We were blessed with gorgeous weather for a long weekend camping trip along scenic Highway 61. The first thing we did upon tumbling out of the camper in Wabasha, Minnesota, was spend a good fifteen minutes soaking up the sun along the Mississippi. It’s along these banks that majestic bald eagles winter and build nests to raise their young. You can learn all about these raptors – and get just about nose-to-beak with them – at the adjacent National Eagle Center. Read More
We in Minnesota have a rich German heritage. While it may not be the same depth of heritage as in Wisconsin, many Minnesotans have a proud ancestry. If you want to have a fun German experience in the fall with your family, you don’t need to go any further than New Ulm, Minnesota.
New Ulm’s Oktoberfest
October 7-9 and 14-16 Read More
Zimmerman is a lovely small town, just north of Elk River on Highway 169. Most people drive straight through on the way to their cabins without realizing what they are missing.
Stacey of Ramshackled Treasures and Samara of Simplicity in the Suburbs invited FFTC to check out this cute little village with a gang of bloggers (it was an extremely busy week for us). My favorite comment of the night was from Ashley Sears. She kept repeating to herself, “Oh, boy. I’m in trouble. I’m in so much trouble.” She is moving to Zimmerman and fell more in love with the town with each stop–as did we all.
Here are 10 things you don’t want to miss when heading through Zimmerman. Read More
Even though we live in an amazing metropolis, Greater Minnesota is bursting with places to explore and discover. FFTC was invited by Robin Russell of Russell’s Adventures and the Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau to enjoy a day in Albert Lea. I packed my kids in the van, took a road trip, and had a low key, perfect summer day in Albert Lea.
Forget that the name “Wyoming” conjures up a landscape hundreds of miles from the Twin Cities. Pinehaven Farm in Wyoming, Minnesota, is a fairly quick and easy day trip from most Metro locations because it sits right along a major freeway and just off the cusp of the northern suburbs. I took my bunch (ages ranging from 3 to 9) to Pinehaven today because of MEA break (also because it was forecast to be the last 70-degree day this year), but it would make a super fun family weekend outing as well.
I like the convenience of paying an admission charge upfront at a place that offers lots of activities. Pinehaven Farm’s got a plethora of activities to choose from and the entrance fee covers nearly all of them, including these highlights:
- children’s playgrounds – most of the play equipment is appropriate for young children. The tot lot has a wonderful collection of corncrib slides, pony tire swings, junior pedal tractors, and a gravel box to play in. Send the older kids over to the two-story tube slides instead.
- multiple mazes – including a tiny straw bale maze, a short hay bale maze, and a slightly more challenging one for school-aged kids.
- tractor wagon and hay rides – kids up to 12 can ride the wagon train, but the short loops are geared for preschoolers. Entire families can take a hay ride into the fields to search for the perfect pumpkin (priced at 41¢ per lb.)
- jumping pillow – kids can bounce to their heart’s content – if they don’t mind waiting in line (weekends will draw a crowd).
- pedal trike track – the sturdy trikes appealed to my older kids; for the youngest in the bunch there is a small pedal tractor loop in the tot lot.
- large petting farm – including goats, cows, emus, turkeys and more. Bring quarters for feed if your kids are interested in feeding the animals.
- special weekend events – such as the pumpkin-eating dragon show (my kids LOVED this when they saw it a few years ago). Magic shows, a Halloween party and other special events are held select weekend dates. See the complete calendar here.
Extras not included in the admission fee: Bring cash if you think you might be interested in firing the corncob cannon ($1), purchasing a rubber duck for the duck derby races ($1), picking pumpkins (41¢ per lb.) or other produce, buying snacks or purchasing more substantial concessions (weekends only).
Other things to consider: Keep in mind that weekends, particularly temperate ones, are going to be crowded. If it’s an option for you, consider going during the week. Pinehaven Farm is open weekdays from noon – 6:30pm and admission is discounted $2.00 (to $6.50 per person) Monday – Wednesday. A coupon good for $1 off daytime admission throughout the week can be found here. Teens and/or adults might be interested in the darker side of Pinehaven Farm – the Dead End Hayride runs through Halloween.
Location: Pinehaven Farm is located at 28186 Kettle River Blvd., Wyoming, MN 55092 (conveniently along Interstate 35). It’s a little over a half hour’s drive from the middle of the Metro in good traffic.
Hours: Open weekdays noon – 6:30pm and weekends 10am – 6:30pm through October 31, 2014.
Admission: $8.50/pp Thursday – Sunday, $6.50/pp Monday – Wednesday, kids under 3 are free. Print and bring along this coupon for $1 off/pp.