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Keeping The Basement Dry

If your home is not new construction, you probably get a dampish basement in the spring/summer. We have had a lot of rain, and a lot of humidity so far this spring. Here are some ways to help, compliments of The Family Handyman:

 

9 Affordable Ways to Dry Up Your Wet Basement For Good!

Strategies that will permanently fix your musty, wet basement

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Diagnose the Water Problem

Diagnose the Water Problem

Water or moisture in basements comes from two sources. One source is indoor humidity that condenses on cold surfaces, much like water droplets form on a cold drink on a humid day. The other is water—or water vapor—that comes from outside. Rainwater, melting snow or groundwater can saturate the soil around your foundation and leak in. Water can leak through cracks, or it can penetrate porous concrete or masonry walls in the form of water vapor. To figure out what’s causing the problem, tape aluminum foil to your basement wall and inspect it a few days later. Moisture on the outside surface of the foil indicates high indoor humidity. Moisture behind the foil means moisture is leaking through the walls.

2 / 9

Get Rid of Excess Humidity

Get Rid of Excess Humidity

Eliminating the sources of humid air will help dry out your basement. Seal leaky dryer vents with foil tape to prevent unwanted humid air from entering your basement. Don’t just use duct tape; it’ll eventually fall off. Add a vent fan to your basement bathroom and make sure your family turns it on during showers. Keep your basement windows closed during humid weather. And if you’re still getting condensation on cool surfaces, run a dehumidifier to lower the indoor humidity.

3 / 9

Insulate Pipes

Insulate Pipes

Condensation dripping from cold pipes can contribute to basement water problems. Cover cold water pipes with foam pipe insulation to stop condensation. The foam insulation is inexpensive and easy to cut with scissors.

4 / 9

Insulate Walls

Insulate Walls

Insulate exterior walls to prevent condensation. In cold climates, insulating basement walls also saves energy and reduces your heating bill. But don’t cover the walls with insulation if water is leaking in from outside; you’ll just create a potential mold problem.

5 / 9

Keep Water Away From the Foundation

Keep Water Away From the Foundation

If your basement leaks after heavy rains or after snow melts, making sure water is diverted away from your foundation may solve the problem. It’s common for the soil alongside your house to settle over time, creating a moat that collects runoff and directs it down your foundation wall and into the basement. Lawn edging and gravel along the foundation can make things worse. Solve the problem by creating a 6-ft.-wide slope that drops about 4 in. away from the foundation. For extra insurance, cover the sloping soil with a layer of 6-mil poly. Then hide the poly with mulch, gravel or a layer of soil covered with grass. This will keep water from soaking in near the foundation.

6 / 9

Add Gutters and Extend Downspouts

Add Gutters and Extend Downspouts

If your basement leaks after it rains and you don’t have gutters, consider adding them. Gutters catch the rain and channel it to the downspouts, which direct it away from the house. Whether you’re installing new gutters or already have them, be sure the downspouts have 4- to 6-ft. horizontal extensions to move the water away from the house.

7 / 9

Plug Holes and Cracks in the Foundation

Plug Holes and Cracks in the Foundation

Holes and cracks in your foundation can let moisture and water seep into your basement. Plugging them probably won’t solve basement leaks, but it’ll help. Hydraulic cement works great for patching holes in a foundation because it can set up even under water, and it expands as it sets to seal the hole and lock the plug in place. Use a cold chisel or an angle grinder fitted with a masonry-cutting disc or diamond blade to enlarge the hole or crack into an inverted “V,” with the narrow part of the “V” on the surface of the wall. Then follow the package instructions for mixing and using the hydraulic cement.

