I took my kids to the “new” Elm Creek Park Reserve play area in Maple Grove last Monday for the first time, taking advantage of an unusually warm day (temps in the 70’s) in March. Elm Creek Park Reserve is located just north of highway 81 and highway 610 at the Elm Creek Blvd. exit. I had heard from friends they had a new play area that was big and popular, so I decided to try it out with the kids (especially since it’s free!).
My kids had a blast and I was very impressed with the play area. It was large, colorful, and had plenty for all age groups from toddler to teen.
There were several families there – mostly other moms with their little kids. (I’m sure on weekends it’s very busy in the summer!) The parking lots were huge, there were many picnic tables, and restrooms (nothing fancy – they were outhouses!).
The play structures were fun – there were huge green “frog”-themed climbing structures with long tunnel slides, tire swings that each held 3 kids, a smaller play area with slides that my 1-year-old enjoyed, and plenty of other activities including an area for kids to “dig up” dinosaur bones.
Elm Creek Park Reserve is part of the Three Rivers Park District, a park system in the west suburban Minneapolis/St. Paul area which includes parts of Anoka, Wright, Hennepin, Ramsey, Carver, Scott & Dakota counties and includes over 27,000 acres of parks, trails and facilities. The name “Three Rivers” comes from the three significant rivers to this region: the Mississippi, the Minnesota and the Crow.
The Three Rivers Park District has a great website at
http://www.threeriversparks.org/. I highly recommend exploring it as they have pictures, videos, interactive maps & directions, and much more. Check out their Activities page to get detailed information about everything from Archery to Geocaching to Swimming. Also, check out their Events page, as they have seasonal events including Easter egg hunts!
After our visit I talked to friends who know the area and they said there’s a swimming area near where we were that’s popular in the summer. Actually, after reading about the area, I learned there’s plenty to do in the summer AND winter – including skiing and sledding. People of all ages can easily find plenty to do to fill a day, weekend or more at any one park reserve within the Three Rivers District. Our family plans to go back again soon!