Search Results For -playground

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Elm Creek Park Reserve, Maple Grove
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Tamarack Nature Center, White Bear Township
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Minnesota Children’s Museum, Saint Paul

Elm Creek Park Reserve, Maple Grove

At 4,900 acres, Elm Creek Park Reserve is the largest of Three Rivers’ parks. This park features amenities for almost every outdoor activity, including the Winter Recreation Area, Eastman Nature Center, miles of hiking and biking trails, a swimming pond, a huge playground and much more. Elm Creek is also home to a variety of wildlife such as eagles, sandhill cranes, deer, bluebirds, beavers, loons, Trumpeter Swans and hawks.

Swimming at Elm Creek Park Reserve

Elm Creek Swimming Pond offers a mix of pool and lake with filtered, chlorinated water and a sandy beach and bottom. Giant beach umbrellas provide shade. Other amenities include a changing shelter, concessions and bathroom facilities. A pass is required for ages 1 year and older. The pond is open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily. However, Lifeguards are only on duty at specified times. Passes are required for everyone over the age of 1 and cost $5.00 per person for a daily pass or $18 per person for a seasonal pass. 

Click here for more water fun ideas.

Historic Pierre Bottineau House

Located near the entrance of the park on the south end, the historic Pierre Bottineau house is only open for special programs and by appointment. This restored 1854 wood-framed house has been transformed into a mini museum of the life of frontiersman Pierre Bottineau.

About Pierre Bottineau:

Besides having a library and a park in Northeast Minneapolis named after him, Who the Heck was Pierre Bottineau? Forgotten Minnesota answers that question here. Families can participate in public programs or schedule a visit to learn about him in a more, too. 

Historic Pierre Bottineau House

Image courtesy of Three Rivers Park District

Disc Golf at Elm Creek Park Reserve

One of three pay-disc golf courses in the Three Rivers district, Elm Creek’s 18-hole golf course starts at the chalet and follows the cross-country ski trails, tubing hill and terrain park. The course features two par-4 holes and offers championship-calibre holes that demand distance as well as accuracy. Availability is dependent on the weather and the condition of the course. The cost of disc golf is $6/round or $45/season. If you are looking for a place to play free, check out Hyland Visitor Center or Lake Minnetonka Regional Park

Click Here Discover more places to play Disc Golf in the Twin Cities.

Family Archery at Elm Creek Park Reserve

This park is one of several that offers family archery programs. Skilled instructors teach families the basics of shooting safely and accurately. Range includes stationary targets and elevated platform. The program includes fun games for testing skills. Equipment provided.

The 30-acre archery range is on the northwest side of the park and can be used outside of special programs with the purchase of an Archery Pass at $6/day or $35/year. Supervised children may attend for free and do not need a pass. 

We have a round up of several Archery Ranges around the Twin Cities Click here to read.

Trumpeter Swans at Elm Creek Park Reserve

Three Rivers Park District launched the Trumpeter Swan Reintroduction Project in 1966 and in 1968 the Trumpeter Swan Society was formed. Beginning with a single pair of swans, Minnesota now boasts over 12,000 birds. Elm Creek is one park where these birds build nests and raise their young. You may just catch site of Swans while visiting the park.  However, Three Rivers asks park visitors to respect both the Trumpeter Swans and the park habitat by following all park ordinances, remaining on designated trails, not getting too close to the birds, and avoid feeding them.

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Tamarack Nature Center, White Bear Township

Tamarack Nature Center is part of Bald Eagle-Otter Lakes Regional Park. It offers both free and paid nature education programs and is home to the incredible nature playground, Discovery Hollow.

Drop In Discovery Stations at Tamarack Nature Center

Tamarack offers free Saturday morning Drop-In Discovery Stations from 10 a.m. – noon every Saturday morning from March – October and the first Saturday of each month from November – February.

Visitors are free to come and go from the programs as they choose, and no pre-registration is required. Drop-In Discoveries are led by Tamarack’s volunteer Discovery Hosts and feature up-close visits with live animals, including Tamarack’s resident owls, snakes and salamanders. Participants also get hands-on experience with touchable artifacts, like skulls and skins, and sample edible treats from the Discovery Hollow garden. Upcoming topics can be found HERE or on our Family Fun Calendar.

