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A Twin Cities Gem: Three Rivers Park District

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Three Rivers Park (credit: Three Rivers Parks.org)

Three Rivers Park (credit: Three Rivers Parks.org)

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Breakfast on the Farm

Every August our family heads out bright and early for Breakfast on the Farm at Gale Woods Farm, located in the far Western edge of the metro in Minnetrista. It’s a well-loved tradition for our family. The morning starts out with a coolness felt only in the country on a bright summer morning.

The day warms up as the sun climbs higher and higher in the sky while we eat our farm-fresh breakfast outside at the picnic table, feed the chickens, brush the calf, and pet the sheep, the turkeys, the cat and the sleeping Great Pyrenees whose job it is to protect the sheep. One of our favorite parts of the day is the early afternoon when the day is hot, and we meander down the shady trails through tree-covered glades, looking for leaves, flowers, sticks, rocks and critters.

With two boys, we have a large collection of rocks and sticks at home. A great number of the rocks hale from Gale Woods Farm, collected over the years. By the time we return to the minivan for the ride back to the city, my pockets and the boys’ pockets are heavy-laden with rocks, I have a small bouquet of dandelions and thistles and the boys have new sticks that eventually become chew toys for our dogs once the boys lose interest in their new treasures.

Into the Wilds

gale woods farm A Twin Cities Gem: Three Rivers Park District

Gale Woods Farms (credit: Three Rivers Parks.org)

As a parent living in the Twin Cities, we certainly have no shortage of fabulous parks, creeks, lakes and rivers to explore with the kids, but it’s nice to get back to the basics and sneak away into the wild woods sometimes. Recently, there has been much discussion on the lost art of playing outside and discovering overgrown brambles, thick, dark woods and wide open, grassy plains. Thanks to Three Rivers Park District, Twin Citians can escape the urban for the rural without going very far at all.

Gale Woods Farm, a real working farm, is just one of 30 park reserves, regional parks, regional trails and special-use facilities comprising the 27,000 acres that make up the Three Rivers Park District. The name “Three Rivers” is derived from their parks’ locations within the watersheds that flow into three significant rivers: the Mississippi, the Minnesota and the Crow.

The Three Rivers Park District is a gem, albeit sometimes hidden gem, in the untamed lands in and around the Twin Cities. The parks span the Twin Cities metro. No matter where you live in the area there is bound to be a Three Rivers Park District park nearby.

Established in 1957, their mission is to promote environmental stewardship through recreation and education in a natural resources-based park system; and that’s exactly what they are doing through their fantastic year-round educational and fun programming, summer camps and free access to trails, nature preserves and nature centers.

Enjoying the Summer

Some of the most popular parks include, Baker Park Reserve, Carver Park Reserve, Cleary Lake Regional Park, Eagle Lake Regional Park, Gale Woods Farm, Glen Lake Golf & Practice Center, Silverwood Park and Hyland Lake Reserve. During the summer months, biking, fishing, gardening, golfing, hiking, swimming, boating, camping, archery and art are but a few of the activities offered at Three Rivers Park District parks.

Although I’m not a Minnesota native, one of the things I love about Minnesotans is their eagerness to get out of doors and enjoy every last drop of the long, warm, sunny days of summer. At the Three Rivers Park District properties there are planned activities and events for all ages at one or more park area almost every day.

Be sure to check the schedule of events to help you get started exploring each of the Three Rivers Park District parks. Of course, you are always free to make your own fun by having a picnic, going for a hike, or simply watching wind blow through the trees, a bee gathering pollen or ducks taking little ones out for a swim.

Anna Berend is an attorney and the author of Motherly Law Blog. On Motherly Law, Anna writes about legal issues that affect families and offers tips and resources that pertain to those legal topics. On occasion, inspiration strikes and Anna writes about something totally unrelated to the law.You can find Anna at www.motherlylaw.com, on Facebook at Motherly Law and on Twitter @MotherlyLaw.

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