Discover a new outdoor play space! We can help you find some of the best playgrounds Minneapolis, St. Paul and greater Minnesota. Looking for specifics like a playground, swimming spot or bike trail? Want to find the perfect place to a pitch a tent or your city’s best sledding hill? Search by all of these amenities and more in our Twin Cities Parks & Playgrounds Search by selecting a category from the drop down menu or typing in the keyword of your choice in the search box. You can even enter an address and select a radius to search by city or region of the Metro.
Plus, find park hours, fees, directions, pictures and other extras.
Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden intends to open for the season – with social distancing measures in place for safe enjoyment of the space. However, the opening is delayed through at least April 10th. Get updates here.
The Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary is open from 7:30 a.m. until one hour before sunset, seven days a week between April 1st and October 15th, and on until October 31 from 7:30am to one hour before sunset.
The Martha Crone Visitor Shelter in the Wildflower Garden is open from 10 a.m. until one hour before sunset Monday-Saturday and from 12 p.m. until one hour before sunset on Sundays.
Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden is part of Theodore Wirth Park. The 15-acre garden is the oldest public wildflower garden in the nation. Its legacy dates back to 1907 when Minneapolis botanist Eloise Butler and botany teachers successfully petitioned the MPRB to create a natural botanic garden to preserve native flora as the city grew. Three acres of bog, meadow and hillside were properly fenced and the Wild Botanic Garden opened April 27, 1907. In 2019, the boardwalk was expanded to increase accessibility to the gardens for visitors.
The Garden is home to more than 500 plant species and 130 bird species. It provides 60,000 visitors annually with spectacular seasonal displays of native wildflowers in woodland, wetland and prairie areas. Each area creates a different habitat that fosters different types of plants, animals and birds. 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, natural history reference materials and friendly staff and volunteers waiting to help with Garden-related questions.
Programs and Tours at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden
- Online at www.minneapolisparks.org using ActiveNet (credit card payment)
- In person at the Visitor Shelter in the Wildflower Garden
Family Fun Adventure Backpacks at Eloise Butler
The Garden offers loaner Family Fun Adventure Backpacks that are filled with activities to do together while exploring. Start your visit with a stop to the Visitor Shelter to borrow a backpack or a Garden Scavenger Hunt for a fun way to explore the Garden with your family. Binoculars are also available to borrow.
Self-Guided Tours at Eloise Butler
Garden Guidebook can be borrowed or purchased for $5 at the Visitor Shelter. Follow the station numbers to learn more about plant species within the Wildflower Garden.
Parking at Eloise Butler Gardens
NOTE: The Garden parking lot is a pay lot. You will need a Minneapolis Parks Parking Permit sticker, or use the pay box to park. Payment receipts or sticker must be displayed on your car’s dashboard to be valid. Parking at Minneapolis Park Lots ranges from 75 cents to $1.50/hour.
Improvements to Eloise Butler
The parks department is in the early stages of planning improvements at the gardens and are considering adding a new bathroom, a tool shed, an addition to the visitor center (which is quite small), and some upgrades to the front entrance. Work is planned to begin is 2020 or 2021.
For more outdoor play ideas:
- 10 of the Best Twin Cities Playgrounds
- 20 Twin Cities Beaches, Parks & Playgrounds to Try This Summer
- Nature Playgrounds in the Twin Cities - Get Back to Green
Check out our Parks and Playgrounds Pinterest Board.
The Family Fun Twin Cities Parks & Playgrounds Search directory is your one stop for the best Twin Cities Park Guide! We share some of the best playgrounds in the Twin Cities in this directory. We are so passionate about how awesome are parks are, that we don't want you to stop with 10 parks or even 150 parks! There are so many parks in the metro area, you could visit a new one every day for some free Twin Cities family fun and still not have seen them all in 5 years.
We've currently reviewed over 400 parks in this directory, but we would love to hear from you! What do YOU think are the best parks in the Twin Cities? How about the best parks in Minnesota? What parks did we completely miss? What is your favorite little unknown gem? We really want to share all your favorite indoor playgrounds and outdoor parks! Let us know and we'll add a review here.
Twin Cities parks are great for hiking, biking, rollerblading, kayaking, canoeing and other fun physical games. But, they are also just great for hanging out in a hammock and picnicking while the kids explore and enjoy some of the best playgrounds in Minnesota. Let's enjoy our parks:
In Minnesota indoor playgrounds are a necessity! I know we think of outdoors when we think of parks, but with our long, dark and cold winters, some indoor active games are a must. You can even have indoor picnics at these parks. This such a great way to stretch the summer feeling into the winter! Check out some of the best indoor playgrounds in the Twin Cities this winter.
Outside Parks and Outdoor Waterparks
Minnesota has these, too! And during our short summer, we want to take advantage of them as much as possible! best In fact, the Minneapolis and St. Paul Parks are some of the best outdoor playgrounds twin cities - actually in the country. They win awards - every year! Look and See. Every. Single. Year. So get out to our area parks, make up some fun games to play.
Some of the best beaches in the Twin Cities are hidden little gems. Anne has her favorite 20 Twin Cities Beaches, Parks & Playgrounds to Try This Summer. She revises the list every year to keep us in the know.
Shakespeare in the Park at Twin Cities Parks
One of my favorite ways to enjoy our parks is with a play or musical in a park. It doesn't really have to be Shakespeare, it can be the latest Disney princess musical or even a puppet wagon. In fact, sometimes Open Eye Figure Theatre's driveway tour has some park stops. Watch our Performing Arts page each summer to find these fun, free park events.
Music in the Parks - Minneapolis, St. Paul, Suburbs
Nothing says easy summertime fun like music in the parks! The best thing is, there is seriously a concert every night of the week from Memorial Day until Labor Day. Obviously, some get cancelled due to weather, but pick any nice night, take a look at the Family Fun Twin Cities calendar and you can find music in a park. No sign up, no tickets, no money, no commitment. Show up, bring a picnic, play at some of the best playgrounds in Minnesota and relax to great music.
Movies in the Parks at Twin Cities Parks
One thing I love about Movies in the Park is that they tend to screen at some of the best playgrounds in Minneapolis and the greater Twin Cities. I love to make it a full evening with a picnic and some fun outdoor kid games and Park Games for Kids. This is a good time to see newer kids movies that you didn't catch in the theater or to introduce your kids to your own childhood favorites without having to gamble on library DVD quality.
Active indoor games for preschoolers are something we are always on the search for when the weather is uncooperative. The parks have a lot to offer with their tot times and open gym slots. For instance, they often offer riding toys, hula hoops, games to play with preschoolers, balls of all kinds, climbing structures, fun games for toddlers, etc.
Looking for the Best Playgrounds and Parks Beyond the Twin Cities?
If you are traveling outside the metro, you'll want to check out some of our favorite day-trip parks. If you are going further than that, we have a list of great family-owned websites to direct you to the best parks around the country so you don't have to depend on national websites or random internet searches.