My preschooler’s request for a simple picnic in April turned into a full afternoon of nature play, wildlife spotting and cargo-net clambering. And, thanks to the 80-degree temps, we were able to be outdoors for hours. Bonus: if you can make it out this month, you’ll beat both the crowds and the mosquitoes! Here are 10 things we’re confident kids of all ages can enjoy at the Richardson Nature Center and Hyland Lake Park Reserve: Read More
When: Saturday, Oct. 10 • events 11am-8pm
Details: Trick-or-treat at participating businesses (map) from 2-4pm, free root beer garden at Red Balloon Bookshop from 2-5pm, free pony rides, a petting zoo and a costume contest.
Farmer Ken’s Pumpkin Patch
@ Como-Harriet Streetcar Line, 4200 Queen Ave. S, Minneapolis
When: Saturday & Sunday, October 10 & 11 • 12:30 to 4:30 PM
Cost: Regular fares apply; pumpkins are $4
Details: Take a trolley ride and bring home a Halloween pumpkin. Riders get off the car at the “pumpkin patch” where they can search for just the right pumpkin to bring home.
Hyland’s Not-So-Scary Trick-or-Treat Event
@ Hyland Lake Park Reserve, 10145 Bush Lake Road, Bloomington
When: Oct. 10 • 2:30-4:30
Cost: $5/pre-registered, $6/door, under 2 free
Details: Hike through the woods to meet animal puppets, play games, and follow a scavenger hunt. Stop at the mad scientist’s lab and brave the “crazy maze.” Arrive in costume and bring a treat bag.
Food Allergy Resource Fair & Trick-or-Treating
@ Eisenhower Community Center, 1001 Highway 7, Hopkins
When: Saturday, Oct. 10 • 9am-noon
Cost: Free, however a donation of $5/pp is suggested
Details: Vendors will feature allergy-friendly food and products and kids are encouraged to come in costume and trick-or-treat, stopping at approximately 40 vendor tables that will hand out allergen-free treats. Tips for safe trick-or-treating with food allergies will also be shared with families.
Annual Halloween Party
@ Westwood Hills Nature Center, 8300 W Franklin Ave, St Louis Park
When: Friday & Saturday, Oct. 16-17 • 6:30-9pm
Cost: Early bird $8/resident, $9/non-resident or $10/resident, $11/non-res after Oct. 7
Details: Take part in indoor and outdoor games, activities and theme trails. Visit with friendly animal characters as you walk through the lighted Mother Nature’s Trail and dare to play Mystery Mini Golf in the dark woods. Music, refreshments and more.
@ Wood Lake Nature Center, 6710 Lakeshore Dr, Minneapolis
When: Saturday, Oct. 17 • 3-6pm
Cost: $4/pp advance, $5/pp at the door
Details: Try out the interactive trick-or-treat trail, take in a magic show, all-ages dance, storytelling, games, face painting, hot cocoa, and cookies. Space is limited. Purchase tickets in advance at Wood Lake Nature Center. If tickets remain, they’ll be sold at the door as space becomes available.
Halloween Family Fun Day
@ Weaver Lake Park, 8401 Dunkirk Ln N, Maple Grove
When: Saturday, Oct. 17 • 1-4pm
Cost: $5/per child ages 2-8 (event appropriate for this age range), under 2 are free
Details: 20+ activities including Monster Inflatables, crawling through the Web of Confusion Maze, pumpkin rolling, fishing in the Bottomless Well and more. Treat bags, crafts, contests and a fashion show.
Old Fashioned Trick-or-Treat
@ The Landing, 2187 Highway 101 E, Shakopee
When: Saturday, Oct. 17 • 4-7pm
Cost: $5/pre-registered w/out treats, $6 at the door or $8/pre-registered w/ treats, $10/at the door
Details: Trick-or-treat along candlelit paths. Collect a variety of traditional treats and toys. Begin on a horse-drawn trolley and end with cider, a cookie and entertainment.
Como Zoo Boo
@ Como Park Zoo & Conservatory
1225 Estabrook Dr, St. Paul
When: Saturday & Sunday, Oct. 17-18 and 24-25 • gates open 4:30-7:30pm
Cost: $6/in advance, $7/at door
Details: Admission helps support Como’s programs and aids in keeping the zoo free for all. Come in costume, take the trick-or-treat trail and enjoy cider and coffee. Read our tips on taking kids under 10 to Zoo Boo here.
