The Perfect Place to Explore: Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park
Fall in Minnesota is a sight to see and those perfect temperature days and nights need to be treasure before we're hiking through the snow again and falling on the ice (again). You need to get outside and soak up as much sunshine as possible. Not to mention all of the fall color photos you need to take.
One of the best places for this and so much more is the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park. I’ve only been there a couple of times myself, but that’s one of the great things about it. There is always something new to explore. I can’t wait to go back during prime color time.
My first visit there I of course had to walk across the dam and admire the sight and sound of it. To be honest I wasn’t sure how cool looking at a dam would be, but it is oddly fascinating. I loved the drastic difference from the peaceful water at the top, to the roaring, crashing water going through and hitting the bottom. Plus, it’s great exercise to walk across it and then go exploring!
Don’t forget to stop in the Coon Rapids Dam Visitor Center and check out their fun (and educational) exhibits all about the river. You can even see river fish, turtles, and other local reptiles and amphibians up close in the center’s large aquaria. If that doesn’t satisfy your curiosity, ask for a Backpack Kit (free of charge) and go out exploring to see area wildlife in their natural habitat.
My second time there on the Coon Rapids side of the dam, you’ll find what seem like endless trails making you feel like you’re much farther out of the city than you actually are. It was so peaceful to just wander the paths, catching glimpses of wildlife, discovering the trout lake, and of course walking along the Mississippi River. Throughout you’ll come across the occasional bench or gazebo, which are great places to stop and have a little picnic, read a book, or to just sit peacefully while enjoying the scenery.
Taking the kids along these trails is a great way to burn some energy, and there is a playground and pavilion area that they (and you) will love. And while you’re tiring the kids out, you might as well grab the dog and take them out walking too! It really is something the whole family can enjoy. Which is why you should also check out their free Family Fun Days. These take place in different locations, but frequently at the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, and each week you get to learn about something new and participate in fun hands-on activities. And you saw the “FREE” part, right? It doesn’t get any better than that!
It doesn’t matter what you plan to do at Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, biking, fishing, walking, running, learning, or just sitting, you’ll have a great time admiring all of the things to see and do. Grab a friend and check it out!