Tag - hyland lake park reserve

10 Things for Kids: Richardson Nature Center & Hyland Lake Park
Family Fun Twin Cities Free List November 8-November 10, 2013
Summertime Together: Hyland Lake Park Reserve Play Area

10 Things for Kids: Richardson Nature Center & Hyland Lake Park

10 Things for Kids: Richardson Nature Center & Hyland Lake Park10 Things for Kids: Richardson Nature Center & Hyland Lake Park

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

Family Fun Twin Cities Free List November 8-November 10, 2013

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.

CatchingFireHunger Games Catching Fire Movie Release Party
Red Balloon Bookshop
Friday, November 8, 2013
6:30 pm
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
10:30 am
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
Brickmania Toyworks
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
2:00-4:00 pm
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
Silverwood Park
Sunday, November 10, 2013
1:00-3:00 pm
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
Landmark Center
Sunday, November 10, 2013
4:00-6:00 pm

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.




Summertime Together: Hyland Lake Park Reserve Play Area

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

Located in West Bloomington is Hyland Lake Park Reserve of the Three Rivers Park District.  Winding your way long East Bush Lake Road through a maze of lakes and wetlands, you end up ending the area affectionately called Chutes and Ladders.

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!”

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