We spent the last few weeks exploring the Twin Cities in Minnesota. While I’ve been there before, this was the first chance I had time to wander with kids.
I’ve never seen so many parks and green space in a city. I think my cousin thought I was a wee bit wonky when I couldn’t stop raving about their parks, the interactive playground equipment and variety of activities. I’ve lived and traveled in plenty of states and countries and this was the first time I have been able to walk into an amusement park, pool or fancy nature center without paying a dime. To say I was impressed is an understatement. I now understand why Minnesotans put up with their wretched winters.
Brace yourself, this is a long post. There is A LOT to do in Minnesota! Please, pardon my use of so many iPhone photos. Sometimes the best camera is the one with you.
Places we visited:
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden – Walker Center:
I’ve driven by this multiple times and seen it from the interstate. However, this was the first time we got up close and explored the area. I could have spent more time here if my kids hadn’t been distracted by the mini golf.
Science Museum of Minnesota:
We have an annual Children’s Museum membership which allows us a free/reduced rate entry into hundreds of museums. Therefore, I try to take advantage wherever we may be traveling. It was a beautiful day, so we spent the majority of our time outside. There was a maze, rock mining area and mini golf course. We’ve been doing a geology unit, so the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
Walker on the Green – Artist designed mini golf (temporary exhibit) –
By far, the most unique miniature golf course I have ever seen.
Rae spent most of her time at this hole working on being zen.
Minnehaha Falls Park –
Como Town –
The perfect sized amusement park for parents with toddlers. Our kids never got tired of the train.
Mall of America –
We had quite a few rainy days. We spent one of them just walking around the mall. While there was plenty to see and spend money on, we opted to just window shop. My little guy was in awe of the roller coaster and Sponge Bob area.
Tamarack Nature Center –
I wish we had gone here twice. My son made some very good memories, building dams and forts, with his cousin.
Be prepared to get wet and dirty. I wish we had taken swim suits, but was content with a nice clean change of clothes.
Rosebrook Park Wading pool –
An example of some of the interactive playground equipment. The wading pool (not pictured) was perfect for our new swimmers.
Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden –
While I wish we could have stayed here longer, the mosquito population was out of control. We lasted long enough to see the state flower, Pink Lady’s Slipper and then got out quickly.
Where we stayed:
Saint Paul East RV Park (Woodbury) –
The owners conveniently positioned us right by the park which won over our kids immediately. They had the spots laid out so that the road by the park was closed to traffic which allowed peace of mind to parents.
Location: If you’re looking for a bit of peace with modern conveniences a short drive away, this is perfect. Located right in Woodbury, there was a Trader Joe’s, YMCA, Kawalski’s, Wal-Mart and whatever shopping/restaurant you might want.
Wireless Internet: Our wifi was great, being close to the office. However, when we visited the Grandparents a few rows over I couldn’t connect at all.
Staff: The owners live on site and were very friendly.
Grounds: Very well maintained with personal touches throughout.
Facilities: 24 hr laundry, pool, playground, volleyball
Price: Expensive as parks go, but comparable to all those in the area (extra $2 charge for children 5+). We were comparing rates to local state parks with full hook ups. With reservation fees and entrance fees, there wasn’t a huge difference in price.
Overall review: We will definitely go back.