LAKE MINNETONKA REGIONAL PARK
Sometimes I struggle to find an outdoor park that offers enough variation for both of my kids’ skill levels, getting a 2- and 5-year old to play to their liking without getting bored, but also without mommy losing sight of them and panicking a million times per visit. My favorite park-pick for solving this problem is Lake Minnetonka Regional Park’s Play Area, hands down. It’s huge without being overwhelming and it just feels safe, with its rubber ground and easy-to-hard climbing options. For the days we just don’t feel like wriggling through tight tunnels with our children (hey, we all have them), this is a great choice!
What is it?
Lake Minnetonka Regional Park is part of the Three Rivers Park District, proudly sitting along the shores of Lake Minnetonka. The play area is multi-level with slides that go from the top to bottom level, stairs, tunnels, ladders, rock walls and bridges. It offers all the amenities of your local neighborhood playground (sans swings – can I get an “amen”?), only the size is as if you pushed a dozen neighborhood parks together. The entire park is on a squishy rubber ground (just gives me peace of mind if my kid misses a step and lands head-first on the ground, ya know?) and all the pieces are basically connected in one way or another. Unlike so many other playgrounds of this size, it’s really hard to lose your child at this one. See the “Tips” area below for hiking, picnic and beach options just a short walk away from the playground.
Fit for what ages?
The best part of this park is that there is something for everybody. From tiny slides to double-deckers and short, easy steps for little ones to ropes and tricky ladders for older ones. There is plenty of room to run and chase, which as we know, is fun for all ages. That, my friends, is why I love this park!
How much are we talkin?
Other than your gas to get here, it’s 100% free to play in the play area, take a little hike and enjoy a picnic lunch. It’s not a state park, so admission is free. The beach swimming area costs $5/person for everyone 2+. Season passes are available for $18/person.
Want some tips?
We always pack a lunch and enjoy a picnic on the grassy area surrounding the play area or on one of the many picnic benches. Bring sunscreen because virtually none of the play area is shaded. I’ve only been here once when the sheer number of children was overwhelming and that’s because we were there during Field Trip season (that’s a season, right?). But, I’ve found that early afternoons tend to be the slowest time of day there while mornings are often busier.
There is a water fountain and restroom right next to the play area. Parking is a breeze – huge, free lot right next to the playground. There is a trail that leads into the woods on which my kids often enjoy a short-n-sweet, semi-shaded hiking adventure, collecting leaves and pinecones along the way then asking for piggyback rides on the hike back. Woof!
Right up the hill from the play area is the swimming pond. The water doesn’t go deeper than six feet and it has a nice sandy bottom. Yes, there are lifeguards on duty if you go during the busy, sunny hours (11-7, I think). It’s chlorinated, so from what I can tell from their Facebook page, it IS open this summer amidst all the Lake Minnetonka chaos. It’s a nice little beach so bring your towels and sand toys and really make an adventureful day out of it.
Hours and Location
4610 County Road 44 | Minnetrista, MN 55331
- The play area is open from 9am until sunset daily.
- The beach area is open from 9am until 8pm daily, Memorial Day through Labor Day.
- The park in general (hiking trails, picnic areas, etc.) is open from 6am until 10pm.
It is very easy to locate, only one turn north of Highway 7. Once you pull into the regional park, there is signage everywhere, so the play area is easy to find and the parking lot is big and free.
Follow Lake Minnetonka Regional Park on Facebook to see park and beach hours, special events and other grand adventures this beautiful park area has to offer.