Tag Archives: earth day

A Spring Stroll Around Lake Harriet

It’s official—spring has sprung in the Twin Cities! The birds have arrived, trees are budding and the locals are all about getting outside! In honor of Earth Day coming later this week (April 22), today’s #MNMondays feature is all about an ideal place to enjoy nature without leaving Minneapolis—a walk (or bike) around Lake Harriet.

Part of the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes Regional Park, Lake Harriet is circled by a 2.75-mile pedestrian trail and slightly larger bicycle trail, which connect to the larger trail system along the shores of Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles. Picturesque and relaxing, visitors can see a variety of birds and duck species as well as a plethora of trees and foliage. There’s also a marina for non-motorized watercraft, canoe rentals, multiple fishing piers at various points around the lake and two swimming beaches. Plus, a rose garden during the warmer months!

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In addition, there’s the Lake Harriet Bandshell with live performances throughout the summer, and Bread & Pickle—a walk-up eatery with casual dining options and plenty of tables for waterfront dining (and an indoor restroom).Bandshell

While all of the lakes within the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes Regional Park are nice, I find Lake Harriet particularly appealing because it’s  a bit more relaxed and slightly more secluded than the trails around Lake Calhoun. It’s a lovely walk around the lake with nice breezes and plenty of wildlife sightings—plus there’s a tree with a fairy door—how many lakes offer that?FairyDoor

It’s also a nice spot to relax by the waterfront while enjoying a snack from Bread & Pickle or to hop on the vintage Como-Harriet Streetcar Line for a summertime ride over to Lake Calhoun.

All in all, Lake Harriet is the perfect place to relax, enjoy nature and unplug from the daily grind without leaving the Minneapolis city limits!DuckCouple

Otterly Wonderful Time

In honor of Earth Day, I’d like to share a story about one of my favorite animal encounters.

Last summer I had the unique opportunity to partake in the Sea Otter Experience at the Minnesota Zoo.

It was a hot summer morning when I met trainer Jenny, along with two other participants in the lobby of the zoo. Dressed for 40 degree temperatures in the otter habitat, I was beyond excited to enjoy my birthday gift and get up close and personal with one of my favorite animals.

Our experience started with a presentation about otter behaviors, their habitat and a little Q & A session with Jenny. Then it was time to go to the food prep area. We saw the variety of fish they feed the otters at the zoo and learned how they blend up fish with vitamins and other meds (as needed).

Next up was meeting an otter! Our group worked with Jasper. We went into the training area. We were behind glass, but we got to watch the trainer give Jasper signals and see how he would react. It was fascinating to see how responsive the otter was with Jenny.

Then the exciting part…we got to feed Jasper! For safety reasons, you feed the otter through a small circular hole in the glass. Each person got their own turn and it was so fun to see how excited Jasper interacted with everyone. After the feeding session, it was picture time. Jasper posed behind a half glass wall, so everyone could have a photo to capture the moment.

The final phase of our experience was to set up a learning lab for Jasper. Each of us selected four fishy treats along with some toys, placed them into the enclosure, along with a sled decorated with frozen squid and other fish flavored delights. We left the area, and Jasper was let in to put his playful instincts to work! In no time at all, the treats were gone and Jasper was floating along the water in the sled. Everyone took more photos, and then Jenny brought us to the behind the scenes area of the enclosure to see what the trainers see.

All too soon the experience was over, but what an amazing opportunity!