Our Wish List this weekend features a round-up of Egg-centric activities taking place across the Metro. Note that due to the Easter holiday, all activities listed are taking place Friday (perfect for that day off of school?) and Saturday. All events here have a small fee attached; look for our list of free options to come later this week. For more inspiration, be sure to check our Family Fun Calendar!
Egg Trail & Rabbit Habits
Richardson Nature Center @ Hyland Lake Park Reserve
8737 E Bush Lake Rd., Bloomington, MN 55438
Friday, April 18 & Saturday, April 19, 9:30am – 12:30pm
Cost: $5/person, reservations required (763-694-7676)
Hike through the woods around the nature center in search of colorful wooden eggs. Learn about and see live animals that come from eggs, make a craft and enjoy a snack.
Eastman Nature Center @ Elm Creek Park Reserve
13351 Elm Creek Rd., Osseo, MN 55369
Friday, April 18, 10am – 2pm
Cost: $5/person in advance, $6/at door
Reservations preferred (763-559-6700)
Drop in anytime for games, live bunnies and treats. Bring your own hard-boiled eggs to try out natural dyes and then search for more on the grounds of the nature center.
Spring Eggstravaganza: Rock Hunt
Lowry Nature Center @ Carver Park Reserve
7025 Victoria Dr., Victoria, MN 55386
Friday, April 18 & Saturday, April 19, 10am – 3pm
Cost: $5/person in advance, $6/at door (763-559-6700)
Bring your own basket to hunt for colorful rocks (2-8 yrs.) or hidden secret messages (8 yrs.+). The rocks and decoded messages can be traded for a bag of treats! Other activities include face painting, crafts, and live animals.
Rabbits & Raindrops Puppet Show
Maplewood Nature Center
2659 E 7th St., Maplewood, MN 55119
Friday, April 18, 10:30am – 11:30am
Cost: $2/child, register at 651-249-2170
Enjoy this springtime puppet show based on Jim Arnosky’s book Rabbits & Raindrops.
North Mississippi Regional Park
4900 Mississippi Court, Minneapolis, MN 55430
Saturday, April 19, 10am – 12pm
Cost: $5/person, reservations required (763-559-6700)
Using natural materials, create a protective cover for your egg and see how far you can drop it (without breaking it!) All materials provided.
James J. Hill House Easter Egg Hunt
240 Summit Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102
Saturday, April 19, 10am – 11am
Cost: $6/person, $4/MHS member
Reservations strongly recommended (651-297-2555)
Kids ages 2-7 search in designated zones around the Hill House lawn for trinket-filled Easter eggs. Inside the mansion are stories, treats, and history to explore.
This weekend is packed with all kinds of opportunities to enjoy the arts and the literature and the natural world. If you need something to do but don’t know where to look, this is a great place to start. It’s a great weekend to check out the bookstores around town. There is something about November (gearing up for the holidays, maybe?) when a goes by without a book event! If this long list doesn’t have anything to grab your attention, you can also check out our Calendar.
Hunger Games Catching Fire Movie Release Party
Red Balloon Bookshop
Friday, November 8, 2013
For ages 12 and up
Can I confess something? I have never read this trilogy. I meant to, but then we got the movie from Netflix and suddenly I was watching it before I read it. Generally, this does not sit well with me, but the movie was so well-done and my husband confirmed that it followed the book as well as a movie could that I let it go. And now I’m excited to see the sequel.
Mary Casanova One Dog Sleigh! Launch Party
Red Balloon Bookshop
Saturday, November 9, 2013
The author of One Dog Canoe! is back with a holiday version of her melodic book. It’s a perfect edition to your holiday book collection. Whether you decide to purchase the book or not, you are sure to have a fun time at the Launch party. So see you there!
Brickmania Open House
Saturday, November 9, 2013
10:00 am-4:00 pm
Check out the Greater Midwest LEGO Train Club’s permanent display as well as Twin Cities LEGO Train Club’s. Build anything you want out of the buckets of LEGOs. Especially enjoy the military displays on this Veteran’s Weekend. You will have a blast at Brickmania’s Open House this weekend.
