Family Fun Twin Cities is a team made up of Minneapolis-area parents and their kids. This is what sets us apart from other websites trying to gather information about the over 150 Minneapolis neighborhood parks, regional parks, lakes, waterways, gardens, bike trails and other beautiful public green spaces. We have raised our own children in these parks and know them well. Whenever possible, we use our own images of the parks and integrate our own experiences visiting them. We hope you can use this page to explore all the wonderful Minneapolis parks and recreational opportunities available to your own family.
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Minneapolis Parks A-Z
Minneapolis parks with wading pools
The FREE wading pools that dot Minneapolis parks are the perfect place for toddlers and kids who have not yet learned to swim but love to make a good splash. Many of them are no-frills with a standard depth of about 18″ but a few have been updated with fun spray features and zero-depth entry. All are located adjacent to a playground, rest rooms and space to spread out with a picnic. For all the details, jump over to our page that covers the 60 Minneapolis parks that offer free wading pools.
Minneapolis parks with splash pads
What kid does not love a good splash pad during the melting point of summer? Mine are happy for any opportunity to get soaked from the start of summer vacation through Labor Day. Minneapolis has a few simple splash pads located close to the Downtown area with a few more in the works for neighborhood parks. Here’s a listing of Minneapolis parks with splash pads (for wading pools with splash features, see above):
- CURRIE PARK (Downtown East)
- FRANKLIN STEELE SQUARE (South of Downtown area)
- PHELPS FIELD PARK
- THE COMMONS (Downtown)
Splash pads planned for the future in Minneapolis parks:
- VICTORY PARK (possibly 2022)
The City of Lakes boasts beautiful places for families and kids to swim. Cool off on a hot day by making a splash at one of twelve free, public beaches located within the following six Minneapolis parks:
- BDE MAKA SKA/LAKE CALHOUN PARK
- CEDAR LAKE PARK
- LAKE HARRIET PARK
- LAKE HIAWATHA PARK
- LAKE NOKOMIS PARK
- THEODORE WIRTH PARK
Fill up your tires, strap on a helmet and get ready to hit the trail! Minneapolis is a wonderful city to explore by bike, filled with parks, lakes, and an exciting downtown riverfront. Planning to bring the kids along? Perfect. Biking is a fun and healthy way for families to spend time together outdoors. We’ve outlined four bike trails that wind through lovely Minneapolis parks and swing by fun family attractions on the way. Our quick list here includes:
MINNEAPOLIS BIKE TRAILS ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI
West River Parkway Bike Trail, between MINNEHAHA FALLS REGIONAL PARK and the STONE ARCH BRIDGE near downtown.
MINNEAPOLIS BIKE TRAILS AROUND THE LAKES
Minneapolis Chain of Lakes Bike Trail, including BDE MAKA SKA, LAKE HARRIET, and LAKE OF THE ISLES.
Minneapolis Bike Trails Through the Parks
THEODORE WIRTH bike trail past ELOISE BUTLER WILDFLOWER GARDEN & BIRD SANCTUARY, QUAKING BOG & CEDAR LAKE PARK.
Minneapolis Bike Trails Through the City
Featuring the urban MIDTOWN GREENWAY from the Mississippi River (east) to LAKE OF THE ISLES PARK (west).
Public Flower Gardens in Minneapolis Parks
Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden & Bird Sanctuary
This peaceful oasis is hidden within THEODORE WIRTH PARK. Established in 1907, it is thought to be the oldest public wildflower garden in the nation. That might not impress your kids, but they’ll enjoy a walk in the woods and the challenge of trying to spot a few of the 130 species of birds that make a nest in the park. A 2/3-mile trail features 49 interpretive stations for guided and self-guided tours. Nestled in the garden is the Martha Crone Visitor Shelter where visitors will find natural history displays and friendly staff to answer questions. Children’s programs are often offered, so keep an eye out on the Minneapolis parks page. The garden opens to the public in April.
LYNDALE PARK GARDENS
Lyndale Park is located along the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes between Bde Maka Ska and Lake Harriet. It is made up of four distinct gardens. The park has walking paths that make it a nice place to visit for a family stroll. The gardens include a flower garden with both annuals and perennials, a butterfly and hummingbird garden, a peace garden, and a rose garden with thousands of blooms to sniff. Along your walk, you can visit the decorative fountains (including our kids’ favorite – the one that sprays water from the mouths of bronze turtles) and view public art. Nestled among the garden is The Thicket — a nature play structure made from woven willow branches. Follow the Pathway of Peace to the Peace Garden. Cross the zigzag Peace Bridge and examine the rocks for prehistoric fossils. The rocks in this garden pre-date the dinosaurs and have fossils of snails, clams, and other shells. We recommend visiting in June.