6 Fun Family Outings in the Twin Cities: Outdoor Edition

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Out and About

There’s lots to do in and around the Twin Cities. With summer weather now upon us, many of these fun outings are newly-opened for the season and eager for visitors. So, bring the family and check out a few fun outings you can all do together.

Centennial Lakes Park

7499 France Ave. S., Edina, MN 55435  •  www.edinamn.gov

Centennial Lakes Park in Edina, near Southdale Center, and right behind Chuck E. Cheese, is surrounded by beautiful landscaping and walking paths. The Lake is the center of all the fun. Hop a paddle boat and cruise up and down the lake while working your leg muscles. Prefer a land excursion? Try your golf skills on their par 51 putting course. This is no mini golf! Centennial Lake park also offers lawn games like croquet and lawn bowling. Courses can be rented by the hour and include all the equipment and instructions you’ll need.

2017 Prices:

  • Putting course, 18 holes, $10/ pp
  • Croquet & Lawn Bowling, $20/ court/ hour
  • Paddle Boats, $10 / boat / half-hour (4-person capacity)

Como Park Zoo

1225 Estabrook Drive, Saint Paul, MN 55103  •  www.comozooconservatory.org

There’s more to do at this zoo. Check out the animals from Anacondas to Zebras, learn about their habitats, lifespans, and fun facts throughout the zoo. In addition to the animals, there are gardens and art throughout the park. Como Town has more family fun covered, with rides and attractions including the historic Cafesjian’s Carousel. Ride admission requires point passes starting at 50¢ / per point, alternately unlimited ride wristbands are available for $21.95 (2016 pricing).

Save the date for this years’ ZooBoo October 21, 22, 28 and 29, 2017, for trick-or-treating throughout the zoo, costumed characters, and NO scary zombies and monsters.

ZooBoo, Como Zoo, circa late 1990s.

Elm Creek Swim Pond

12420 James Deane Parkway, Maple Grove, MN 55369  •  www.threeriversparks.org

Complete with a sand beach to build sand castles and a sand-bottom swim pond to cool off. Best part is, there are no fish, no algae, and no other creepy, slimy things. The swim pond is filtered and chlorinated and offers varying depths for swimmers of all types and ages.

2017 Pass Prices:  

  • $5 / pp / day
  • $18 / pp / annual pass

French Regional Park

12605 Rockford Road, Plymouth, MN 55441  •  www.threeriversparks.org

While the play area may be closed for refurbishment (re-opening in 2018), there are still fun family frolics to be had. Go boating on the 886 acres of Medicine Lake with paddleboats, rowboats, kayaks, and canoes available to rent. There’s plenty of land to go hiking in the summers and snowshoeing in the winter. Looking for treasure? Go geocaching, a family-friendly scavenger hunt that uses GPS units that you can check out for free at the Visitor Center.

Bunker Beach Water Park

701 County Parkway A, Coon Rapids, MN 55433  •  www.bunkerbeach.com

Hit the waves in Minnesota at Bunker Beach Water Park. So much water fun, they’ve got Minnesota’s largest wave pool, six waterslides, water play area for the littles ones, sand play area and a lazy river. Be sure to check out the website for season opening and hours, in addition to helpful tips to make it a great family outing.

2017 prices:

  • Parking, $5
  • Guests Over 48″, $15 per day
  • Guests Under 48″, $12 per day
  • Senior Citizens (Age 62+), $12 per day
  • Guests Under Age 1, Free
  • Tube Rental, $1.50 / hour

Valley Fair

1 Valley Fair Dr, Shakopee, MN 55379  •  www.valleyfair.com

Thrill rides, family rides, and kiddie rides, oh my! Also home to Soak City Water Park, you’ll need a whole day or more to see and do it all. Check out the Fast Lane tickets available for purchase, so you can skip the normal lines at select rides and see and do more in your day. Outside food and beverages are not allowed, but there are many eateries around the park and they even offer all-day dining tickets if you want to eat a lot. Want go all out and out a lot? Here’s what you can get:

      • Platinum Pass: Unlimited Summer visits, free parking, food and merch discounts, admission to all Cedar Fair parks and more $212 / pp / year
      • All Season Dining Plan: Lunch and Dinner every time you visit $96 / pp / season
      • All Season Souvenir Bottle: Unlimited refills at the park $30 / pp / season
      • Fast Lane Day Pass: Skip the normal wait lines at 15 attractions $47 / pp / day

There is also a season-long Fast Lane Pass for sale, but it is unfortunately sold out this 2017 season.