8 / 9

Waterproof the Walls

Waterproof the Walls

Waterproofing materials that go on like paint fill the pores in the concrete or masonry walls and prevent water from leaking in. To be effective, these coatings must be applied to bare concrete or masonry walls. Start by removing loose material with a wire brush. Then clean off any white powdery “efflorescence” with masonry cleaner. Follow the safety and application instructions carefully. A common mistake when using masonry waterproofing products is to spread them too thin. The goal is to fill every pinhole to create a continuous waterproofing membrane. Brush the coating in all directions to completely fill every pinhole. Add a second coat after the first dries.

9 / 9

Install a Drainage System

Install a Drainage System

The best permanent fix for chronic basement leaks is to install drainage tubing below the basement floor that’s connected to a sump basket and pump. You can install a system like this yourself, but breaking out the concrete floor, burying the tubing, and patching the floor is a lot of backbreaking work. Materials to do an average basement will cost $600 to $1,000. Expect to spend $3,000 to $8,000 for a professionally installed system in a standard-size basement.

 

A Home To Fall In Love With: Home Staging for Living

It has been proven over and over that having your home staged when selling it helps it sell faster and for more money. But we can use home staging even if we aren't moving! Afterall, don't we find it painful to get our homes in tip-top shape for someone else? Whether selling or staying, hiring a stager is the easiest way to get it done- the pros know and understand how color works, how furniture deters or draws in, and what we can really live without. I know a couple of superb stagers, contact me for their info, I'm happy to share. However, if you want to give it a go yourself, here are 21 brilliant home staging ideas from Laura Gaskill on Houzz.com:

1. Boost curb appeal. This is something you always hear, and with very good reason. Many people thinking of touring your home will do a quick drive-by first, often deciding on the spot if it is even worth a look inside. Make sure your home is ready to lure in onlookers with these tips:
Power wash siding and walkways
Hang easy-to-read house numbers
Plant blooming flowers and fresh greenery
Mow lawn, and reseed or add fresh sod as needed
Wash front windows
Repaint or stain the porch floor as needed
2. Welcome visitors with an inviting porch. Even if you have only a tiny stoop, make it say “welcome home” with a clean doormat, potted plants in bloom and — if you have room — one or two pieces of neat porch furniture. Keep your porch lights on in the evenings, in case potential buyers drive by. Illuminating the front walk with solar lights is a nice extra touch, especially if you will be showing the house during the evening.
3. Get your house sparkling clean. From shining floors and gleaming windows to clean counters and scrubbed grout, every surface should sparkle. This is the easiest (well, maybe not easiest, but certainly the cheapest) way to help your home put its best foot forward. You may want to hire pros to do some of the really tough stuff, especially if you have a large house. Don’t skimp — this step is key!
4. Clear away all clutter. If you are serious about staging your home, all clutter must go, end of story. It’s not easy, and it may even require utilizing offsite storage (or a nice relative’s garage) temporarily, but it is well worth the trouble. Clean and clear surfaces, floors, cupboards and closets equal more space in the eyes of potential buyers, so purge anything unnecessary or unsightly. "But it’s my style! "Guess what? It may not be the style of those seeking to buy a house in your neighborhood. So even if you have an awesome vintage-chic look going on, rein it in for the sake of appealing to the most number of people. You can bring your personal style back into play in your new home.
5. Strike a balance between clean and lived-in. Yes, I know I just said to get rid of all your clutter (and you deserve a big pat on the back if you did it), but now it's time to judiciously bring back a few elements that will really make your home appealing. Think vases of cut flowers, a basket of fresh farmer's market produce on the kitchen counter or a bowl of lemons beside the sink.
6. Style your dining room table. The dining room is often a blind spot in decorating the home. Between dinners, a large dining table can look bare and uninviting, so styling it up with visitors in mind can increase the appeal. An oversize arrangement can look too stiff and formal, so try lining up a series of smaller vessels down the center of the table instead.
7. Take a good look at your floors. At the bare minimum, give all floors a thorough cleaning (and steam clean carpets), but consider having wood floors refinished if they are in poor shape. If you don’t want to invest in refinishing floors, the strategic placement of area rugs can go a long way.
8. Rearrange your furniture. In the living room, symmetrical arrangements usually work well. Pull your furniture off the walls and use pairs (of sofas, chairs, lamps) to create an inviting conversation area.
9. Choose sophisticated neutral colors. Now is not the time to experiment with that "fun"-looking lime green. But that doesn't mean you need to go all white, either. Rich midtone neutrals like mocha and "greige" create a sophisticated backdrop that makes everything look more pulled together.
10. Create a gender-neutral master bedroom. Appeal to everyone with a clean, tailored master bedroom, free of personal items and clutter. You can't go wrong with clean, crisp linens, tasteful artwork and a blanket folded at the foot of the bed.
11. Open those closets! Open-house visitors will peek inside your closets. Closet space can be a make-it-or-break-it selling point for buyers, so show yours off to their full advantage by giving excess stuff the heave-ho. Again, this is really important, so even if you need to store a few boxes elsewhere, it's worth it. Aim to have 20 to 30 percent open space in each closet to give the impression of spaciousness.
12. Clean up toys. Of course there will be families with children looking at your home, but just because they have kids too doesn't mean seeing toys strewn everywhere will sell them on the place. When people are house hunting, they are imagining a fresh start. Show them that in this house, it is possible to have a beautifully organized kids' room, and they might be swayed.
13. Use "extra" rooms wisely. If you have been using a spare bedroom as a dumping ground for odd pieces of furniture and boxes of junk, it's time to clean up your act. Each room should have a clearly defined purpose, so think about what potential buyers might like to see here. An office? A guest room? Another kids' room? Whether you buy inexpensive furnishings, rent them, or borrow some from friends, making a real room out of a junk room will have a big payoff.
14. Try a pedestal sink to maximize space. If you have a small bathroom but a huge cabinet-style sink, consider swapping it out for a simple pedestal version. Your bathroom will appear instantly bigger.
15. Use only perfect personal accents. Especially in the bathroom, it is important that anything left out for visitors to see is pristine. If you have a gorgeous fluffy white bathrobe, hanging it on a decorative hook on the door can be an attractive accent —but if your robe is more of the nubby blue floral variety, you might want to hide it away. Look at every detail with a visitor's eye — bars of soap should be fresh and clean, towels spotless, the garbage always emptied (you get the idea).
16. Entice people to explore the whole house. By placing something that draws the eye at the top of the stairs, in hallways or in corners, you can pique curiosity and keep potential buyers interested throughout a whole home tour. A piece of artwork, a painted accent wall, a window seat, a vase of flowers, a hanging light or even a small, colorful rug can all work to draw the eye.
17. Show how you can use awkward areas. If you have any room beneath the stairs, or a nook or alcove anywhere in your home, try to find a unique way to show it off. By setting up a small work station, a home command center with a bulletin board, or built-in shelving, your awkward spot becomes another selling point.
18. Beware pet odors. Really, this can be a big one! If you have pets, get all rugs steam cleaned and be extra vigilant about vacuuming and washing surfaces. Also be sure to keep any extra-loved pet toys and doggie bones hidden when tours are scheduled.
19. Create a lifestyle people are looking for. Generally speaking, you want to play up what your neighborhood or area is known for. Have a house in a quiet, grassy suburb? Hanging a hammock in your backyard and a bench swing on your porch could be the perfect touch.
20.20. Stage the outdoors too. Even if your condo has only a teensy postage stamp–size balcony, play it up with a cute café table and chairs, a cheerful tablecloth and even a little tray of dishes or a vase of flowers. When people look at this scene, they won’t be thinking “small,” they will be thinking, “What a charming spot to have breakfast!”
21. Think seasonally. Make sure your garden is in beautiful shape in the summer, and that any extra features you have, like a pool or a fire pit, are cleaned and ready to go. Take advantage of the cozy vibe of the season in autumn and winter, by building a fire in the fireplace and simmering hot apple cider on the stove.

