Northwest Greenway Challenge Course
We can all name at least three dozen tried-and-true toddler parks that most grade schoolers love too. But lately, we’ve been bringing our middle schooler to parks to please the kindergartener and he is no longer as entertained as he once was (no surprise there). And it got me thinking – it’s only fair that there be parks out there made for HIS age too, right? Well, the newest Twin Cities “ninja park” in Plymouth is precisely that. In fact he even struggled with parts of it, making it more of a challenge and forcing him to push himself. It was fun to watch and I’m happy that parks like this exist in our city.
The park is called the Northwest Greenway Challenge Course and it is intended for ages 13 and older. Offering unique and complex obstacles involving climbing, balancing, strength and agility, the course is an entertaining and free way to challenge yourself and your kiddos. Even though the kindergartener got bored relatively fast, he still found wood chips to dig in and ropes to climb. We will definitely be back – it’s one of those hard-to-find options for your older kiddos and their friends to get exercise, have fun, and be themselves!
What to Expect?
- Ground is wood chips throughout the entire park
- There is a port-a-potty, a water fountain and plenty of benches
- The sign clearly states 13+ on it. If people are there and are actually training or focusing on strength/time performance, be respectful and give them their space
- There’s a big free parking lot right next to the course and plenty of grass for a blanket and snack break
- A beautiful bike path surrounds the park and there is a bike rack available at the course
- The park sits next to a very pretty marsh with a wooden bridge over it
- If it’s rained recently, or it’s a summer evening, prepare for potential mosquitos because it’s next to the woods and they will get you!
- We went in the evening on a fall Saturday and it certainly was not busy. Maybe it’s busier in summer months or maybe it was empty because it really IS a park for older children who aren’t as desperate for an energy burn as younger kids. But it was quiet.
- Our 5-year old and 9-year old found plenty to do – walking across the bridge, climbing the short ropes or the wooden hills, jumping across the stumps, digging in the wood chips, or crossing the monkey bars with assistance
- The 12-year old and his buddy had a hay day trying literally everything! They enjoyed the challenges and pretended they were on Conquer Ninja Warrior – although there were moments when I saw their lives flash before my eyes. But nothing is TOO far off the ground that broken bones is a constant worry.
- Each obstacle has a sign with directions for use, so you can do them properly – or you can just do them however your body allows you to do them (so in my case, not at all)
- The park is very wide open, so social distancing is a piece of cake assuming it’s not swamped with people
What to Bring?
- No shade, so if it’s blistering hot, come prepared with sunscreen and hats and water
- Bug spray – because summer, Minnesota and the fact that the course sits next to a wooded area
- Tennis shoes. My husband tried doing an obstacle in his flip flops and I thought for a second I was going to have to raise these kids alone.
- Snacks and water. This place is exhausting, whether you’re doing the obstacles correctly or just jumping from log to log. Kids WILL ask for water.
- Feel free to bring a stroller (or scooters, rollerblades or bikes) to cruise the pretty bridge or the path weaving throughout the park area
- Band-aids (in case of injury…I dunno? Am I just paranoid?)
After the park, consider heading south on Peony Ln and grabbing a treat at Culver’s or ice cream at Honey & Mackie’s or shoot down Hwy 55 for a delicious slice of New York style pizza at a cute pizzeria called ElMar’s. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
How to Get There?
Northwest Greenway Challenge Course
5000 Peony Ln N
Plymouth, MN 55446
Look for a parking lot just off Peony Ln. near the giant Wayzata High School. It can be easy to miss the turn so pay attention. If you bring your dog for the trip, consider also visiting the Plymouth dog park just a mile up the road. Our pup used to love the freedom and turf of this park.