Wood Lake Nature Center, Richfield

Wood Lake nature

Located in Richfield you will find a hidden oasis… the Wood Lake Nature Center. Wood Lake Nature Center is a 150-acre natural area dedicated to environmental education, wildlife observation, and outdoor recreation.  A great place to take a walk, and enjoy nature. To see what is coming up for special events at the Wood Lake Nature Center go her

About Wood Lake Nature Center

The park features several wildlife viewing areas, a 100-seat amphitheater, a picnic ground, and three miles of trails and boardwalks. The trails are either blacktop or crushed limestone and most are wheelchair accessible during summer months. To preserve the natural habitat, no pets, bikes or rollerblades are allowed.

Walking/Ski Trails

Wood Lake has over two miles of crushed limestone walking trails, floating boardwalk, and groomed cross-country ski trails (weather-permitting).  See Wood Lake’s trail map for distances and more information.  The trails wind through three different habitats: cattail marsh, mixed lowland forest, and restored prairie.  For a list of birds you may see at Wood Lake, refer to our birding brochure.

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Events on Memorial Day

Lakewood Memorial DayStill not sure where to go to observe Memorial Day? Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis is just one of the many places that is having an event. There will be a traditional ceremony, music as well as tours. To see the times and schedule of events to be held at the Lakewood Cemetery go here.  One option for arriving at the cemetery would be to take the Minnesota Street car.  The cost is $2 per person.  You can find more information about it here.  LakewoodIf you don’t live near Lakewood, here is a list that the Star Tribune put out of other Cemeteries hosting events. If you live in outstate MN check with your local Newspaper or even your local radio station might have the times of events.  Most events are held rain, or shine and we know how the weather can be so don’t forget your umbrella. memoria day

 

The Landing Memorial Day/Weekend, Shakopee

TheLanding

The Landing, located in Shakopee will be open all three days this weekend.  It is part of the Three Rivers Park System.  There will be special events for the Memorial Day/Weekend Holiday.  Music, Old Fashioned Games, Wild West Show and more.  Go here for more information on cost and times.

The Landing Wagon

Experience life along the Minnesota River. Meet fur traders, townsfolk, and farmers. Ride a horse-drawn trolley and play old-fashioned games. Watch the Wild West Show (Sunday only) and meet Civil War soldiers. Listen to a brass band and play frontier games (Monday only). Memorial Day ceremony on Monday at 2 PM. Food for purchase by Robert?s BBQ. Last entry at 4 PM. Children 17 years and younger must be accompanied by a registered adult.

Memorial Day: Military History Living Timeline, Fort Snelling

Fort Snelling

Fort Snelling is one of those types of places that many of us drive by on a regular basis and take for granted. We don’t quite realize, just how lucky we are to have this piece of history in our state. Fort Snelling is home to some great interactive events that are great for all ages. This Monday is one of such events. Memorial Day: Military History Living Timeline. Hours on Monday May 25th will be 10-5. More information and specifics can be found here.

Fort snelling people

Travel through the past with a living timeline of military life during this special day honoring America’s soldiers. Costumed staff and re-enactors will interpret different eras of military history through uniform and equipment displays as well as weapons demonstrations. See military demonstrations throughout the day, play children’s games and explore Minnesota’s oldest military fort. Veterans receive free admission on Memorial Day.

Fort Snelling marching

Franconia Sculpture Park

Franconia 1

Looking for something to do this weekend?  Franconia Sculpture Park is located the scenic St. Croix River Valley. Although the actual address is listed as Shafer, it is out in the country. It is free and open 365 days of the year, from dawn to dusk. You can follow the paths and wander a bit for a self-guided tour, or go here for info on their guided tours.  You might be interested in one of the many events offered at the park, take a look at the complete schedule.

Franconia 2

Franconia Sculpture Park

Located in the scenic St. Croix River Valley, Franconia Sculpture Park is a nonprofit arts organization operating a 43-acre outdoor sculpture park, active artist residency, and community arts programming. Franconia was founded in 1996 by a small group of professional artists, including current Artistic Director/CEO John Hock, who envisioned a supportive artist residency community and open-air sculpture laboratory accessible to all. Today, this vision has been achieved through an active artist residency program that serves 40 artists each year and arts learning programming that serves over 100,000 annual visitors. Franconia provides an intriguing and exciting place to discover an ever-changing exhibition of monumental sculpture, and the opportunity to meet artists-in-residence who invite you to engage with their creations.

Franconia 3

 

 

Strange Magic Fairy Event at Tonkadale Greenhouse Thursday

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Stop by Tonkadale Greenhouse in Minnetonka this Thursday, 5/21 from 5-8pm to participate in fairy themed activities, learn how to make your own fairy garden and enter for your chance win a copy of STRANGE MAGIC on DVD! Tonkadale was voted the “Best Resource for Fairy Gardens” in 2013 by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Strange Magic DVD

Explore Outdoors Saint Paul

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Who doesn’t like to explore the outdoors?  What is more fun than exploring with chances to win prizes? This summer, find outdoor fun and adventure in Saint Paul while earning chances to win prizes! For the Calendar of Events, go here. Some are limited in size of participants and others are open to anyone.This looks like a great thing to do with kids during the summer. Could make it into a scavenger hunt, and have them find things along the way.

City of st. paul map

The more Explore Outdoors Saint Paul events you participate in, the more chances you will have to win prizes. At each event, look for the Explore Outdoors Saint Paul clipboard and sign in to enter the drawing. You may enter the drawing once per event. The prize drawing will be held at the National Public Lands Day Celebration on September 26. You need not be present to win, but why not join us to celebrate the wonderful activities, parks, and trails Saint Paul has to offer?

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Richardson Nature Center, Bloomington

Richardson

Our May weather still is not quite deciding if it should be warm or cold…to wear rain gear or winter gear?  On a day like today, here is an inside place to go explore.  Richardson Nature Center is located in Bloomington and is part of the ThreeRivers Park District.  It is sort of tucked away, and you can pretend you are miles and miles from anywhere, and in the woods.  They have occasional events, some of which you need to sign up ahead of time for.  You can find the upcoming schedule here. The nature center has a great variety, with both inside and outdoor activities.

Richardson Turtles

Visitors can also meet Richardson’s resident raptors, reptiles, and amphibians up close.

Upstairs, floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of backyard wildlife and an active bee hive. The building has several rooms, an amphitheater, and an outdoor fire ring available for rent. The Center also offers a variety of free resources available for the public to use: bird watching backpacks, pond exploration kits, bug kits, frog kits, and Nordic walking sticks.

The interpretive area surrounding the building features hiking trails that weave between the diverse habitats of restored prairie, oak forests, and wetlands. Along the trails, visitors might spot deer, fox, coyote, muskrats, and turkeys. Many species of birds are observed in the area seasonally, including nesting pairs of Ospreys and Trumpeter Swans. Cell phone audio stops, trail guides, exploration kits and interpretive signs are available throughout the park.

Richardson Animals

Travel with Atlantic Luggage + Enter to Win a Trip to Orlando!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Atlantic Luggage. All opinions are 100% mine.

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Atlantic Luggage has made traveling easier for families since 1919 by offering innovative and affordable luggage.  Right now they are making it FREE for one family to travel by running an amazing Trip to Orlando Florida Sweepstakes.  You can enter to win a family trip for four to Orlando, courtesy of Atlantic Luggage!  This trip includes round-trip airfare for four, a 3 night stay at a hotel, (4) two-day admission passes to 34 of Orlando’s top attractions (include Legoland, Garoland, the Kennedy Space Center, Dayton Speedway, and more!), $150 in spending money and 4 carry-on pieces of Atlantic Luggage.  This prize is valued at $4,270 and it is FREE to enter!

My husband and I LOVE to travel.  I’ll be sharing some photos from our many trips throughout this post.  I’ve packed for dozens of them over the past few years, and one of the most important parts about packing for a trip is having proper luggage.  The less bags you have to manage the better, especially if you have kids, which is why Atlantic Luggage designs their suitcases to have features unlike any other brands.  Their Link2Go™ system allows you to connect multiple pieces of luggage for easy one-handed rolling – EXCELLENT for rushing from one gate to another gate on connecting flights.  They also have 360-degree 4-wheel spinners so that you can easily steer your suitcases without the awkwardness of your suitcase falling over or running over you.

Blowing kisses to Olaf in Orlando, FL.

Atlantic Luggage makes lightweight luggage for all occasions.  Whether you need a big suitcase or just a briefcase, a garment bag or a carryon, Atlantic Luggage has a piece perfect for you.  Although the bags are lightweight, they are made of durable materials to last you years, plus they come with a superior manufactured warranty.

While picking the perfect bag is an important step in hassle-free travel, I’d like to share with you five packing tips I’ve learned over the past year.  In the past 12 months we’ve taken a business trip from Ohio to Texas, multiple leisure trips to Michigan, a flight to and from Orlando, a cruise to the Bahamas, and more.  I’m the one responsbile for packing my suitcase and my husband’s suitcase and making sure we have everything that we need.  Here’s what I’ve learned along the way:

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1.  Make a packing list.  Even the most well seasoned travelers can have a memory lapse, which is why it is so important to make a packing list and check it two or three times before leaving the house. I get anxiety about a week before we leave, fearing that I’ll forget something, so anytime a thought about packing enters my mind I put it on a big dump list.  It usually looks like a crazy woman wrote it because it makes no senses.  It will say things like “Power strip.  Diet Mountain Dew.  Sleep aid.”  Then, as the trip gets closer, I take the dump list and put it into an organized manner to pack from.  I divide my list into categories:  Outfits, Essential Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hair brush), Extra Toiletries (makeup, extra hair products, etc.), Electronics (chargers & devices), and Other (power strips, water bottles, books, etc.).

2.  Pack a “To Go Bag” if you will be stopping overnight before your reach your destination.  If you’re like us, we often drive to where we need to be, and don’t want to transport our larger suitcases into our hotel room just for a few hours of sleep before hitting the road again.  I always pack a “To Go Bag” containing the clothes we want to wear on our final day of traveling plus the essential toiletries.  I don’t pack the shampoo or soap or anything heavy since the hotel will have that on hand, and I also make sure my To Go Bag is a bag I can use on other parts of our trip.  When we took our cruise, my To Go Bag was my waterproof beach tote.  Once we were finished getting ready for our final day of travel, I simply put the To Go Bag in with the rest of my luggage.

In the old Mission Control Room at NASA in Houston, TX.

3.  Check the luggage policy before you go.  Whether you’re flying or getting on a boat, each terminal will have their own rules and regulations about what you can and can’t bring.  Nothing is worse than waiting in a line for hours to go through security and board only to discover one of your bags is too big or one of your items isn’t allowed in a carry-on, only in a checked bag, and having to get out of the line to handle the situation.  Although it hasn’t happened to me (thankfully, because I’ve read the rules), I’ve seen people have to literally throw away expensive items because their bags were already checked and they couldn’t take them on the plane.  Save your time and money by familiarizing yourself with the rules before you leave.

4.  Re-use clothes.  This is vacation, not a fashion show, and chances are you WON’T see the same people more than once.  If you do, hey, they are on vacation too and are probably re-using clothes.  When we took our cruise, I overpacked SO MUCH and wheeled my bulky suitcase around for no reason.  In reality I spent most of my time in either my bathing suits or my sweatpants (because it was so cold AND we ate a ton so I was totally digging elastic).  Try to pack just a few bottoms and then versatile tops that go with everything.  Pack a lot of neutrals and then a few items to pop some color, like a scarf (which is also great to have if you’re flying) or a necklace.  If you pack jewelry, I find that packing each piece in its own Ziploc bag is a great way to keep it from getting tangled.

5.  If you’re taking a cruise, bring hanging organizers.  I know that this tip applies to only a select number of people, but hey, it is something that saved us so many headaches on our cruise.  The closet that you receive in your room is TINY and there is very little shelving in the bathroom.  We brought a hanging toiletries bag and hung it in the bathroom, and we also brought an over-the-door shoe organizer and hung it on the other side of the bathroom door.  We were able to store our shoes, hats, books, and other knick knacks vertically on the door rather than cluttering up our closet and vanity area.  Even though you don’t technically NEED a clean and organized room, it makes you feel a little better coming into one at night.

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Make sure to take a few minutes and enter to win the $4,270 grand prize from Atlantic Luggage.  Someone will be taking their family on a trip to Orlando – it could be you!  BUT, you have to enter in order to win!  The contest is running through June 15th, so make sure to tell all of your family and friends to enter for a chance to win.  The winner will be chosen within 7-10 days of the contest ending, and the trip must be booked by March 31, 2016 and taken by June 30, 2016, so there is plenty of time to arrange vacations at work.  Enter to win!

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Dance Nights at the Union Depot, St. Paul

Union Depot

Do you like to Dance?  Or do you want to learn to dance?  Maybe you just want to listen to some great music? Either way, there are two upcoming free dance nights at the Union Depot, located in St. Paul. Tonight May 18th, is the first one, Swing Dancing.

6:30pm – 7:00pm
Free Swing Dance Lesson
7:00pm – 9:00pm
Music by Beasley’s Big Band

If you cant make it tonight, or if Tango is more your thing, then mark June 15th on your calendar.

Parking and Construction information can be found here.

Union Depot dance-nights

Union Depot is excited to be hosting free Dance Nights! The event will begin with 30 minutes of free professional dance instruction followed by two hours of dancing to a live band.  Green Mill Catering will host concessions with pizza and beer, wine and other beverages available for purchase.  Union Depot Dance Nights are open to all ages and will feature live music by many of the Twin Cities’ most popular dance bands, offering great entertainment even for those who don’t wish to dance.

On May 18 Union Depot will host Beasley’s Big Band for a night of Swing Dancing.  The band has been performing for more than 20 years in Big Band Jazz in the style of the Count Basie Orchestra, delighting audiences with its renditions of music by Glen Miller, Duke Ellington and many other jazz greats.  Instructor Denny Hukriede will also teach dance lessons at this event.

 music notes