Happy staging! Call me if you'd prefer to use a professional stager.

 
Posted In: Uncategorized

Get Inspired! Easy ways to enjoy glorious MN weather

It's here, ya'll! It's happening right now- the gloriously warm days of MN.  We cannot let them pass without enjoying the heck out of them, for road construction season will end soon and winter will be upon us again! It's only 196 days till Christmas, you know! In case you need a little inspiration to get out there, change things up, go somewhere new....here it is, a little list of 12 ways to get out there and love our weather.

Ways To Love Our Warm Weather:

  1. Play hooky from work. Just do it. The world will not stop spinning if you do not go to work for one day. Sometimes it's productive to play hooky and catch up on laundry and mowing and other home things, yes? But it's even more fun if you hit the pool or lake, Valleyfair,  go get an ice cream cone or do something else unexpected but totally awesome.
  2. Pack up some food to grill,  charcoal, paper plates and utensils, some cool sodas or bottles of water, some friends and/or family and go to one of the many lakes we have near by. Pick one and go! After eating, take a walk around the lake. Breathe in the warm air, say hi to the people you walk by. Nature is a SCIENTIFICALLY proven way to up our seratonin and dopamine as is feeling a part of a community. What a great way to spend a day or evening. It's light out until 9:00pm! The lake has stunning sunsets.
  3. Take a convertible for a test ride with the top down.
  4. Do you have a patio? It's easy to set up a space outside to sit and relax. In fact, a house I drive by on my way home doesn't even have a formal patio- they have two chairs set up in the front yard, and the neighbors all come over for informal afternoon gatherings. There are usually 4-6 people hanging out there, playing with their dogs etc. Easy! Ask me for easy tips on pulling a patio together if you need some ideas.
  5. Grill instead of cooking in. It smells like heaven, tastes like heaven.
  6. Visit your local farmer's market for the freshest vegetables of the year! The prices can't be beat and supporting our local farmers and neighbors counts in a major way.
  7. Wake up an extra 20 minutes early and take a walk. The morning air is cooler, the world is quieter and a walk is good for us.
  8. Got kids? Well, even if you don't, try something out of the norm like pitching a tent in the back yard and camping out. Something as small as this can help our brains switch into "vacation" mode.  Kids love this little adventure for a good reason!
  9. Pretend you are a tourist and visit nearby places you have never visited because you live near them. We are such creatures of habit that we stop seeing the things that are right in front of us.
  10. Plan a really good day trip. Summer weekends book up fast with graduation parties, weddings, sports for the kids. But it's fun to also take one day, and plan. It might mean leaving at 6am to drive a couple hours away, spend the day and come home.  We may have road construction but the driving conditions are far better for travel when it's not icy and slippery.
  11. Nature Centers are almost as plenitful as our lakes. Okay, maybe not quite *that* plenitful, but we are rich with our protected areas as well as lakes. The trails are stunning at this time of year with all the green of the trees and grass. Flowers are blooming, nature is doing it's magnificent thing- go smell the life and greenness at a nearby nature center.
  12. Speaking of lakes, another fun thing to do is rent a sailboat or paddleboat. Most lakes offer some really fun recreational things to do, let's take advantage of them!
  13. Get a hammock. Nap. It's an order.

Pick 1, 2 or all of them!

Do you have some ideas to share? Let's make the most of our beautiful weather!

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3 Easy Ways To Get Rid Of Ants Naturally!

This spring brought out the ants out in spades at my house! Have you noticed them in yours? We had- before taking care of them- the big black ants as well as the smaller sugar ants. Because we also have a dog and kids, we don't love using Terro or other typical poisons. Instead, I have found some recipes using all natural ingredients, and I am happy to say that we haven't seen any ants in the kitchen in a week now! I will share what I used, as well as a couple other variations of it. Give a try and let me know how it goes!

