If you're looking for a really affordable last summer hoorah for the kids, I found it in Maple Grove.

My husband and I took a few days off for a mini stay-cation and ended up taking our 3 year-old to Elm Creek Park Reserve.

It was one of the best day trips we've taken all summer. First, they've got a giant outdoor playground that's probably one of the most elaborate I've ever seen. There are giant slides, a huge climbing structure, a dinosaur bone dig, and a bunch of other fun things I've never seen before. The best part is, it was FREE. Yes, FREE. We didn't have to pay to park and we also didn't have to pay to use this massive playground (which I totally would have paid to use because it was that awesome!)

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Next, we decided to check out the pool area. I thought it was a lake...but, it turns out the park actually has a sandy bottom swimming pool. It's got all of the benefits of going to a lake but, with chlorine treated water. That's so awesome during the pandemic...and, well, just in general for someone like me who doesn't love lake water. 

The cost to swim in the pool was $5 for the day. For our family of three, the whole day cost us $15 because we packed a lunch. You can also grill because they've got picnic tables and BBQ stations. You can absolutely make a cheap but fun day out for the family.

If you're someone who loves nature, you'll love the walking trails. We didn't have time for a nice summer walk but, I want to go back in the fall and check out all of the fall colors there.

If you're hoping to check this place out before summer ends, you'll want to act fast. The swimming pond is open through Labor Day.