2013 Best Way to Spend A Weekend Day With Kids: Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Falls

Photo by Jvstin, via Flickr/Creative Commons

Kids. Sometimes, you can’t live with them, and you can’t just stick them in a closet and convince them that it’s a pretend Zombie Invasion Drill while you hit the flask. What’s a responsible parent to do? Get everyone of the house, of course!

Our Streets.MN readers clearly prefer the great outdoors for these moments, and chose the option offering wide open spaces, playgrounds, a dangerous water feature, and a source of both beer and ice cream: Minnehaha Falls. It edged out the ever-popular Como Zoo & Como Town, which offers almost all of the above, save the beer. Both completely clobbered indoor facilities such as the Model Railroad Museum, Children’s Museum, and Firefighter’s Museum, possibly because the wide open spaces of Minnehaha Falls disperses the shrieks and loudness of the children to a more manageable roar. In the open spaces, you can eschew the headache medications — resulting in a healthier liver and stomach lining when you partake of a beer from the Sea Salt diner.

There are many things to do at Minnehaha Falls on a summer weekend:

  • Climb around the rocks, hazardously.
  • Go to Sea Salt for fried fish, beer and ice cream. (Pro tip: Don’t do dinner on a summer weekend. Consider an early or late lunch. Trust me on this.)
  • Partake in musical entertainment.
  • Photobomb the inevitable wedding parties trying to do photos. (Note: This is great fun, but they do get kind of pissed off that somehow this large public park isn’t their private photo venue.)
  • Referee fights among your own children and others at the playgrounds.
  • Dodge people riding those darn surrey bicycle rentals (or rent one yourself and run over random passersby!).
  • Visit the little Minnehaha Depot (summer Sundays only).
  • Get run over by one of the 70 million charity running events that use the park as HQ.
  • Get a parking ticket from the Minneapolis Parks Police.
I like beer

I like beer

Minnehaha Park also makes a great base to launch onto the cute little Minnehaha Creek Trail to Lake Harriet and back, or into Fort Snelling along the Minnehaha Trail to the Fort. (Warning: The hill up to the Fort will need to be walked with a child trailer, because gravity is a law.)

In the winter, it’s a much quieter place. No beer. No musicians. No wedding parties. Just the frozen falls, which are pretty cool, but will only waste about 10 minutes, tops. At which point, you’ll need to find something else to do with the kids. Just remember: Zombie Apocalypse Prep is a fun game, but the kids’ school teachers may not understand when they explain why Mommy had them in a closet eating fruit snacks for an hour.

About Julie Kosbab

Julie Kosbab is an online marketing consultant and active transportation advocate living in Anoka County, Minnesota. She was one of Minnesota's only League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructors when certified in 2005, and is no longer lonely in that calling. A past member of the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association, she has 2 children and a garage full of bicycles. Find her on Twitter as @betweenstations, or read her (seldom updated) blog at Ride Boldly!