12 Parks in Bloomington, Minnesota

Last Updated on February 6, 2024 by Robert Wilson


As a suburb of Minneapolis, Bloomington, Minnesota is home to numerous parks and green spaces for residents and visitors to enjoy. From large regional parks with trails, lakes, and nature centers to small neighborhood playgrounds and athletic fields, Bloomington’s parks offer something for everyone.

This article will highlight 12 of the best and most popular parks found across Bloomington. For each park, details will be provided on the location, size, amenities and recreational facilities available, along with what makes the park worth visiting. Parks with historical or ecological significance will also be noted.

Whether you’re looking for spaces to hike, bike, play sports, have a picnic, or simply relax outdoors, you’re sure to find a perfect park in Bloomington. The city’s motto is “A Place to Grow Boldly” – and its robust parks system reflects that optimistic, flourishing spirit. Read on to learn more about 12 of the top parks Bloomington has to offer.

1.Hyland Lake Park

Location: 10145 Bush Lake Road, Bloomington MN 55438
Size: 592 acres

The largest park in Bloomington, Hyland Lake Park is anchored by the namesake 180-acre Hyland Lake. This sprawling park features multiple access points, a swimming beach, fishing piers, picnic shelters, and more than 14 miles of trails that allow visitors to fully experience the forests, prairies, wetlands, and other habitats found within the park.

Two unique attractions at Hyland Lake Park are the Richardson Nature Center, which hosts educational programs and animal exhibits focused on ecology and the environment, and a demonstration ECO Garden that displays native Minnesota plants and sustainable gardening techniques.

With so much natural beauty and diversity across its hundreds of acres, Hyland Lake Park has something to offer nature lovers of all ages and interests.

2.Bush Lake Beach Park

Location: 10920 Bush Lake Road, Bloomington MN 55438
Size: 13 acres

Bush Lake Beach Park is one of Bloomington’s beloved summer hot spots. Located on the north shore of Bush Lake, this park features a large sandy beach with swim buoys designating a roped-off swimming area, along with a bathhouse and food vendor.

The adjoining picnic grounds are dotted with trees and shelters where families and friends gather for reunions, company picnics, church services, and other large functions during the warmer months. Visitors can play beach volleyball on one of the park’s four courts, go for a jog on the paved path surrounding Bush Lake, or relax while children enjoy the creative playground equipment.

With its lively social atmosphere and variety of activities for all ages, the vibrant Bush Lake Beach Park promises a summertime filled with fun and making lasting memories.

3.Centennial Lakes Park

Location: 7499 France Ave. S., Bloomington MN 55435
Size: 100 acres

Centennial Lakes Park brings a taste of natural serenity to this suburb, with walking paths looping around a series of five connected ponds and wetland areas that create an urban oasis. Designed as an ecology demonstration park, Centennial Lakes Park has information on native plant species and the importance of wetlands throughout the grounds.

Visitor favorites include the Bloomington Event Garden’s scenic central gazebo overlooking the water, the classical Peace Fountain with water displays choreographed to lights and music, and the Bloomington “butterfly” garden filled with flowering plants.

Centennial Lakes Park hosts art fairs, summer concerts, restaurant patios overlooking the water, and wintertime ice skating. Its beauty and diversity of activities make Centennial Lakes Park both a relaxed neighborhood escape and vibrant community gathering space.

4.Old Cedar Avenue Park

Location: 2600 Cedar Ave. S., Bloomington MN 55431
Size: 80 acres

Formerly known as Cedarcrest Park, Old Cedar Avenue Park has a historic bridge and avenue of majestic old-growth red cedar trees that give this park its name. The central Gothic-arch pedestrian bridge stretches over Long Meadow Lake, which is encircled by paved walking paths that intertwine through open meadows, colorful gardens, and shady groves of oak trees.

An interpretive center highlights the human and natural history of Old Cedar Avenue Park for visitors. Other features include a playground and wading pool for children, fishing dock, picnic pavilion, and recreation building suited for community events. For both recreation and education on local landscapes, Old Cedar Avenue Park offers a scenic place to walk back in time.

5.Valley View Park

Location: 9050 Portland Ave. S. Bloomington MN 55420
Size: 74 acres

Tucked away in a wooded area near Minnesota River Valley, Valley View Park lives up to its name by offering prime scenic vistas of the surrounding area. Set atop high bluffs, this peaceful park allows visitors to overlook tree canopies while picnicking on tables or grilling in one of 16 available shelters.

Playground equipment lets kids enjoy the park vista as well. Valley View Park contains multiple access points to walking paths that connect to regional trail networks, making it a great launching point for vigorous hikes or casual nature walks to appreciate the fall colors. With its secluded location and elevation, Valley View Park delivers beautiful public panoramas year-round.

6.Dred Scott Fields

Location: 10820 Bloomington Ferry Road, Bloomington MN 55438
Size: 39 acres

Previously named Southwood Athletic Complex, this large park was renovated and recently designated as Dred Scott Fields to acknowledge that the Dred Scott Supreme Court case seeking freedom for slaves once included the land this park sits on.

