Are you ready for some outdoor fun? Discover Mankato's extensive cycling trails, open country roads, downhill slopes and river rapids. The best part is it's all close. Just a short 75 miles from Minneapolis, Mankato is an easily accessible destination of choice.
Nestled between the Minnesota and Blue Earth Rivers, Sibley Park is one of the oldest parks in Greater Mankato, once featuring a horse racing track, regional zoo, museum and clay tennis courts. Now featuring an agricultural theme, the park has been recognized as having one of the coolest playgrounds in the state.
Riverfront Park has been recognized as one of Minnesota's best outdoor music venues. It plays host to a variety of events and festivals for people to enjoy. The grand Lawn, amphitheater, canoe landing, trail head building, playground and public art are just some of the amenities to be enjoyed at the park. The Minnesota River Trail runs through the park and also provides great views of the Minnesota River and the City Center.
Land of Memories Park
This park features trails that wind along the Blue Earth and Minnesota Rivers and through the woods. Campers can find access to the river as well as rustic, relaxing camping throughout 100 acres of beautiful scenery surrounding 47 camping sites for both tents and recreational vehicles. This park is also a destination for disc golfers and wide open spaces for all kinds of activities and events.
Spring Lake Park
North Mankato's Spring Lake Park has all kinds of fun for families. For some water play, check out the duck pond or unique sand-bottom swimming pool. There are also shelters, trails, playground equipment, sand volleyball courts and winter sledding hills.
Minneopa State Park
You could spend hours watching the waterfall but you can also hike along the trails that encircle the falls, watch the birds and visit Seppman Mill, an abandoned windmill, or camp in one of the picturesque sites. Don't forget the state park's newest residents on Bison Drive. New to the park, this bison herd has high quality genetics descending from the type of bison Lewis and Clark gazed upon in the 1830s.
Red Jacket Bike Trail
Take a 13-mile ride on an asphalt and crushed stone path from the YMCA in the Mankato's City Center all the way to awesome eats, delicious pie included, at the Rapidan Dam Store.
Minnesota River Trail
This trail connects the Sakatah and Minneopa Trails. It is a multi-use trail taking users along the Minnesota River, highlighting Mankato's prime location on the river valley from Riverfront Park, through the city center of Mankato on to Sibley Park in west Mankato.
The wooded trails surrounding the Elks Nature Center at Rasmussen Woods are ideal for hikers, birdwatchers and anyone who loves nature. This features a 150-acre tract perfect for hiking and observing wildlife throughout the seasons.
Sakatah Singing Hills Trail
Follow 39 miles of abandoned railroad grade from Mankato (the trail begins on Lime Valley Road, just past the intersection of Riverfront Drive and Highway 14) to Faribault. The blacktopped trail meanders through rich farmland and small towns and follows several lakes, including Madison and Cannon, where there are swimming beaches.
Seven Mile Creek Trails
Just seven miles north of Mankato on Highway 169, you'll find more than eight miles of multi-use trails that wind through a beautiful, deep forested valley with a spring-fed trout stream flowing down the middle.
Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway
Explore the Minnesota River Valley on four wheels! This scenic byway takes you on a journey down the roads and the highways that follow the Minnesota River.
MAMB Ft. LeHillier Trail
This 2.2 mile mountain bike trail is located at the intersection of Highways 66 and 90 just south of Mount Kato.
Kiwanis Recreation Area
Named one of Minnesota's “20 Popular Fat Bike Trails You've Never Heard Of” by Singletracks, this park offers five miles of mountain biking fun in addition to a new skills park. Located just north of the Highway 169 and Highway 14 intersection, the park also offers dog park areas, a canoe/kayak area and an archery range.
Before the snow flies and after it melts again, Mount Kato turns its attention to mountain biking. Slightly more than seven miles of mountain-bike trails are accessible during the non-winter months; call 507.625.3363 for more information.
Seven Mile Creek Trail
7 Mile Park is a 628 acre county park located off of Hwy 169 between North Mankato & St. Peter. There are eight miles of multi-use trails with equestrian parking & a highway underpass. Several footbridges cross 7 Mile Creek. A boat landing is located on the east side for access to the Minnesota River.
Indian Lake Conservation Area
Indian Lake Conservation Area is a 120-acre regional park that provides an outstanding recreational and environmental resource for generations to come. The park, located south of Mankato on Indian Lake Road, melds environmental and recreational amenities. It offers a multi-use trail system which circles Indian Lake and connects with other regional trails. An interpretive display and pamphlets describe the history of the basin, the restoration process, and ecological benefits of wetlands.
Cross Country Skiing
Groomed pathways in an extensive trail system surrounding Mankato bring cross country skiers through Indian Lake Park, Williams Nature Center, Bray Park, Wildwood Conservation Area and Daly Park. Each location presents an exciting journey for a beginner or experienced cross country skier. Call 507-304-4025 or visit Blue Earth County's website.
Down-hill skiers find that Mount Kato remains a hub for fast action and short lines. With 19 groomed trails and four terrain parks for skiing and snowboarding, you won't get bored. The cozy ski lodge is great for recuperation and dining.
