Part of the larger, Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park, Mill Ruins Park may not be your first choice to visit all by itself. However, it is connected to Father Hennepin Bluffs Park by the Stone Arch Bridge, it is at the entrance of the St. Anthony Falls Lock & Dam and it is across West River Parkway from Mill City Museum. In fact, if you plan to visit Mill City during decent weather, visiting Mill Ruins and the Stone Arch Bridge can give you a practical view of much of what you learn on the museum's tour.
Water Works is a project in progress within Mill Ruins Park. When finished it will be an oasis of native plantings among the concrete ruins. The north side of Water Works will contain a children's garden, which according to the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, will include sensory-engaging plants that kids and adults can explore.
Enjoying The Mill Ruins With Kids
To my preschooler, "park" and "playground" are synonymous, so she was vocally disappointed in Mill Ruins Park. However, if I had only referred to it as "the ruins" and dropped the word "park", I'm sure she would have been open to the fun. When walking along the ruins, kids can watch for ducks. There are sturdy ruins that are appear okay for kids to climb and some that are probably not. Since things are not really well-signed, I think parents can use their best judgment. We highly recommend downloading and printing this Mill Ruins Quest Activity Guide PDF from Minneapolis Parks & Rec. It gives kids a focus when they visit. If you can combine this park with a visit to Mill City, bigger kids will get more out of both visits. Minnesota Historical Society also sometimes offers Family Walking Tours of this park.
Mill Ruins Park is Part of Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park
Honestly, I'm never sure where one park ends and another begins along the Central Mississippi Riverfront, but it doesn't really matter. Besides Mill Ruins, the larger regional park includes: