Free National Park Service Annual Pass for All 4th Grade Students

Do you have a child in fourth grade this school year? (I do!) If so, you’ll want to know about the Every Kid in a Park program that offers a FREE annual pass to all National Park Service Federal Lands and Waters for 4th graders and their families. You can explore dozens of places across the country with no entry cost to you!

Voyageurs National Park (Minnesota)

You’ll need to sign up your fourth grader HERE to get the free pass. It will get your fourth grader and accompanying family free entrance fees to National Parks across the nation, including the five we have in Minnesota:

Visit the Every Kid in a Park website for more details and information.

Teddy Bear Park Is Open for the Season

Teddy Bear Park Stillwater

If you’ve never been to the one of the kind Teddy Bear Park in Stillwater, add it to your list.  Not only does it offer great outdoor fun for kids, it’s a nice spot to enjoy the view of Stillwater as it’s located up on the hill.  A rare perk for an outdoor park, there are nice indoor bathrooms on site.  It’s not open all year, but we received news that Teddy Bear Park is open for the 2019 season. There’s sure to be plenty of warm days ahead to enjoy this great place.

Stillwater Teddy Bear Park Statue

Additional information about Teddy Bear Park:

Teddy Bear Park is located at 207 Nelson Street E on the corner of 2nd Street South and Nelson Street near downtown Stillwater. The park is open to the public 8 am to 8 pm from mid-April to mid-October weather dependent.
The park play equipment is designed for children 7 years of age and younger.  There is no admission to visit and play in the park.

We don’t live close enough to visit this great park very often, but we do stop by when we are in the area.  Are there other great parks you’ve discovered in outstate MN that we can write about?  Please send us a message or comment below. Would love to share other great places with our readers.

Minneapolis Arbor Day Celebration

Minneapolis Arbor Day Celebration

Save the date, April 26th is the Minneapolis Arbor Day Celebration taking place at Theodore Wirth Park.  No admission and the event takes place from 4-8.  Some of the activities include:

Tree Planting
Bucket truck rides
Rope-and-saddle tree climbing supervised by professional arborists
Tree-sized lawn games
Tree-themed obstacle course/Nature Play Zone
Live Music
Food Trucks
Beer Garden 

The spectacular springtime celebration is full of tree-themed activities and educational opportunities, music, food, beer and, of course, new trees! Anyone can help MPRB Arborists plant 200 new trees.

The event will be held in the area of the park between Wirth Lake Beach and JD Rivers’ Children’s Garden, near the intersection of Glenwood Avenue and Xerxes Avenue.





Sibley Park & Farm (Mankato)

I grew up in Mankato, and I have very fond memories of my childhood there, especially frequent visits to Sibley Park to play on the equipment and see the animals. They have seriously revamped the area since I was a kid, though!


Now you can visit Sibley Farm (inside Sibley Park) and walk through red barn-style buildings to view farm animals. You can also play on the farm-themed playground equipment at the park.

Sibley Farm Mankato

According to Explore Minnesota, Sibley Farm is set to open April 16th, 2019 for the season. (Even if it doesn’t open that specific date, I’m sure it will be open very soon.) You’ll be able to see alpacas, calves, goats, peacocks, horses, lambs, and chicks, as well as koi fish in the pond. Sibley Farm is open daily from 6:30 am – 10:30 pm in mid-spring, summer, and early fall.

Sibley Park & Farm

Sibley Park is a dynamic community park that is rich in history. The park, established in established in 1887, is named for Minnesota’s first Governor, Henry Hastings Sibley. In the past the park has provided a horse racing track, regional zoo, museum, community band shell, clay tennis courts and renowned gardens.

The park offers recreational opportunities on the north side with softball, tennis, fishing and sliding hill. On the south side of the park are extensive landscape and gardens, a story book farm site, open space and picnicking areas. The hill top of the mound is being reclaimed through plantings and controlled burns to an Oak Savanna environment similar to what originally existed.



Sibley Park is suitable for organized sports, large group gatherings, amplified music and reserved use. The picnic shelters are popular for family reunions, business meetings, company picnics and large group gatherings. The gazebo and gardens are favorites for outdoor weddings and photography sessions. Many of these areas can be reserved.

Also at Sibley Park are the pond, the CHS Pergola, the Sibley Park Pavilion and Sibley Farm. Within Sibley Park are the Sibley HealthBeat outdoor exercise equipment and more than two miles of walking trails available at three levels–easy, moderate or experienced.

Sibley Park & Farm

Sibley Park is located at 900 Mound Avenue in Mankato.

You can read more about Sibley Park in our post on Thrifty Jinxy about Weekend Family Fun in Mankato.


Monthly Bird Walk at Quarry Hill Nature Center (Rochester)

As spring continues, we’re starting to see and hear more and more beautiful birds outside. There are few things that say “spring” more than birds chirping!