Each winter fans swarm indoors to cheer on their Minnesota State University, Mankato Men's and Women's Division I Hockey at the Verizon Wireless Center. During period intermissions partake in the games and sing-alongs with the crowd.
Mankato has 11 parks with outdoor ice skating rinks. All Season's Arena offers an indoor skating rink, with skate rentals. Skate for fun or compete in a game of hockey.
Grab a sled or tube and head to the legendary Sibley Park or Spring Lake Park hill for downhill sledding. Don't have a tube? No problem. Downhill tubing action at Mount Kato provide large tubes for a smoother ride with just as much thrill.
Snowbikes or “fat bikes” are best experienced along packed trails. Try it yourself at Seven Mile Creek Park, Kiwanis Recreation Area, which is consistently groomed throughout winter, MAMB Ft. LeHillier Trail or Indian Lake Conservation Area.
There are 160 miles of trails for snowmobilers in Blue Earth County. Snowmobilers should visit the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website to get detailed maps of available snowmobile routes.
Snowshoeing reveals a whole new experience in our parks or our trails during the winter. This activity allows you to experience winter in all its wonder. Go it alone or book a tour with the local experts, Bent River Outfitter. Rent snowshoes from Bent River Outfitter or Minnesota State University, Mankato Campus Recreation. Looking for a snowshoe and winery combo? Join Bent River Outfitters for a winter tour around the scenic landscapes home to either of our unique wineries, Morgan Creek Vineyards or Chankaska Creek Ranch and Winery. After exploring the snow-covered vineyards, enjoy the warmth of a cozy atmosphere and taste of select cheeses and local vino.
Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota
The Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota offers a fun place for kids to play and learn in an interactive and hands-on environment. Kids will also enjoy special events at the museum including Toddler Wednesdays, Play Labs and Awesome Arts and Super Science activities.
Sibley Park is a favorite of many area families. Not only is the park beautifully landscaped with extensive gardens, it offers endless recreational opportunities: multiple play areas, a petting zoo, picnicking areas and outdoor workout equipment. While at the park people can also fish on the river, take a walk on the Minnesota River Trail, or watch a local softball game. Sibley Park is also home to the Kiwanis Holiday Lights and a legendary sledding hill every holiday season.
Take your kids back in time in the world of Betsy-Tacy. Mankato is the childhood home of Maud Hart Lovelace, beloved author of the famed Betsy-Tacy series of children's books. As you are visiting the many significant Betsy-Tacy sites try to erase the view of modern advances and imagine a simpler time of the early 1900s.
Take to the Water
Kids love the water. Mankato is within a quick drive to many surrounding lakes. There are opportunities to rent a boat or fish from a dock. Kids will also enjoy swimming or playing on the playground equipment at some area lakes while mom and dad relax and enjoy the view.
Take a guided trip throughout the Blue Earth County river valley with Bent River, our local outdoor adventure outfitter. Make sure to ask about Big Moe and Triple Falls.Bring your Bicycles
Greater Mankato has more than 50 miles of paved trails for a nice family bike ride along with Mountain Biking opportunities at the Kiwanis Park, Fort Le Hillier Mountain Bike Trails and for the more experienced rider, Mount Kato.
Burn off Some Energy
Spend the day at the Mankato Family YMCA. Kids will love to run in the gyms, play in the Kid's Gym, swim in the Taylor Family Aquatic Center and Pool or relax in the YMCA's Pepsi Cube that has foosball, a climbing wall, video games and more.
Take a Dip
The Mankato Family YMCA not only has the Taylor Family Aquatic Center and Pool, but they also manage two outdoor pools in greater Mankato. Spring Lake Park in North Mankato is a unique sand bottom pool that offers a lake feel without the weeds. Located in beautiful Spring Lake Park, this zero-entry pool comes complete with sand for sand castles, diving boards and more. Tourtellotte pool, in Tourtellotte park, offers a swimming facility featuring an Olympic-sized pool with a separate diving well and a heated wading pool.
Be Wowed at The Wow! Zone
Your kids will find plenty to do at The Wow! Zone: bowling, laser tag, video games, pizza and more. There are also amenities for mom and dad to enjoy while the kids play. For more bowling opportunities check out Jerry Dutler's Bowl and Victory Bowl.
Ice Skate all Year Round
Grab a pair of skates and head to All Seasons Arena to skate on the same ice as the Minnesota State University, Mankato Mavericks.
Pick from several parks in greater Mankato with ice rinks in the winter, including a new synthetic ice rink at Sibley Park during the Kiwanis Holiday Lights. Find a park with an ice rink.
Conquer the Slopes
Families can ski, snowboard or tube at Mount Kato. Whether you are experienced or need a few lessons, Mount Kato has everything you need for a fun day with the family including 19 trails, 8 chair lifts, four terrain parks, a two-level chalet with food service, a full service rental shop and The Lift Bar.
Bounce Around at Bounce Town
Head to Bounce Town to let your bouncers have fun while getting some exercise in the indoor inflatable play center. There are a variety of inflatables including bouncers, obstacle courses and slides. The little ones up to 40″ will have fun in Wee Town.
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