Recipe 1: (I used this one!)
1. Pour equal parts white vinegar and water into a spray bottle.
2. Add a few drops of essential oils*.
3. Spray baseboards and other entry points.
4. Wipe 'em up and discard!

* The essential oils I used were lemon, cinnamon and clove. It smells lovely, and ants no likey.

Recipe 2:
FOOD GRADE Diatomaceous Earth

This stuff is amazing! It is deadly to insects as it is so fine and sharp. It penetrates the insect's exoskeleton and they dry out and die, yet it is completely safe for animals! You can buy it at Walmart or Home Depot or whatever garden center is near you. Sprinkle a fine line of it along entry points, baseboards, under the fridge, and watch the ants (and other insects!) disappear! If you get it wet, however, it will not work so keeping it dry is important. Please note that using FOOD GRADE is the best, as the earth used in non food grade could hurt your animal if they were to ingest it. Also, because it is so fine, take care that you (and any animals or humans nearby) do not inhale it if some should puff out into the air. Once it settles, it is harmless to us.
As a side note, there are other beneficial uses of DE in regards to our cat and dog friends. Check out this great article: https://diatomaceous.org/diatomaceous-earth-for-pets-and-animals/

Recipe 3:

1. 1/4 cup water

2. 1/4 vodka

3.15 drops peoppmint oil

4. 15 drops tea tree oil

5. 7 drops citrus oil OR clove oil

Spray baseboards, entry points, under the fridge, counter tops, around garbage cans.  I've included this one because I have all the ingredients for it at home, and if *I* have that stuff sitting around, it's likely that you do also. 🙂

Remember to let me know how it works for you! 

 
Posted In: Think Green

Birchwood Cafe

Birchwood Cafe is found at 3311 25th Street in Minneapolis, in the Seward neighborhood. There is plenty of free parking along 25th Street and neighboring blocks. It's also close to the Mississippi, so if you are out for a walk, run or bike, come land at Birchwood! It's open seven days a week.
Birchwood Cafe is owned by Tracy Singleton, who has a passion for serving delicious farm-to-table meals. Ingredients come from MN, WI and Iowa. A list of specific farms is located here. Call them at 612-722-4474.

 
Posted In: Resources, Restaurants

A Word (or few) on Safe Skin Care

While we are here together talking about safe products, I'd be remiss if I didn't make a quick plea to consider, if you haven't already, the products we use on our bodies.

My intention is not to be on a soap box. But it is a true story that our largest organ is our skin, and it absorbs everything we put on it. Our clean-up-crew organs (liver and kidneys) do a lot of work and I know they appreciate it when we choose to use products that don't contain chemicals that do damage to us.

Here are a couple of moisturizers that are safe products for our bodies:

Coconut Oil: This is an effective moisturizer for your whole body. Lips, too! If you have sensitive skin (I do!), I don't recommend using this on your face. If you practice the no-poo shampoo method, one drop of coconut oil diluted in a cup of water makes a good once in awhile conditioner for the ends of your hair.

Aloe Vera: Another great moisturizer! I use this all over, plus lips and face. My face does not break out from this! I use parts of my aloe plant, but have also used Lily Of The Desert Aloe Very Gelly with great success!

We Can't Forget Deodorant!
I noticed on the label of my regular, run-of-the-mill anti-perspirant a warning label, stating that one should consult with their physican if they have kidney issues before use. WHAT?! Further research taught me that anti-perspirants contain aluminum, which is hard for kidneys to process, and it can build up in the system. High aluminum levels are linked to dementia. It is nearly impossible to use so much anti-perspirant that this would ever be an issue. The warning label is really intended for people who fit the criteria of having stage 4 or 5 kidney disease.
Check out this article about it from the National Kidney Foundation.
That being said, I myself have one kidney and guess what? I am taking such good care of my kidney, and not using regular anti-perspirants unless wherever I am going is such a big deal that it warrants it. There are numerous products available for deodorizing without all the chemicals in normal deodorants and anti-perspirants. Here are a few:

