If you’re looking for a few fun places where your kids can run and play, Chanhassen, Minnesota, has plenty to choose from. From swimming holes to hiking trails to indoor amusement parks and more, the area provides you with a variety of interesting activities the whole family will enjoy.
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, located just 5 miles west of Chanhassen, encompasses over 1,200 acres and welcomes over 400,000 visitors each year. It features several exhibits, including a sensory garden, crabapple tree collection, and maze garden, which children will enjoy exploring. The entire facility is family-friendly, but the maze garden is one area you’ll want to make sure your kids experience.
During your visit, don’t miss the Three Mile Walk, a hiking trail that takes you to the Harris Sculpture Garden, the arboretum’s highest point. On clear days, the downtown Minneapolis skyline is visible from the garden. While most of this path is paved, some parts are gravel, so keep that in mind if you’re planning to use a stroller. For a shorter, stroller-friendly walk, there’s a path that runs from the arboretum’s Shade Tree Exhibit to the Sensory Garden that you may enjoy.
The arboretum is part of the University of Minnesota and is a non-profit organization. The grounds are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, and reservations are required. Tickets are $15 for visitors ages 16 and up, and kids ages 15 and under get in free.
Chanhassen Hills Park
Chanhassen Hills Park is a small neighborhood park, but it provides a great place for families to enjoy some outdoor time together. It contains a large playground for older children as well as a separate play area for toddlers. The park’s paved walking path is good for taking the little ones on a stroll or for a bike ride, and plenty of off-street parking is available. Chanhassen Hills Park also houses a half basketball court and a sand volleyball court. Picnic tables and grills are available if you’d like to bring lunch or grill for dinner.
Lake Minnewashta Regional Park
If you’re looking for an abundance of space where your kids can run, jump, and play, check out Lake Minnewashta Regional Park. The 340-acre park is located on the shores of Lake Minnewashta, about 10 minutes from Chanhassen. It contains volleyball courts, a beach, a swimming area, a playground, paved biking trails, and boat ramps.
The park includes approximately 5 miles of unpaved walking trails that wind along the lake’s edge. The paths are perfect for a summer stroll, but they’re also maintained in the winter for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Kayaking and canoeing are allowed, and a fenced-in 18-acre off-leash dog park means canine family members can tag along. A fishing pier is located next to the beach area and provides a great place to cast a line or take in a scenic view of the lake. Park hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., with a 5 a.m. opening time during the fishing season.
The Science Museum of Minnesota
Located in Saint Paul, about 30 minutes from Chanhassen, the Science Museum of Minnesota focuses on the topics of natural history, technology, physical science, and mathematics. Featuring a host of both temporary and permanent exhibits, this nearby museum encompasses 8.5 acres and provides ample opportunities for play and exploration.
The Dinosaurs and Fossils exhibit features one of only four authentic Triceratops fossils on display in the world, and it houses models of several other dinosaurs, including the Allosaurus and the Diplodocus. Sportsology is another permanent exhibit where kids are invited to run, skip, jump, and hop to their heart’s content. In Sportsology’s Motion Lab, kids record themselves throwing or kicking a ball. They then watch the recording, analyze their motions, and compare themselves to professional athletes. It’s a fun way to burn some energy while exercising critical thinking skills.
Mall of America
Located just 15 minutes from Chanhassen, the Mall of America is a great place to take the kids for a fun day trip. It houses an indoor amusement park, miniature golf course, and bowling alley, as well as numerous restaurants and shops.
Nickelodeon Universe, a 7-acre indoor amusement park filled with rides and other types of entertainment, is located in the mall’s center. It contains several rides for the little ones as well as a few thrill rides for the adventure-seekers in your crew. Nickelodeon Universe is a certified autism center, meaning team members receive specialized training in areas such as sensory awareness, social skill development, and communication skills.
Moose Mountain Adventure Golf, an 18-hole miniature golf course, provides panoramic views of Nickelodeon Universe. It’s a fun activity for the entire family, but wait times are often long on the weekends. The Amazing Mirror Maze is a colorful, fun-house-style maze featuring 2,500 square feet of seemingly endless twists and turns. It’s one of the largest mirror mazes in the world and provides a unique way to spend an afternoon.
Mall of America’s hours vary throughout the week, and the attractions listed here may have different hours than the mall itself, so please check the website before you go.
Lake Ann Park
Lake Ann Park is a peaceful lakeside park with picnic tables, water recreation options, hiking trails, and athletic fields. Encompassing 102 acres, most of the park features gently rolling hills perfect for kids to run and play, but the western quarter is densely wooded. Canoes are available for rent, and you’re welcome to fish from the park’s pier. The beach at Lake Ann Park opens in early June, and lifeguards are on duty until mid-August. Dogs aren’t allowed on the park’s beach, but you’re welcome to walk leashed dogs on the trails.We hope these six locations help you find the perfect spot for your child to burn some energy and have some fun. If you know of a place we’ve missed, please let us know. Just drop us a line, and we’ll add it to our list. We hope to hear from you soon!