Richardson Nature Center Exhibit Reception
Hyland Lake Park Reserve
Saturday, November 9, 2013
Chris Tully created three-dimensional usable art including a pond table with chairs, a boulder bookcase, and a crawl-through coyote den. It’s a great combination of art and play. Perfect for any child and parent to enjoy together. Also, the Richardson Nature Center has a new interpretative exhibit upstairs to greet guests as they make their way out to the Raptor Yard. Liz Stanley is an amateur photographer whose work is on display in this exhibit, and she will be around to offer tips and talk about capturing images.
Target Family Day: Arts of Africa
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Sunday, November 10, 2013
11:00 am-5:00 pm
Have you always wanted to go to Africa, but never had the chance? MIA is offering you a chance to experience and appreciate the African cultures without spending a penny. Listen to African drumming, stories by Jerry Blue. Watch African dances and make African masks, Moroccan jewelry, and Akan gold weights. Also, search the galleries for African Art. Joy gives us all the details in her article. Also, Target is sponsoring the special exhibit “The Audacious Eye: Japanese Art from the Clark Collections.” Usually for these exhibits, there is an admission fee, but Target is picking up the bill for us on Sunday.
Let’s Get StARTed! Batty for Batik
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Join one of my favorite preschool art teachers at Silverwood Park as you try your hand at batik. Batik is a wax-resistant dyinng technique (traditional in Japan). I don’t know what it’s going to look like, but whatever the project is, it’s sure to be fun.
St. Martin’s Day
Sunday, November 10, 2013
This German celebration being celebrated at the Landmark Center gives everyone the opportunity to participate in the spirit of generosity. Make Laterns and join St. Martin in a parade around Rice Park following his lead alongside his horse. Bring items to donate to Jospeh’s Coat.
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Perhaps one of these events is a fall tradition for your family? Be sure to sign up for our monthly Family Fun Twin Cities newsletter for oodles more ideas on how to spend Halloween in the Twin Cities.
Hyland’s Spooks and Ladders Trick-or-Treat Trail
Hyland Lake Park Reserve
10145 Bush Lake Road, Bloomington, MN
5 – 6:20pm
$5/pre-registered, $6 at door
Get a jump on the Halloween fun with this event at Hyland Lake Park Reserve. Come in costume and bring a bag for treats. Prepare for some mildly spooky fun with puppets, games, a “junior Fear Factor maze” and campfire.
Saturday & Sunday, October 12-13, 2013
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum: Weekend Family Fun
3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska MN
12 – 4pm $12/person ages 13+
Joy included this event last weekend on her Wishlist and I thought it deserved a second mention. Saturdays and Sundays in October focus on putting a healthy rainbow of plants into your diet.
HALLOWEEN IN THREE RIVERS
You are not going to be disappointed with Three Rivers Parks’ Halloween Fun. Some things are a little spooky, but otherwise, these activities are perfect for your family! We are having a hard time picking which events we should try. Good luck choosing just one. When you have made your choice, call 766-559-6700 to make a reservation and reference the activity number listed for each program.
Hyland’s Spooks and Ladders Trick-or-Treat Trail!
Saturday, October 12, from 5-8 p.m., at Hyland Lake Park Reserve, Bloomington. Walk on a short trail with animal puppets and games leading into the play area. Enjoy a junior “fear factor” maze, meet our friendly dinosaur, and warm up by a campfire. Bring and use flashlights during the second time slot. Come in costume and bring a bag for goodies. Cost is $5 for those who pre-register (bring confirmation), $6 for registration the day of the event (based on availability). Children under 2 are admitted free. Reference activity number #463007H1.
Friday, October 18, from 6-9 p.m., at The Landing – Minnesota River Heritage Park, Shakopee. Walk along candlelit streets in the Village of Eagle Creek. Visit historic buildings and hear costumed interpreters share folktales, legends, superstition, and local history. Enjoy refreshments and the warmth of a campfire. Enter the park through the West Entrance. Cost is $5 and reservations are required. This program is for ages 12+. Reference activity number #438407-20.