When we visited Tamarack we couldn’t have felt more welcomed by the staff and volunteers. We looked out the floor to ceiling windows at the wetland habitat in front of us; we enjoyed the beehive (that was safely behind plexiglass); and we built with the tree shaped blocks.

It was low-key and invigorating at the same time. Drop-In Discovery Stations add that much more thrill for learning and experiencing nature. Stations are open to all ages, but please note that children should be accompanied by an adult.

courtesy ramsey County


Meet the Tamarack Nature Center Gardener

If  you are new to gardening or would like to grow your knowledge, you can meet in Discovery Hollow at Tamarack every Monday during the summer from 10:15 – 11:00 am for Meet the Gardener.  Try your hand a planting and tending the garden at Tamarack and enjoy your fruits of the harvest.

Meet the Tamarack Nature Center Gardener


Birthday Parties at Tamarack Nature Center

Tamarack offers both Naturalist-led birthday parties and space rental for private birthday parties. Packages for parties led by professional environmental educators are generally available for 2-hour blocks on weekends. Parents can also call for weekday availability. If you prefer space rental only, this option is available also.  Learn more about both options HERE. Find this and more parties: Twin Cities Birthday Parties for Kids: Party in the Park.

Tamarack Nature Center, Summer Camp


Free Summer Fun at Tamarack Nature Center

Tamarack offers several free programs during summer. On Mondays, Meet the Gardener allows visitors to help with planting, tending and tasting the harvest. Families can also go on a Discovery Walk through the prairie or attend a weekly Drop-in Discovery Station.

Tamarack Summer Camps

Tamarack offers 4-day summer camps during the summer months. Find updated information and prices in our annual summer camp guide.

Winter Activities at Tamarack Nature Center

Tamarack is one of several Ramsey County Parks that keeps cross-country ski trails packed. A Minnesota Ski Pass is required to use these trails for anyone 16 and over. Ramsey county provides trail maps and and rules for use on its website. Both skis and snowshoes can be rented at the Tamarack Winter Recreation Rental Shack (part of the nature center building), between mid December and early March. Prices start at $7 (5 and under) and $14 (6 through adult) for two hours for shoe and ski rental. Note: that the rental shack closes when trail conditions are poor. Weather permitting, equipment can be rented Monday through Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and Sundays 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Rentals must be returned by 4:00 p.m.

Tamarack has a designated sledding hill located in the Discovery Hollow Nature Play Area.

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Minnesota Children’s Museum, Saint Paul

It’s been quite a ride, but the Minnesota Children’s Museum has done a complete overhaul while still preserving the integrity of its mission.

Minnesota Children's Museum

Minnesota Children’s Museum is dedicated to providing children with a fun, hands-on and stimulating environment to explore and discover. The Museum helps to instill a lifelong love of learning by nurturing the real-world skills children need to become engaged citizens in the future.

-MN Children’s Museum Website

With  brand new exhibits and updated classics, I guarantee that your kids AND you will have a blast!

New Exhibits at Minnesota Children’s Museum

While we were there on a testing day, we had the ability to check out some of the newest exhibits. The museum gutted everything and started from scratch, so while they still have Our World, you won’t find it on the 2nd floor.

The Scramble

  • Minnesota Children's MuseuemClimbing up to the top
  • Minnesota Children's MuseumFunnel Slide
  • Minnesota Children's MuseumThe Scramble
  • Minnesota Children's MuseumAt the top
  • Minnesota Children's museumLook, Mom!

The Scramble is the Minnesota Children’s Museum’s  extreme indoor playground.  It extends from the 1st floor to the 4th floor and is approximately 44 ft tall. Everything is big enough for adults to utilize the space, but extremely safe for the toddliest member of your family.  • Best Feature: A staircase from top to bottom so parents can reach their kids quickly if necessary. • 2nd Best Feature: In three words: The Funnel Slide.

Super Awesome Adventures 

  • Minnesota Children's MuseumGreen Screen Fun!
  • Minnesota Children's MuseumGreat space for middle grade kids.

