Tag - three rivers park district

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Opening in May – Twin Cities Area Attractions
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10 Things for Kids: Richardson Nature Center & Hyland Lake Park
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Indoor & Outdoor Fun: Twin Cities Nature Centers SW Metro

Opening in May – Twin Cities Area Attractions

tm opening in may

It’s official – Family Fun Twin Cities has SPRING FEVER! Check back often as we’re always adding to this list of Twin Cities-area attractions opening for the season in May 2017.

TWIN CITIES ATTRACTIONS OPENING IN MAY

Caponi Art ParkNOW OPEN: Caponi Art Park | Eagan • Tues-Sun, 9am-8pm • FREE admission, donations appreciated • Wander the trails through the sculpture park and take in free cultural entertainment. Special event: Summer Performance Series, Sundays July-Aug, 6:30pm.

4/28-4/30: Gammelgarden Museum | Scandia • Guided tours Fri-Sun, 1 & 2:30pm • $7/adults, under 13 FREE • 5 historic buildings immerse you in the lives of Swedish immigrants in the mid-1850s. There is no charge to picnic, walk the grounds, seek out the colorful Dala horses, or play on the equipment.

PicMonkey Collage gammelgarden

5/1: Cafesjian’s Carousel | St Paul • Como Park’s famous carousel, open daily through Labor Day, Mon-Fri 10am-4pm, Sat-Sun 10am-6pm • $2/pp ages 3+

5/6: Wheel Fun Rentals | Lake Calhoun, Minnehaha Falls & Veterans Memorial Park – Richfield • visit the links for complete hours • Rent surreys, choppers, canoes, paddleboards and more.

5/6: Spring on the Farm | Eidem Homestead, Brooklyn Park • 10am-1pm • $6/adults, $4/under 12, under 4/FREE • Greet the farm babies, help with spring planting and other activities. Eidem Homestead will be open for a variety of special events through Dec 2017.

PicMonkey Collage eidem farm

5/6-7: Grand Opening Celebration | Oliver Kelley Farm, Elk River • Noon-5pm • $6-$12/pp, under 5 & MHS members FREE • Be among the first to see the new visitor center and indoor/outdoor exhibits, participate in make-and-takes, demos and see the animals. Upcoming special events include Mother’s Day Weekend (5/13-14) and come out to meet the farm babies in June.

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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

Indoor & Outdoor Fun: Twin Cities Nature Centers SW Metro

It’s another March (or April) day in Minnesota where we just can’t quite get spring weather to commit — and I’m back with my second round in a series of the indoor and outdoor entertainment to be had at Twin Cities nature centers. In my previous post, I highlighted the activities at three NE Metro locations.

Today, I moved in a south-westerly direction (for no reason other than the fact I could find three in a roughly 10-mile radius that worked with my schedule) and hit up another trio of nature centers I believe you and your young ones would enjoy. I found Westwood Hills Nature Center, Richardson Nature Center and Wood Lake Nature Center to be exceptionally family-friendly and great for a day destined to be spent either indoors or out. Read on for more details.

Westwood Hills Nature Center | St Louis Park

Visitor Center hours: Monday-Friday • 8:30am-4:30pm

Twin Cities Nature CentersIndoor fun: The indoor portion of the nature center is on the small side, very appealing to kids. One colorful corner is stocked with books, puzzles, games and stuffed animals; other areas have drawers to pull out containing natural objects to touch (beware the compost drawer if you’re squeamish about vermiculture!). An on-hand naturalist engaged my kids in a game of I-Spy with wildlife around the room and gave me the scoop on preschool and family programs available throughout the year at Westwood Hills. Get a sampling of those, including the Nature For the Very Young drop-in preschool programs open to the public here.

Outdoor fun: Weather permitting, bring a picnic and spend some time in the outdoor play area. There are both a traditional playground climbing structure and a small nature play yard containing stumps, logs, shelters and one really cool work of art (see collage above). Within a stone’s throw of a suburban neighborhood is a lake, winding trails, a beautiful observation deck, and a landscaped habitat for Westwood Hill’s resident Barred owl.

Richardson Nature Center | Bloomington

Visitor Center hours: Monday-Saturday • 9am-5pm

Twin Cities Nature Centers

Indoor fun: Colorful, eye-popping relief murals decorate many of the walls of Richardson Nature Center. Grab a scavenger hunt card and see if you can pick out the wildlife in the detailed scenes. My oldest child did this while his preschool-aged sister explored the book nook, stacks of puzzles, a crawl-through coyote den, and other hands-on exhibits. Then, the two collaborated on a predator-prey puppet show for my viewing pleasure.

Outdoor fun: Sheltered within the Hyland Lake Park Reserve, Richardson Nature Center is the starting point for many trails and a Nature Exploration Area where kids can putter around with natural building materials. Check out a bird, bug or frog kit from the front desk to explore the prairie and wetlands. Close to the indoor exhibits is an outdoor raptor viewing area.

Wood Lake Nature Center | Richfield

Visitor Center hours: Monday-Saturday • 8:30am-5pm

Twin Cities Nature Centers

Indoor fun: Again, I was pleasantly surprised and appreciative of how many interactive exhibits there were for kids at my third stop of the day – Wood Lake Nature Center in Richfield, a little preserve of land sandwiched between city and first-ring suburbia. The preschooler is always content with a set of miniature animals no matter where she goes; my 9-year-old prefers activities that involve a touch screen. Wood Lake has both — simple toys and books for younger visitors and some creative exhibits that older kids will enjoy operating. We especially enjoyed matching sounds in nature with the creatures who make them.

Outdoor fun: When the weather warms up, it will be great fun to spend time in the Wood Lake Nature Play Area, watching the kids interact not with screens, but with logs, boulders, sticks and other natural materials. The play yard is fenced in and completely conducive to creative play.


Yes, we visited all three of these Twin Cities Nature Centers in one day. Though we had a great time, I don’t advise trying to fit so many in. Pick one, slow down, explore and enjoy. Stay tuned this spring for the next installment of FFTC’s Guide to Twin Cities-area Nature Centers!


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