Last Saturday we had a completely wide open day. No birthday parties, family functions or house projects to get in our way. The problem was that the day kind of snuck up on me. The work week was exhausting, with many busy week nights. Friday night I was too tired to try to figure out a plan, so I went to bed only knowing that we wanted to go to Gale Woods Farm in Minnetrista. That place has been on our bucket list for a while and the weather was supposed to be nice.
We headed out in the morning, my girls excited for the farm and for the unknown adventures that were ahead of us. Gale Woods is an amazing place. We had a blast getting to pet, feed and even hold some of the animals. The volunteers that work there were great and my kids absolutely loved it. After we had spent enough time at the farm we were ready to move on to the next adventure, but where??
sKIDaddlers to the rescue!
I am not from the western suburbs and have never really spent too much time out there. This is where sKIDaddlers can come in really handy. There’s no preplanning required!
I knew that we were in Minnetrista and we wanted to see what the options nearby were. I pulled sKIDaddlers up on my phone, typed “Minnetrista” into the Near field, adjusted the Distance to 5 miles (defaults to 1 mile) and Boom! A three page list of activities within 5miles.
I read off the ones I was willing to go to that day to my kids and let them pick our next adventure. They wanted to go to Lake Minnetonka Regional Park because the playground sounded exciting to them. So off we went. Lake Minnetonka Regional Park was also a big hit for my girls. The playground was big and very exciting! I liked that it is a rubber turf playground so no sand or wood chips to deal with. They liked the many different areas to play on!
After the playground, it was my turn to pick! I enjoy a good playground as much as any other exhausted mom but sometimes I would like to go on adventures that don’t include pushing people on swings or getting kicked in the face helping a little one cross the monkey bars. Again, I pulled up sKIDaddlers on my phone and quickly found out that we were only a couple miles from the Excelsior Street Car. Bingo!
We needed to stop for lunch at that point, but as it turns out you can get on the street car across from the Bayside Grill parking lot. After a nice lunch on the lakeside patio we headed over to ride the street car.
The street car costs $2 per person, with children 3 and under free. I have to say that it may have been the best $2 I have ever spent! The street car travels a couple blocks to Water Street in downtown Excelsior. The car is run by Minnesota Streetcar Museum volunteers, and they are amazing! So friendly to the kids and they let them “help” start the train and other jobs. They are extremely knowledgeable about the trains and their history. When you get to the end you can choose to stay on the streetcar and go back right away, or get off and catch a later train back. We chose to get off and explore a little!
Water Street in Excelsior is very charming. We walked around and mostly window shopped, but Laketown Chocolates looked too good to pass by! The store is packed with delicious looking treats and since I gave my kids a ONE treat each limit, it took us awhile to make just the right choice. With chocolate in hand, we headed back to the train station.
Again the conductors were so much fun! They let my girls “help” get the street car ready to go. Halfway back, the street car stops at the “train barn”, the large garage used to store street cars that are in various stages of being rehabbed. They give you a tour of the garage and you get to go into a couple different cars that they are working on restoring. Again, best $2 I have spent on a tour!
We called it a day after we got back to our car; we had been gone from home for over 6 hours at that point. Not including lunch or gas, the day cost me about $25. If I would have known we would have been having so much fun then I would have packed a picnic lunch!
I spent zero time pre-planning, and with sKIDaddlers as a resource we had an amazing day! We headed home tired, happy and with a lot of fun memories.