Old-Fashioned Trick Or Treat
Saturday, October 19, from 4-8 p.m., at The Landing – Minnesota River Heritage Park, Shakopee. Trick-or-treat along candlelit paths to 20 treat stops. Begin your journey on the trolley pulled by Percheron horses. Collect a variety of traditional treats and toys. Finish your celebration with cider, a cookie and entertainment in the Town Hall. Costumes are encouraged and bring a bag for goodies. Cost is $9 for pre-registration with treats (children) and $5 without treats (adults). Day-of registration is $10 with treats (children) and $6 without treats (adults). Children under 2 are admitted free (without treats). Reference activity number #438407-32.
Saturday, October 19, from 1-9 p.m., at Baker Park Reserve, Maple Plain. Hours and hours of Halloween fun! Participate in a round of Ghoulish Golf, throw spears, solve a skull mystery and play other games of chance. Carve a pumpkin, make a scarecrow, or try the fish pond. Challenge yourself on the climbing wall, then head out on a GPS course or a techie scavenger hunt. Take time to decorate your campsite and march in the costume parade, followed by trick-or-treating through Baker Campground. The evening will be filled with campsite awards and prizes sponsored by Hoigaard’s. Interactive entertainment by Kidpower with the dynamic duo of Rachel and Jan. Cost includes campsite for Saturday night and unlimited activities from 1-9 p.m. Reservations are required by October 11. Cost is $77.20 for a non-electric site, $82.54 for a 30-amp site, $85.75 for a 50-amp site and $120.75 for a camper cabin. Reference activity number #410007-X2.
Little Folks Halloween
Saturday, October 26, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., at Eastman Nature Center, in Elm Creek Park Reserve, Dayton. Halloween fun for the little ones! Meet costumed animal characters on the woodland trail and go on a scavenger hunt in search of special pumpkins. Dig for the golden acorn in the corn pool, jump in a straw pile, play games to win prizes, and meet live animals. Join a DJ for a dance party. Enjoy a puppet show, refreshments, and a fall craft. Dress to be outside. Start anytime between 10 a.m. and noon. Cost is $5 and reservations are highly recommended. This program is for ages 2+. Reference activity number #412207-01.
Saturday, October 26, from 10 a.m.-noon, at Kroening Interpretive Center, in North Mississippi Regional Park, Minneapolis. They aren’t just for eating and carving anymore! Participate in some pumpkin science, then turn a mini pumpkin into a boat. Send a pumpkin boat down the Mississippi River and take one home to amaze your friends! Cost is $5 and reservations are required. Reference activity number #416901-02.
Lowry’s Enchanted Forest Halloween
Saturday, October 26, from 5-9 p.m., at Lowry Nature Center, in Carver Park Reserve, Victoria. Join Lowry Nature Center and Gale Woods Farm staff to celebrate Halloween! Bring your family in costume to trick-or-treat along a character trail through the enchanted forest. Enjoy popping corn and storytelling by a bonfire, meet a live owl, and decorate a cookie to eat. Watch the mad scientist skit, and laugh as Lowry’s puppets put on a show. There will be games, music, a craft, and fun for all ages! The mad scientist skit and puppet shows will run intermittently throughout the night. Concessions will be available for purchase. Cost is $9 for children, $5 for adults and children under 2 are free.
Saturday, October 26, from 5:30-10 p.m., at French Regional Park, Plymouth. Halloween fun run for all ages through the wooded, lighted trails of French Regional Park with many spooky surprises along the way! Walkers are welcome, too. Costumes are encouraged! Festivities also will include a bonfire with marshmallow roasting and hot apple cider. Strollers are welcome; no pets please. Cost is $10 for the 5K for ages 10 and up; $2 for the 1K for ages 2 and up. Pre-registration is encouraged; registration the day of the event will be available. Reference activity number #425135-00.
Big Woods Halloween
Saturday, October 26, from 6-9 p.m., at Eastman Nature Center, in Elm Creek Park Reserve Dayton. Meet costumed animal superhero characters and collect treats along the woodland trail. Visit the Gross-Out Grotto to attempt the Eat-A-Bug Challenge, Cockroach Races and the Gross-Out Station. Meet live animals and dig in the Animal Graveyard. Play Bone Bingo and other Halloween games, and follow the Pumpkin Trail to refreshments at a bonfire. Be entertained by the dancing of the Illumination Fire Troupe. Arrive between 6pm and 7:30 p.m. Trail closes at 8:30 p.m. Cost is $9 for children and $5 for adults who pre-register and $10 for children and $6 for adults who register the day of the event. This program is for ages 6+. Reference activity number #412207-04.