The Crystal
Tom's of Maine
Native

Here is a little known fact, and you'll see why it's little known....On a day to day basis, I don't wear either deodorant or anti-perspirant. I say it a little sheepishly on the off chance that I smell like my son's gym bag but no one is willing to say it to me. My experience has been that when I first stopped, I sweat a lot, almost like my skin was clearing out the pores clogged up by chemicals. After a little time, that stopped. I still sweat, but not enough to show up on clothes, and it doesn't smell. Partially because I am clean, but also because there's nothing clogging those pores, no bacteria etc. Most people probably aren't as hard core as I am regarding this area.

Shampoo and Conditioner

There are several shampoos and conditioners on the market right now that are sulfate free and working towards eliminating more and more chemicals from them. Our scalp is skin too, and absorbs whatever is put on it. Our hair becomes coated as well. I have not tried the brands that I am about to list, but I would use them and feel good about it.

Free & Clear

And here is an all natural do-it-yourself shampoo worth trying!

I myself used the no-shampoo method for a year, maybe a little more. Here is a great website with lots of info if you are interested. My hair was absolutely fantastic, and I only needed to wash it once every 10 days or so (sounds crazy, doesn't it?), but I had to change it up some because the baking soda was starting to have a different effect and I didn't like it. I happen to have very, very thick hair. I won't bore you with details of what I do now, but do ask if you are interested.

 
Posted In: Green Basics

Environmentally Friendly Home Cleaning Products

These days manyof us are becoming more aware of the products and the chemicals they contain around us. When it comes to cleaning our homes, one trip down the cleaning aisle at the store provides plenty of choices. But are they all healthy choices, for us and/or our enviornment?
While it is becoming more...becoming to use enviornmentally friendly products (I will share my favorites shortly), we also have a much less expensive and easy to do option: make our own. There is an incredible array of products we can make with items likely on hand at home that work just as well- if not better- than store bought chemically laden products.
Below you will find a list of recipes to create your own cleaning products that will leave your house sparkling clean! Here is a list of the top 6 items to have on hand- with these 6 items, you can make *alomst* any cleaner, including laundry detergent, that you will need.

Grocery List:
Borax
Super Washing Soda
Castile Soap
Essential oils (tea tree, lemon, lavendar and orange are favorites, but you pick!)
Baking Soda
White Vinegar (get a jug, you will use this a lot!)

Also, an empty spray bottle and air tight container (if you choose to make the laundry detergent or carpet freshener).

All Purpose Cleaner

Recipe #1
Diluted White Vinegar
1:4 parts water, in a spray bottle. Vinegar is truly incredible. The mild acidity of vinegar dissolves soap scum, dirt, and hard water deposits from smooth surfaces. It is also microbial. Use on countertops in the kitchen and bathroom, toilets, showers and all flooring, including wood!The scent of vinegar dissapears as it dries.

Recipe #2
Undiluted White Vinegar
Use white vinegar straight from the container for the tougher soap scum or water deposits. Spray or apply vinegar, let sit for 10 to 15 minutes and then scrub the grime away. If an abrasive would be helpful, apply baking soda to area before scrubbing. This works great on porcelain tubs and toilets.

If the smell of vinegar is a non-negotiable for you, try this:

Recipe #3
1/2 Cup White Vinegar
2Tbsp baking soda
10 drops essential oil of your choosing (tea tree, lavendar or lemon contain disinfecting properties).

In the event that you have come across something that requires more than what vinegar can do even with baking soda, try this!

Homemade Soft Scrub

1 1/2 cups baking soda
1/8 of a cup of castile soap
1/8 of a cup of water
10 drops essential oil of your choosing (remember that tea tree, lavendar or lemon disinfect!)
Mix ingredients together to form a paste. Apply and scrub that soil away! Store remainder in an air tight container. If it dries out, a little water will loosen it back up.