Encompassing almost 40 acres, Dred Scott Fields has a sprawling assortment of recreational facilities. Baseball and softball diamonds make up a majority of the park along with soccer and football fields.

The synthetic-turf Hodgson Stadium field hosts Bloomington Jefferson high school football games and seats 3,000 spectators. Sand volleyball courts, playgrounds, walking paths and a concessions building round out the expansive active offerings at Dred Scott Fields.

7.Pond Dakota Mission Park

Location: 3901 W. 101st Street, Bloomington MN 55431
Size: 5 acres

This pocket park packs plenty of cultural heritage and natural beauty into its five acres. Named to reflect the unsuccessful attempts by early Dakota tribes to convert the area into rice paddies and farm fields, Pond Dakota Mission Park is located in a residential neighborhood but transports visitors back in time.

A tall granite monument stands engraved with the history of missionaries and Dakota inhabitants trying to inhabit the swampy land, while paved walking paths curve around a central pond thick with cattails and native aquatic plants. Vibrant wildflower beds border the path during summer months.

Visitors will also find a playground, half basketball court and open grass areas suited for games, relaxing or picnics. Though small in size, Pond Dakota Mission Park shares an important ecological and anthropological story.

8.Poplar Bridge Park

Location: 13800 Walnut Street, Bloomington MN 55448
Size: 40 acres

As a popular dog park and beloved community open space, Poplar Bridge Park offers room to roam and great amenities for pets and their owners. Gentle hills surrounding the west Bush Lake inlet provide dogs exciting areas to explore on and off-leash.

Separate enclosed spaces cater to large and small dogs with agility equipment. For humans, paved walking loops circle through open fields and a sensory garden, with a fishing pier extending into Bush Lake’s wetlands. Picnic shelters, artistic metal furnishings and footbridges crossing over inlets create cozy spaces to enjoy the natural scenery.

Located adjacent to a community center and county library, Poplar Bridge Park entertains both pets and people with its vibrant features.

9.Gold Medal Park

Location: 9200 Olson Memorial Highway, Bloomington MN 55431
Size: 13 acres

Gold Medal Park commemorates Bloomington native Jack Blum’s speed skating gold medal achievement in the 1960 Olympics. Visitors can try their skill on the NHL regulation-sized outdoor hockey and pleasure skating rinks surrounded by warming houses.

Separate sledding hills for young children and a larger hill for snow tubes make this a top pick for winter fun. During warmer seasons Gold Medal Park converts into a popular spot for soccer practice and pickup games on the artificial turf field.

Shaded tables and a picturesque footbridge crossing Long Meadow Lake to the adjoining park give visitors scenic options for relaxing or enjoying picnics outdoors. For active recreation tied to local history, Gold Medal Park delivers year-round facilities.

10.Cherry Lane Park

Location: 9301 James Ave. S., Bloomington MN 55431
Size: 5 acres

Families with small children flock to this small neighborhood park thanks to amenities perfectly tailored to younger ages. Splash pads, playground equipment, and an elaborate treehouse-themed play area keep kids entertained for hours.

Shady trees surround the play areas and stone chess/checkers tables give adults spaces to relax. Cherry Lane Park’s community building hosts kids’ clubs and senior citizen groups, with an outdoor rollerblade hockey rink behind the building.

An urban agriculture demonstration plot grows produce for local food shelves. Bloomington’s only outdoor fitness equipment course also loops around Cherry Lane Park. This little park delivers big fun and unique recreation for all ages.

11.Emmaus Triangle Park

Location: 8401 James Ave. S., Bloomington MN 55431
Size: 1 acre

Though it may be Bloomington’s smallest park at just one acre, Emmaus Triangle Park provides a cute, convenient neighborhood space for play and relaxation. Shade trees and pretty violin-shaped flower beds fill triangular green spaces created by intersecting streets.

Nodding flower bulbs blossom near a central flagpole memorial every spring. Play areas entertain little ones with slides and climbing equipment, while residents visit frequently with dogs or enjoy tables suited for chess/checkers and picnicking on warm evenings.

Vivid murals painted by local artists depict natural scenes and bring unexpected splashes of color. For an easily walkable area allowing fresh air and social gatherings, Emmaus Triangle Park punches above its petite weight.

Conclusion

Bloomington’s thriving local parks serve as community hubs that bring people together through natural spaces, recreational facilities, and cultural enrichment.

The 12 parks highlighted in this article give just a preview of everything Bloomington’s park system has to offer for visitors and residents. From scenic hiking trails to swim beaches, from historical sites that preserve the past to creative amenities focused on health and wellbeing, Bloomington parks have something to delight people across generations.

Beyond facilities and amenities, these parks foster a connectedness through public green spaces that promote play, imagination, learning and nurturing relationships. T

ruly parks help this suburb grow boldly by sustaining mind, body and community bonds. Whether on bikes or skates, skis or hiking boots, beach towels or picnic blankets – enjoy Bloomington’s magnificent parks system and make lasting memories.

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