One of my personal favorite park pools — Wabun Picnic Area wading pool in MINNEHAHA REGIONAL PARK, Minneapolis — was added to our master list of splash pads this summer when I decided to include wading pools in the mix. My reason for this was that there are so many good options around town for these hybrids that feature the zero-depth entry and spray features that parents of younger children love along with a little deeper water to practice those swim skills.
Wabun Wading Pool and Playground
Not only does Wabun Picnic Area have a pool that fits the above description (and a cool spraying rock structure), it has terrific inclusive playground equipment that was just installed last year to replace the old, worn-out stuff. My youngest loves the updated tot lot with a shaded sandy play area and the swaying vintage camper trailer, a nod to the park’s roots as an auto tourist camp.
Wabun Picnic Area
There is also ample covered picnic space at Wabun, perfect for that power lunch before, middle or after a rousing day at the pool and playground.
Birthday Parties – rentals at Wabun Picnic Area
If you are wondering how Wabun Picnic Area was named, it’s because the space has 7 picnic shelters available for the public to reserve for private events like birthday parties. Most of the shelters hold 60 people, but Shelter C has a 230-person capacity. Prices range from $125.00 to $450.00. Find more MPRB picnic site rental information here. If you have a car-crazy kid (with a summer birthday), this could be a great place to throw a car-themed party. The playground will match!
Bonus family fun:
If you think your kids might be up to the walk (it’s also possible to drive and park closer to the visitor center at 5000 W River Pkwy, Minneapolis), there’s a path that will take you from the Wabun Park Picnic Area down to Lock and Dam No. 1 on the Mississippi riverfront. The Visitor Promenade is open daily during park hours and little ones might enjoy spotting watercraft moving through the locks from a birds-eye view.
Wabun Picnic Area (part of Minnehaha Regional Park)
4655 46th Ave. S
Minneapolis, MN 55417