With temperatures rising and the winter snow cover melting off with each passing week, there are countless places and activities just waiting to be rediscovered this spring. I called on the help of our staff here at the Minneapolis Parks Foundation to suggest a few of their most anticipated walks, locations, and activities throughout Minneapolis parks.
#1. Sighting the Red-Winged Blackbird (and other migratory birds flying north for the summer)
Our Chief Development Director, Jennifer, said she always looks forward to the first sighting of the red-winged blackbird each spring. This past week, she caught a glimpse of one in the Nokomis Lagoon, located at the southwest edge of Lake Nokomis. It’s a wonderful place to experience a more natural setting in the area, with aquatic plants, prairie plants, and emergent plants that offer inviting destinations for birds passing though overhead.
The thawing of surface ice on the lakes is a welcome celebration of spring each year. While we love the winter activities that accompany a solid ice cover, there’s an excitement in hearing the crackling and shifting of thawing ice. Janette, our Communications Director, is looking forward to seeing the city’s lakes emerge from beneath this snowy landscape.
#3. Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden
The Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden is a delight to get back into each year. The budding plants that line the walkway here constantly offer new and dynamic landscapes. Our Business and Administration Director, Matt, noted that he’s specifically looking forward to seeing the Snow Trillium flower. Snow Trillium typically bloom from mid-March through early April, so it should be a perfect time to spot this beautiful white flower.
#4. Spring Barbecues and Park Picnics
Warmer days ahead call for more opportunities to enjoy food with family and friends in outdoor settings. Our Project & Implementation Director, Paul, said getting back outside for a family barbecue was at the top of his list for a spring activity. Luckily, there are plenty of Minneapolis parks with grills and picnic tables for safe gatherings. Here’s a list of Minneapolis park picnic areas that you can reserve ahead of time, and also those you can access first come, first served.
#5. Minnehaha Falls Lower Glen Trail
This 2-mile trail that runs from Minnehaha Falls to the confluence of the Mississippi River and Minnehaha Creek is typically closed and covered with snow in the winter months, so it’s fun to see the trail path emerge each spring. It is one of our Development Manager, Christine’s favorite trails, as it offers a scenic and natural feel along the creek. The rock walls and sandy beaches offer a landscape not often seen in other Minneapolis parks.
#6. The Soundscapes Near Hiawatha Lake
The warmer temperatures also bring a plethora of new sounds that contrast the quiet snowy nights of winter. Our Executive Director, Tom, loves to go with his family down to the Hiawatha area and listen to the croaking of frogs and crickets, whose sounds take over the evening air in a way that feels just like a summer’s embrace.
#7. Sea Salt Eatery
A staff (and Minneapolitan) favorite, Sea Salt Eatery, typically opens in April for the summer months. Located in Minnehaha Park adjacent to Minnehaha Falls, Sea Salt Eatery serves exceptional seafood options and offers a great outdoor park dining experience. It is often quite busy in the warmer summer months, but well worth it if you’ve never been!