Super Awesome Adventures is the place where creativity and large motor skills collide. Build an ultimate balance beam or sneak through the ninja course.  • Best Feature: Strap sliders on your feet, put on a helmet, and swoosh down classic-shaped skatepark obstacles (no half pipes, though). • 2nd Best Feature: A climbing wall/green screen combination

Creativity Jam

  • Minnesota Children's MuseumThis is the first stage of his double slide
  • Minnesota Children's MuseumFFTC is EVERYWHERE!
  • Minnesota Children's MuseumCreativity Jam begins with a creative face.

Creativity Jam was once a traveling exhibit that came and went on the whim of the Minnesota Children’s Museum, but now it is a permanent feature that combines sticker joy with face paint joy, music joy, and building/engineering joy. • Best Feature: It’s so hard to choose, but I think it’s got to be the face paint station with adjustable mirrors on a long table for many kids  to use at the same time (unlike the cart in the past). • 2nd Best Feature: Building station.  The blocks they use are super unique and really fun.

Imaginopolis

  • Minnesota Children's MuseumVisiting our Imagination
  • Minnesota Children's MuseumCreative Play at work
  • Minnesota Children's MuseumEnter the Noodle Forest

Imaginopolis is home to creative play with simple lines and shapes.  It’s a somewhat empty place for your imagination to go wild.  The lights are dimly lit and in one corner is the Noodle Forest.  • Best Feature: The Noodle Forest.  It’s fun to enter and it’s a cozy little space. • 2nd Best Feature:  The simplicity of the space. I can see my 10 year old loving this place with a couple of friends.  They would create a whole story of a new world.

Forces at Play

Minnesota Children's Museum

Sprouts

Minnesota Children's Museum

Our World

  • Minnesota Children's MuseumWhat is better than a wall of buttons?
  • Minnesota Children's MuseumBoys at Work
  • Minnesota Children's MuseumFirefighter to the rescue! Outta my way!

The Studio/Backyard/Tip Top Terrace

The Studio was updated with more than simple visual arts projects.  Try your hand a sewing or sculpting or painting, etc.  The Backyard is a brand new exhibit that includes a bird’s nest for your little birdies and “earthy” activities.

The New outdoor were created to encourage kids to take ‘healthy risks that challenge both body and mind.” Some new elements include a giant kaleidoscope, a mirror reflection house and a solar-powered sculpture.

The Tip Top Terrace is a seasonal exhibit on the tip top of the museum to view St. Paul, make a little music, or draw.  A shade awning over this space was was created in partnership with the Center for Hmong Arts & Talent.


Minnesota Children's Museum

The first kid to ever go down The Scramble! And on his BIRTHDAY!

Tips from the Minnesota Children’s Museum Website

  • If you park in the World Trade Center Ramp, bring your ticket for validation because 3 Hours is $5
  • Socks are REQUIRED in The Scramble
  • Kids might get wet in Forces at Play and Sprouts 

*Pictures used with permission

Free Third Sundays at Minnesota Children’s Museum

Third Sundays are free at MCM courtesy of Target. Interestingly, the museum’s expansion has actually reduced its capacity. Therefore, they expect lines on Free Third Sundays to be worse than in the past. It will likely be crowded. 

Birthday Parties at Minnesota Children’s Museum

Minnesota Children's MuseumChildren’s Museum offers staff-directed birthday parties that include set up, clean up and entrance into the galleries. There are two levels, the basic Monster Celebration Party is meant for a smaller, more active group of children that wants to spend their time playing and exploring the museum independent. It includes and ice cream treat and admission for up to 6 guests.

  • Members: $50, $8.95 per additional guest
  • Non-Members: $100, $16.95 per additional guest

The Monster Celebration Plus Party includes admission for more guest and a reserved table in the party room. Includes admission for up to 15 guests.

  • Members: $250, $8.95 per additional guest
  • Non- Members: $300, $8.95 per additional guest

Learn more online or by calling 651-225-6000 to reserve your party today! For this and other birthday party ideas, we have created FFTC’s Ultimate Guide to Birthday Parties in the Twin Cities.

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