Homemade Carpet Freshener

2 cups Borax
1 cup baking soda
10 drops essential oil of your choosing

Combine together and store in an air tight container. Sprinkle on carpet and let it sit for up to a half an hour, and vacuum!
Va-voom fresh!

Check out this Wiki How Page to learn how to make your own laundry detergent, liquid or powder. There are a few different recipes, and I've tried and had success with two. I have a house full, all the time, and the laundry Never Ends. I'm thankful for a less expensive, nicer-to-the-enviornment option!

As promised above, here is a list of my favorite go-to's at the store. I admit that sometimes I like to change things up a bit. These are products I use guilt free. I invite you to check out their web pages to read their inspiring stories!

Mrs. Meyers Clean Day
Dr. Bronner's All-One
Simple Green

Happy Cleaning To You!!

 
Posted In: Green Basics

Go. See. Do.

The Minneapolis- St. Paul metro area is packed full of things to do. There is always something fun going on or something to look forward to. I've put together a list of interesting events in the Twin Cities metro area worth checking out. Enjoy!

Apple Valley

Apple Valley is just 5 minutes from the Mall of America, and less than that to the Twin Cities Premium Outlet Mall in Eagan. It's 20 minutes from both Minneapolis and St. Paul. Two of Apple Valley's permanent popular features are the MN Zoo, found here, which contains the IMAX Theatre.

Bloomington

Bloomington is home to the  Mall of America, found here. With 520 stores, 50 restaurants, and Nickelodeon Universe, who couldn't find something to do?

The Bloomington Center for the Arts is located at the north end of the Bloomington Civic Plaza here. It includes two theaters, two galleries, a dance studio and rehearsal area, and art classrooms.

Eagan

If the urge to shop and eat is strong, as well as the urge to be outside enjoying some gorgeous MN weather, then the Twin Cities Premium Outlets is calling your name! It features over 100 stores, near the intersection of Highway 13 and Highway 77. It is the largest outdoor shopping center in the upper midwest. Enjoy!

Eagan also contains the largest municipal waterpark in the Upper Midwest, Cascade Bay ! Located here , this outstanding waterpark features waterslides, a lazy river, snackbar as well as a 9 hole miniature golf course. The park received WCCO's Viewer's Choice for Best Outdoor Waterpark!

Lebanon Hills Regional Park found here , is the largest regional park in Dakota County, boasting 2000 acres. You'll find miles of trails and many lakes here. Dakota County is actively restoring more than 1,100 acres of prairie and forest within the Park, and planting more than 3,000 new trees.

Edina

Looking for a fantastic urban escape? Check out Centennial Lakes Park ! This 24 acre park contains more than 1.5 miles of paved pathways that meander around a 10 acre lake. Find seating areas, swinging benches and fountains throughout this beautifully landscaped sweet spot! You will also find a mini golf course, lawn bowling, paddleboat and fishing pole rental as well as ice scaking in the winter months. Located here , many restaurants are within walking distance.

Edinborough Park is the absolute place to be when the kids need to burn some energy! This completely enclosed 1 acre park features one of the biggest indoor play structures in the country, a running track, fitness room, swimming pools and a multi purpuse family play area with a bouncy house, scooters and more.

Feel like locking yourself away from the world? Check out Missing Pieces Escape Games located at 5233 Edina Industrial Blvd. Choose from 2 different rooms, players of 4 to 8 try to find the clues within the room that will lead to their escape. Ages 10-15 must be accompanied by an adult. Call 952-658-8974 to make your reservation.

Southdale Mall located at 66th and France Ave , is the nation's first indoor shopping mall. It opened in 1956 and has over 120 specialty shops as well as food court and child play area.

Minneapolis

Minneapolis is home to some spectacular annual events. During the gorgeous month of June, the Stone Arch Bridge Festival takes place. It's a weekend of art and music on the riverfront. A car show, motorcycle gallery, art activites and 4 performance stages sets the tone. Over 250 artists participate! Find the directions and parking info herehere.

