Eden Prairie’s spring break is this week, and if you are looking for some family-friendly activities, here are some ideas for you! Please check operating hours for the businesses before going, as many have changed their hours due to COVID-19. Bookmark this list for ideas later this summer! 

Lions Park Pump Track in Chaska + Red Bench Bakery  + Fireman’s Park
The city of Chaska, MN has an amazing bike trail system, but did you know that they also have a pump track, too? Lions Park Pump Track is located next to Lions Park (1300 Crosstown Blvd) on Ravoux Road in Chaska.  A “pump track” is a circular bike loop that contains a series of rollers and berms. Rollers are the bumps or mini hills, and berms are the corners. Ride in a clockwise direction to feel the effects of the up-and-down motion. The pump track is open to the public. Avoid using it if it has recently rained or the ground is wet, as riding will damage the track. There’s an off-leash park dog area nearby, too!

After that adrenaline rush, treat yourself to a delicious pastry or lunch downtown at Red Bench Bakery. You’ll find fresh croissants and rolls, sandwiches, and you can even preorder pizza online on Saturdays for pick up on Sunday! Outdoor seating on the patio is available. Open Wednesday – Saturday 7am – 5pm, and Sunday 7am – 12pm. To learn more about this family owned bakery, visit www.redbenchbakery.com/.

Take a stroll or pack a picnic for Chaska’s Fireman’s Park, located at 3210 Chaska Blvd. You’ll find a big playground for kids to play on. Head up the hill to Veterans Park, and you’ll come across plenty of picnic tables and a smaller playground. Walk around Clayhole Lake, and if you get chilly (or thirsty), head next door to Crooked Pint Ale House where there are a variety of beers on tap, and plenty of heaters on the patio.

Make an impact with your family and spend some time volunteering. At Feed My Starving Children, you can help end hunger by preparing food packs. You’ll hand-pack rice, soy, dried vegetables and a nutritionally complete blend of vitamins and minerals into bags that are sealed, boxed, and placed on pallets. These nutritious meals are then shipped all over the world to help feed children in need.

To volunteer, you will need to register online ahead of time, and meet the following requirements on the day you volunteer:
– If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or if anyone in your household is awaiting COVID test results, please stay home.
– All volunteers are required to wear a mask at all times.
– Temperature checks and a verbal screening will be conducted.
– Volunteer group size is limited to 5 people.
– A reservation is required, no walk-ins are accepted.
– Register here: https://www.fmsc.org/get-involved/volunteer

The Chanhassen packing site is located at 18732 Lake Drive East. Volunteer shifts are available Monday – Saturday, with the exception of holidays.Together We Thrive event – United Way
If you are looking for a volunteer activity you can do at home, then consider packing culturally specific meal kits and pantry packs for Together We Thrive. Together We Thrive is an event sponsored by United Way and other change makers that seek to unite the community and build equity so that all can thrive. The virtual event takes place May 6, but the “Flavors of the Community” Packs are being collected now. You’ll purchase and pack the kits at home, then drop them off at several locations throughout the metro area. You can also make cards for recipients of Meals on Wheels food deliveries!

For more information and to sign up, please visit the website: https://uwthrive.org/v2/page/Volunteer

Minnetonka Drive In + Dakota Regional Trail

Sick of cooking and looking for a change of scenery? Take the family out for a meal at an old fashioned drive in! Minnetonka Drive In is a family run business that has been open since 1961. They have a menu that will leave you coming back for more. Our family’s picks: onion rings, chicken dinner, cheeseburgers, and root beer!

Your family can pull in and order from the speaker box at your parking spot. Your food will be delivered hot and fresh to your car when it’s ready. You can also pull into one of the drive thru lanes, order at the speaker box, and then pick up your order at the drive thru window when it’s ready. There are picnic tables on site for you to dine along the Dakota Regional Trail. You also have the option to call ahead or order online, and pick up at the drive thru window.  http://www.minnetonkadrivein.com/welcome.html

If you are looking to make the meal a little more figure friendly, you might consider biking or walking to Minnetonka Drive In via the Dakota Regional Trail. You can park in the public parking area at 175 Grove Lane E, Wayzata, and take a 7.4 mile bike rider to the diner. It’ll take you along Lake Minnetonka shoreline, so you’ll have a scenic ride to look forward to. If you’d like a 1-mile distance to Minnetonka Drive In, you can park at 5515 Lynwood Blvd, Mound.   

The Escape Game

Looking for a local escape? Try The Escape Game at the Mall of America! Our family enjoyed playing Mission: Mars. We were locked in a room with 60 minutes to complete puzzles and ‘repair’ our ship and launch before Mars was bombarded by cosmic radiation. It was a tricky game with some fun surprises, but we survived with 10 minutes remaining!

The escape games are all private, so only your group is allowed in the game room. Check in is contactless, and masks must be worn while you are in the lobby or other public areas. You can remove your mask once you’re in the game room. The room is disinfected after each party with some type of spray/fogging system.

Did you know you can also do escape games from the comfort of your home? Remote Adventures are love, hosted, virtual escape games that are also offered by The Escape Game. You can have multiple players from different households playing together at the same time. It’s a great option for a couple’s game night or playing with friends located anywhere!

Tickets start at $35.99/person. Kids under the age of 4 are allowed, free of charge. For more information and to book, go to: https://theescapegame.com/

Bike or Walk the Chain of Lakes + Sebastian Joe’s
If you are wanting to escape the suburban life and get outdoors, head to the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes. Our family enjoys biking along Lake Harriet, Bde Maka Ska, Lake of the Isles, and then finishing with a stop at Sebastian Joe’s. We love admiring the architecture of the homes around each of the lakes. Our entire bike trip around the three lakes and to Sebastian Joe’s is about 11 miles. There are plenty of furry pets out and about getting their hearts pumping, too!  

The Chain of Lakes is part of the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. You can also kayak, canoe, paddle board, or sail on some of them. The one-way bike lanes (clockwise direction) keep pedestrian traffic separated. There’s an expansive playground near the bandstand of Lake Harriet Park for your little ones. Weekends tend to be more congested, so plan accordingly.

Bike trails map: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/minnesota/chain-of-lakes-loop
Sebastian Joe’s – Linden Hills location: http://sebastianjoesicecream.com/locations/linden-hills/

Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board: https://www.minneapolisparks.org/parks__destinations/trails__parkways/grand_rounds_scenic_byway_system/

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Carolyn Wieland

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