve, and is in Maple Grove. It is part of the Three Rivers Park District. There are dozens of programs each year at each of the parks in the system. There are trails, lakes, canoe lessons, cross-country ski lessons, bird watching, and so many other things to do you have to check their website to find out all the available events. We enjoy the annual Eggstravaganza where we can dye eggs with natural dyes, meet the Easter bunny, find eggs in the woods, pet baby rabbits, and so much more. There are always displays of reptiles and a considerable window area complete with quite a few rocking chairs for bird watching. We made fairy gardens there once. It is a perfect location for family photos that show the seasons in the woods.
Another farm worth visiting is the Wells Fargo Family Farm at the Minnesota Zoo located in Apple Valley, Minnesota. It is such fun to hear and pet the animals, walk in the hay maze, sit on real tractors, and wander through the barns. In the spring there are farm animal babies to enjoy. You can learn how food gets from the farm to the table, and how farmers protect natural resources. It is a hike from the main part of the zoo, so check to be sure the train is running when you visit if you have anyone in your group who finds walking a challenge. Strollers may be rented for the very young, of course. There is plenty to do all through the zoo, and there is a restaurant in the main building.
The Twin Cities Festival is in Brooklyn Park and is held in the spring and fall. Petting animals such as a joey kangaroo is a very favorite activity. There are music bands, food vendors, face painting, bouncy houses, and a corn maze. The corn pit and straw bale maze are very fun and give the children some exercise. There are even pony rides and hayrides. Downright fun! These events are a few weekends each spring and fall so check the website for exact dates and information.
The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis is sure to get the children talking. It has modern art and a 19-acre outdoor sculpture garden. There are interactive exhibits, a lovely restaurant with healthy food with huge windows facing the sculpture garden, and two gift shops. If art is an interest of your children, this is a very interesting experience. We went on a self-guided tour and had fun exploring the many varied exhibits. The sculpture garden is probably best enjoyed in the late spring, summer, and early fall. You know the cherry spoon bridge sculpture that is often seen in photos of downtown Minneapolis? That is at the Walker with other exciting displays. Did you know it weighs about 7000 pounds?
Plaza Playground in Maple Grove is our new favorite and is very close by, and is a climate controlled indoor playground for year-round use. There are special events as well as daily use. Single tickets or memberships are available. It is open 365 days a year! The kangaroo jumping floor is our favorite area so far. Adults and children alike enjoy it together. There is a toddler playground, and an older children’s playground. There is a green run full of yard play equipment. This is a definitely nice option for rainy days when the children need to run off steam. Oh, there are places for tired parents to sit. There is a self-serve eating area. You can bring your own food, as well as have food delivered. There are party rooms, and they encourage school field trips, too.
Of course, there are many other things to do in this area as well. Those are some of our favorites!
Thank you for reading,
Carolyn Wilhelm, Wise Owl Factory
Carolyn Wilhelm is the author of The Wise Owl Factory site and blog. She has an MS in Gifted Education, a MA in Curriculum and Instruction K-12, and has finished the KHT Montessori 12 month program. She makes mostly free resources for teachers and parents.