Bisected by the Mississippi River, Minneapolis and St. Paul form the “Twin Cities” in Minnesota. Minneapolis is known for its parks and lakes, and you can enjoy spring flora at Minnehaha Regional Park, a riverfront park with a waterfall and miles of trails. Mill Ruins Park is another beautiful park with walking and biking paths that center around a historic mill. Read on for more outdoor attractions that make ideal destinations for spring adventures.
Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary
Approximately 130 types of birds make their home at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary. In addition to birdwatching, you can view native wildflowers in woodland, wetland and prairie habitats. The park-like sanctuary comprises 12 gardens featuring more than 500 different plants. Bloodroot, wild ginger, trillium, bluebells and trout lilies hit their peak blooming cycles in the spring. Guided and self-guided tours follow a 2/3-mile trail with 49 interpretive stations. Don’t leave without checking out the natural history displays at Martha Crone Visitor Shelter.
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is located near the Walker Art Center and features more than 40 works from the center’s modern and contemporary art collections in an urban park setting. The creative landscape, set on former marshland, is a thriving habitat for plants and wildlife. Cowles Pavilion, originally built as a conservatory, offers an open-air gathering space in the garden. You’re welcome to take a self-guided tour of the sculpture garden, including accessible walking paths. The site is open year-round.
Lyndale Park Gardens
Lyndale Park Gardens is located on the shore of Lake Harriet, adjacent to Roberts Bird Sanctuary. The Peace Garden, with its alpine plants and dwarf conifers, begins blooming in mid-April. Take a walk through three other garden spaces, the Annual & Perennial Garden, the Rose Garden and the Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden, at the site. Decorative fountains, exotic and native trees and walking paths are found in the gardens.
Paradise Charter Cruises
Paradise Charter Cruises offers scenic cruises on the Minneapolis Queen Paddleboat, a replica of a 19th century riverboat. The Afternoon Sightseeing & Lock Cruise takes you along the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway and past St. Anthony Falls and the downtown Minneapolis skyline. Other cruises include the Happy Hour and Pizza Cruise, Friday Night Dinner Cruise and Taco Tuesday Cruise. Snacks and a full bar are available on the narrated cruises.
Boom Island Park
Boom Island Park, located on the Mississippi riverfront, was once part of the logging industry. The former log sorting station is used for picnicking, biking, hiking and boating today. The Heritage Trail and the Mississippi River Regional Trail merge in the park. Boom Island Lighthouse, one of the few remaining historic lighthouses on the Mississippi River, is a photogenic sight. It stands at the entrance of a landing site for river cruise ships. There are both developed and undeveloped areas in the park.