Art-A-Whirl happens the 3rd weekend in May and it is the largest open studio tour in the country! It's free to the public and a wonderful opportunity to tour private studios and galleries, connect with the artists, and buy artwork. Not to mention the fantastic historical buildings you will enter! Art-A-Whirl takes place throughout Northeast Minneapolis in more than 50 different locations. Check out this page for tips on navigating through this amazing event.

Winter is not to be forgotten- and could we really forget? Come and play at the City of Lakes Loppet ! Held the last weekend in January and the first weekend in February, this urban cross country ski festival hosts people from near and far. PArticipate or spectate, the weekends are packed full of activities! Check this page for visitor information!

The Mill City Museum is a great time no matter what time of year it is! It is easy to locate , look for the Gold Medal Flour sign on the top of the building. The flour mill was once the world's largest. Kids of all ages enjoy this museum, especially the Flour Tower to the upper levels. Call 612-341-7556 to make reservations.

Love yoga? If you are a novice or an expert yogi, you are going to love Corepower Yoga's free summer classes outdoors! Check out their
Summer Yoga Free Classes Guide , get outside and find your center. Namaste!

Richfield

Craving nature in the middle of the city? Visit Woodlake Nature Center at 6710 Lake Shore Dr. This fantastic 150 acre cattail marsh contains 3 miles of wheel chair accessible trails. Over 200 species of migrating birds can be found here, along with many other animals. Cross country skiing, shoeshoeing and ski rental availabe in the winter. Naturalists on site, interpretive building houses exibit the wildlife found typical of the area. Free unless part of a Naturalist-led activity.

Come see the oldest home in Richfield! The Bartholomew House is across Lyndale Ave from Woodlake Nature Center. It is a donation based, volunteer run museum. The home was built in 1852 and is intact today, along with many items from the original and subsequent families that lived in it.

Rosemount

Roseville

St. Paul

The Wabasha Street Caves is a must see if you are anywhere in the area! You'll find them here . Enjoy walking tours, which includes either a 40 minute historic cave tour or a one hour long lost souls tour. Also offered are Bus tours, Swing Nights on Thursdays, and a restaurant. Call to make your reservations and prepare for an outstanding time!651-224-1191

You can't miss the Minnesota State Fair ! For 10 days each year at the end of August through Labor Day, hundreds of thousands come to enjoy the food, games, exhibits, concerts, animals and camping! Located at 1254 Snelling Ave So. , it is rated as one of the top 5 state fairs in the country!

But let's not forget winter! St. Paul hosts the yearly Winter Carnival , held in Rice Park . Featuring 3 parades, the treasure hunt, winter run, disc golf ice bowl, ice palaces, food and drinks, you will love wiling away the winter blues here! Held the last week in January through the first week of February, most events are free or low cost unless otherwise noted on the website.

The Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is a free (voluntary donations happily accepted) zoo and conservatory open every day of the year. The Conservatory features numerous stunning gardens that are fantastic year round, but a real pick-me-up in the long winter months when we are craving green spaces and scents. Zoo attractions include gorillas, polar bears, flamingos, monkeys,wolves, zebras, sloths, and big cats to name just a few. Enjoy a snack at one of the food carts, the Zobota Cafe or Zooper Foods out in the zoo. This is a terrific way to spend any day!!

Near The Metro Area Have To's:

Zip Line Minnesota offers two locations for a wild ride, Brainerd and Henderson, MN (45 minutes from Minneapolis, found here ). The Kerfoot Canopy Tour will engage you for 2.5 hours along 14 zip lines! Two trained guides take small groups on the course. The lines get progressively higher, longer and faster as you move through the course. For ages 10 and up. Call 952-873-3901 to make your reservation!

 
Posted In: Guides, Places to visit
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