Every month you can join Zumbro Valley Audubon (ZVAS) for a free Monthly Bird Walk at Quarry Hill Nature Center. The next bird walk is happening this Saturday, April 6th at 9 am.

Bring binoculars if you have them, otherwise some are available to borrow from the nature center. Dress for the weather and stay for any length of time (the walks usually last about one hour). No registration is required.

Saturday Mornings at Gale Woods Farm in Minnetrista

One of the best ways to enjoy spring is by heading to the farm, especially Gale Woods Farm in Minnetrista. Each Saturday from April 6th – May 25th (except April 20th) you can enjoy various farm activities, meet some baby animals and explore the barn. There’s a small admission fee of $5 per person. More information can be found on the Three Rivers Park District website.  Don’t forget to dress for the weather, but also for being on the farm. No fancy clothes needed for this fun adventure!

Outdoor fun on a real working farm. Located on picturesque Whaletail Lake in Minnetrista, Gale Woods Farm features a unique educational opportunity where visitors of all ages gain an understanding of agriculture, food production and land stewardship.

Explore the barn, meet baby farm animals, play in the garden and participate in seasonal farm activities. Wear farm clothes and get ready to dig in and be active. Drop in anytime. Children under 2 free.

Avoid the line and purchase your tickets ahead of time. Children 17 years and younger must be accompanied by an adult. 20% discount for groups of four or more. All tickets must be purchased at the same time to qualify for the discount.

Register in advance HERE.

Golfing Opens up for the Season at Three Rivers Park District

Three Rivers Park District Golfing

Is your favorite golf course open for the season?  Some have opened, while others are waiting to make sure the snow is officially gone.  If you happen to be like our neighbor, swinging the clubs in his driveway and waiting for the course to open, we have good news for you.  Golfing opens up for the season at Three Rivers Park District and they have four different locations to choose from.


Nature Rocks! Outdoor Center Open House in Eden Prairie – Saturday Mornings

Are you looking for something to do this weekend? We found a great free event. Each Saturday morning from 10 am – 12 pm, the Outdoor Nature Center in Eden Prairie hosts an open house. Enjoy free family friendly activities such as hiking, hands-on interactions with live animals, craft projects and more!

The Eden Prairie Outdoor Center is a refurbished cabin located on the north shore of Staring Lake at 13765 Staring Lake Parkway.

A wide range of classes, workshops, trips and activities in outdoor recreation and environmental education are offered.

Every Saturday from 10 – 12 pm.


Free or Low-Cost I Can! Outdoor Skill-Building Programs through Minnesota State Parks and Trails

Yeah, I know…it’s only March, but it’s never too early to be thinking about your summer plans! One frugal option for Minnesotans is the popular I Can! series of outdoor skill-building programs from Minnesota State Parks and Trails.

You can now register for these beginner-level programs, all of which are either free or very reasonably priced. Instruction and essential equipment will be provided. A vehicle permit is required to enter all Minnesota state parks ($7/day or $35/year), but this permit is included in the cost of some of these programs.

Options include:

I Can Camp! These one- or two-night overnight programs are your chance to introduce your kids to the fun of camping—no experience necessary. ($60 for 1 night or $85 for 2 nights)

I Can Paddle! Your kids will discover the kind of amazing views only seen from the water during one of these programs designed especially for first-time paddlers. (cost varies by trip)

I Can Mountain Bike! Remember your kids’ joy and triumph when they first learned to bike? Take that joy off-road with this exhilarating program. ($15/child, $25/adult)

I Can Fish! Share the fun of casting into the water and the excitement when there’s a tug on the line. This program is all about the anticipation and thrill of your kids learning to catch fish. (free for children 12 and under, $7/adult)

Archery in the Parks Be your own action heroes and go beyond video games! This program lets you share the exact moment when your child first aims for a goal and hits it. (free, but you do need a vehicle permit to enter)

Be sure to sign up ASAP if you’re interested as these classes typically fill up quickly. Head to the MN DNR website to get started!

Burnsville Lions Skate Park

Burnsville Lions Skate Park

One of our neighbors is always on his skateboard, he loves that thing.  I tried it once and failed miserably, could have been my age or just lack of balance or both.  Do you or your kids love to skateboard?  Check out the Burnsville Lions Skate Park.

It’s totally free which is always nice, however you do need to bring your own skateboard or scooter.  I especially love places like this because it means kids are outdoors and off of their phones and screens!

Burnsville Lions Skate Park

Details about the Skate Park:

The Burnsville Lions Skate Park, located in Civic Center Park between 130th and 134th streets on Civic Center Parkway. A 11,500 square foot outdoor facility for inline skates, skateboards, scooters and bikes.

Access to the park is free and open to the general public. The facility is NOT supervised. Use at your own risk. Know your abilities.