For four summers in high school and college, I worked at Fish Lake Regional Park in Maple Grove. Just one of 22 parks in the Three Rivers Parks system, Fish Lake was a place for people to come boat, walk, swim, and play. I spent many hours serving concessions, taking entrance fees, and managing the line of boats waiting for permission to get on the access-controlled lake. While it’s one of the smaller parks in the system, Fish Lake has a ton to offer.
These years, my family spends time at Elm Creek Park Reserve because the playground is pretty amazing, with chutes and ladders for all ages, and the man-made, filtered lake is a perfect swimming hole in the summer. I’ve also spent time at French Lake Park (another great playground!) and Bryant Lake. No matter where you are in the metro area, there’s a Three Rivers Park for you. Boating? Baker Park. Skiing? Hyland. Dog sledding? Crow-Hassan. A working farm? Gale Woods Farm. Geocaching? Nearly all of them.
Hyland Park is a great place for winter sports
Photo by Todd Buchanan
The best thing is that these parks don’t limit the fun to only the warmer months. Even as fall and winter creep up on us, there are plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy. Here are just a few happening in the next couple of weeks:
Rockets: The Science of Flight (October 28), Lowry Nature Center: Make rockets out of pop bottles and watch them soar while learning about flight and aerodynamics.
Canoe When the Moon is Full (October 28), Silverwood Park: Take a peaceful moonlit paddle as a guide leads you through the water. Watch for wildlife like deer, herons, and muskrats.
Nocturnal Mountain Bike Racing (October 30), Elm Creek: Navigate through 10.5 miles of trail while experiencing the rush of night racing.
Nature Yoga for Women (November 3), Carver Park Reserve: No prior yoga experience is required for this session, which will enliven your spirit and connect you with the season.
Sheep to Mittens (November 17), Gale Woods Farm: Learn how to process wool and make a pair of warm, felted mittens.
Free Family Fun Days (Sundays), North Mississippi Park: Try a different activity each week without the cost. Learn about bats, winter mammals, deer, and ducks.