1360 Lexington Pkwy. N.
St. Paul, MN
Living in the land of 10,000 lakes and just as many parks means there are more than a few places to spend the day walking, playing or picnicking with family.
A favorite park in Minnesota is Como Park, located in a first tier suburb of Ramsey County just four miles from downtown St. Paul. When looking at the amenities and history of the 400 acre space, one can easily believe that Como Park is to St. Paul what Central Park is to New York.
Surrounding Como Lake, the land was acquired by the city of St. Paul 1873. The first boat docks were installed in 1893 and the first park fountain, which still runs today, was placed in the park in 1896.
What makes Como Park a special destination are the attractions and amenities that give families the opportunity to linger for the day. The donation of three deer in 1897 informally began what is today’s Como Zoo. The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory first opened in 1915, and over the years the addition of a Japanese garden, lily pond and formal gardens on the grounds have delighted visitors. Como Golf Course is also a main attraction, along with 1.7 miles of walking/biking paths around Como Lake.
If you want to spend a day with the kids, you don’t have to worry they might get bored in an hour. Beyond the popular zoo, conservatory and golf course, there are more than enough things a family can do at little or no cost.
Como Town– an 18-ride amusement park, open year around, starts at $14 for children, depending on the time and how many rides you’d like to enjoy. Adult wristbands for unlimited ride access are $7. Family rides, kiddie rides and thrill rides offer options for everyone. The park is open at 10 a.m. everyday, and closes between 6-9 p.m., depending on the day of the week.
Carousel – Located just outside Como Town is an original 68-horse carousel that was completed in 1914. The horses are hand painted and hand carved, and provide a great photo op for parents. Open May through September, 11-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
Frog pond – The frog pond, completed in 1910 and located just outside the main conservatory entrance, is a wonderful place to rest for a few minutes on a park bench or for an hour with a picnic on the grassy slope. It’s not as populated as the other areas of the park and is very shaded.
Paddleboat rental – Between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, families can rent paddleboats from the lake pavilion on Como Lake for $15 an hour (cash only). Life vests are provided.
Music – Every summer Como Park hosts free live concerts on the Promenade Deck of the Como Lakeside Pavilion. Music ranges from swing, jazz, classical and community choir.
Lake pavilion – The pavilion, known as Black Bear Crossing, has outdoor concessions by the paddleboat rental station, as well as an indoor full service café providing breakfast, lunch, dinner, beverages and dessert. Open year around, with reduced hours during the winter months.
–Colleen McGuire is a digital marketing communications professional and author of the blog, Travel Snapshots. When she is not touring the Twin Cities for interesting festivals and events, she is wandering the world with her camera and notebook.