Pumpkin Carving for Families
Sunday, October 27, from 1-3 p.m., at Lowry Nature Center, in Carver Park Reserve, Victoria. Family pumpkin carving fun! We provide the pumpkin, patterns, carving tools, and the space to create. You get to take home a jack-o’-lantern masterpiece! A skilled pumpkin carver will help you create a fun design together and provide tips and tricks to good pumpkin carving. Children under age 12 should work alongside an adult. Cost is $8 and reservations are required. This program is for ages 4+. Reference activity number #411301-04.
Taken from the Three Rivers Park Press Release
Nature Reserves that focus on the woods and lakes and streams and meadows make me smile. Making up an adventure world full of princesses and ogres or rescue missions from the caves. Playing in nature is the best playground.
However, there are times when you can’t replace the fun of a slide or a swing. Again an adventure world can be be created across the bridges and ramps.
The Three Rivers Park District offers many different experiences from nature trails and beaches to wooded shorelines and working farms. It offers live history and art. It also offers playgrounds. And really good ones at that.
In the month of August, we wanted to let you know about a few that we have experienced.
Starting In the South Metro
It is a gigantic play structure built up the side of a large hill full of climbing equipment, cargo nets, and slides: resembling the iconic board games Chutes and Ladders. This place is a hot spot for parents in the South Metro. It’s just a few miles off 494 and fairly simple for anyone to find. Even for me from the North Metro.
- It was free! We didn’t have to pay anything to enter.
- 3 large apparatuses for big kids to play on: 2 with slides (featuring a 50 footer) and one big spider web looking climbing jungle gym made from ropes.
- 2 smaller systems for littler ones. One was built for toddlers and babies. I thought it was perfect for my 2 year old, and yet he would have nothing to do with it. He wanted to be on the big kid devices. The second system was for slightly bigger kids or for kids with disabilities. It was a little less active and with smaller slides. My 4 year old liked this one.
- Swings, tucked up in the corner away from the climbing and sliding was an area to swing, and down by the toddler area, there were some sand diggers. For those kids who needed a break from the high paced climbing world, there were opportunities to catch your breath.
- The ground was covered with man-made petroleum-based materials. Many kids were going barefoot. (I tried to restrain my children from that particular decision)
- 3 misters to cool yourself with or to soak yourself with just before your mother decides it’s time to go home!
- A small section of a rock climbing wall. The playland was on multi-levels and one way for the kids to get to a different level was to rock climb up a small wall. Personally, I positioned myself right next to this as I didn’t want my little guy to fall down the opening in the fence.
This was the original structure. And while this is extremely fun (my kids played in this structure alone for over an hour), the added play areas give you so much more opportunity to play.
Some things to keep in mind.
- They have tables set up around the perimeter of the play area and they are a good place for you to set your stuff. To be able to keep an eye on your children, you really need to be on a higher level.
- It’s not an ideal place to bring someone who is 7 months pregnant and have a conversation with her if you have a 2 year old who wants to try everything! However, once he and his sister found the original structure to be a blast, we were able to keep a better eye on him and not have to climb around ourselves.
- While they have areas for babies and toddlers, the Hyland Play Area is designed for big kids. It’s important to keep that in mind when your 2 year old is climbing a ladder and preventing hyper-excited older kids from going as fast as they want to. It’s hard not to get upset when they are saying, “Little kid! Get outta the way!” So have a plan.
- This is a difficult place to leave. What I did to prevent whining and crying was to keep half of their snack for the ride home. They played for over 3 hours and were ready to eat so for once it wasn’t difficult to get them in the car.
It doesn’t matter what age you are. This Hyland Play Area invites you to discover, explore, and simply play.
- In our school district there are 4 more weeks left of summer before school. This may be a pretty long drive for you, but for a relaxed atmosphere and some great summer memories with your kids, you will never forget “Chutes and Ladders!”
Spring Raptor Release 2013 with the Raptor Center: This article was moved to the directory