Mystery Cave State Park

A couple Saturdays ago Mel and I woke up a little bit before KP. We were laying in bed talking about our wide-open schedule for the day and neither of us were looking forward to wrestling KP inside the house all day. The weather outside was lousy, so we decided to take a little road trip out to Mystery Cave State Park in southern MN.

The drive took a couple hours, but KP is pretty good in the car, so no big deal. We got an early start because we wanted to be able to drive to the park, tour the cave, eat lunch, and then be able to start our drive home during KP’s usual naptime. So off we went.

KP’s favorite part was the bridge outside the cave. There’s a little creek nearby and she liked the ducks. Go figure, drive 2.5 hours and she wants to look at ducks, which we could have seen at home.

KP's favorite part was the bridge outside the cave.

KP’s favorite part was the bridge outside the cave.

The cave was pretty cool, and definitely worth the drive. Once we entered the cave, I dunno. It was a cave. We did cave-type things, told cave-stories, ate cave-snacks, sang cave-songs, and did cave-dances. Here are some photos:

Some dark room in a cave.

Some dark room in a cave.

Mystery Cave State Park is pretty kid friendly.

Mystery Cave State Park is pretty kid friendly.

Some dark hallway thing in a cave.

Some dark hallway thing in a cave.

I took about 300 photos of stuff like this that I will never look at again.

I took about 300 photos of stuff like this that are pretty cool but that I will never look at again.

I liked the places where there was a catwalk over standing water.

I liked the places where there was a catwalk over standing water.

I was a little worried about how KP would do inside the cave. The tour is about an hour, and she was pretty good, though she definitely got a bit fussy towards the end. However, I’m glad we went, I’d go again, and I would recommend this cave tour to anyone.

Ever been to Mystery Cave State Park? What did you think?

 

Afton State Park

Happy late 4th of July. Oh jeez, it was hot as balls outside on the 4th.

It being independence day and all, Mel and I really wanted to do the most American thing we could think of. But sitting around in our cool air-conditioned living room watching MASH re-runs on MeTV and eating pizza just seemed a bit wasteful of a day off, so we decided to go to the beach instead. We wanted to go someplace we’d never been before, so we just started googling around and found Afton State Park, which offers a “swimming beach” according to the website.

We drove out to the park, and found it to be beautiful and pleasant.

Beautiful Trails.

Except for this:

Sad Trombone.

Nothing says state park like a high-voltage transmission line.

At any rate, we discovered that after you park the car, the beach is about a half-mile walk down some trails.

Fat Lips won’t stop us.

The beach wasn’t what we were expecting, but it turned out to be pretty perfect for us. The beach is actually more of a small sandbar along the river with trees growing all over it. If you were expecting a wide expanse of sand, or great tanning conditions, you’d be disappointed.

“Beach”

But anyone with a toddler knows that direct sun isn’t always the best thing in the world because we don’t want to accidentally burn our daughter and end up likeĀ Tanning Mom.

Shady Beach.

So we enjoyed the shady beach, went swimming in the river, and had plenty of time to play in the sand.

St. Croix River

fun stuff happened

All in all, the beach at Afton State Park turned out to be a pretty family-friendly place to hang out, and great for kids with all the shade (although, the river can be awfully turbulent – keep a close eye out for those kids near the water). The $5 state park entrance fee and 1/2 mile walk kept it uncrowded (even on this hot as balls 4th of July holiday.

How about you, readers? Ever been to Afton State Park? What did you think?