The Inner Circle: Cliff Fen Park

I will fully admit to already loving this park. It used to be one of those prized jewel wooden parks that you might get to go to as a kid if you just shut up for ten minutes. I think my cousins and I called it Castle Park, but it was definitely Skyland. Aside from turning into Splinter City, it was a perfectly suitable playground, but because it was wooden it was so much more novel to us kids.

So they tore down all the fond memories of the kids from the nineties and new millenia, but they completely redeemed themselves with this really amazing new playground. It’s the Treehouse Park to my 4 year old. They put in a lot of thought and considerations and I firmly believe this park is wonderfully accessible and has something for everyone. It took awhile, but now Mac actually plays on the playground instead of just running laps around it. As an added bonus, if you’re there at just the right time, you can watch a train pass by behind it, by the river.

We actually had Mac’s second birthday party here, in the middle of August, which seems great until you realize that this was before they added the splash pad. It was fun, with a touch of miserably sweaty pits. So maybe this year will be better. And for how close this playground actually is, we don’t come here enough. But today we went.

Our morning was rather hectic, for no reason than those dang teeth pushing through the face of my sweet child. Why has evolution not found a more apt way to ensure we get teeth without tearing through gums at a crazy rate? So basically Theo is a hot mess. His morning nap was delayed an hour due to needing constant affection.


Afterwards we took turns cycling in and outside. The kids played with the water table and ate goldfish off a dirty blanket. I got through exactly 3 pages of my library book. Of course the moment we got inside, Theo was a hot mess again. So here’s hoping Cliff Fen does the trick after nap. But first, a nap. Or maybe a standoff and then a nap. Fine.

Once nap/quiet time is over, I tend to stuff the kids full of food and throw them (gently!) in the car. The ride was quick and the park was on the quieter side. Well guys, the water was very cold. Theo was not at all ready for cold water. Mac actually took off and braved the frigid sprayers. Why was it so easy as a kid to do that? I vividly remember dancing in a September rainstorm with my cousins once.

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We spent a little bit of time on the main playground with Theo on the swings and Mac falling off of everything (I swear that anytime he gets used to his legs, he sprouts another inch). And why is everything mulch?! I’ve never disliked mulch so much until I had the kid who thinks everything is a snack. I digress, it’s still a very cool park.

Then we had a moment of the golden hour. Why is a few minutes referred to as an hour? In Minnesota you get the 8 minute hour. I can think of a few other things I would call that, but I need to walk away. Why am I so filled with angst today? Geeze.

All in all, the kids had a lot of fun. Theo at the very least got a couple bonus wood chips and actually walked around the water and yelled. Mac got drenched, covered in mulch, and drenched all over again. We drove home and I made a homemade happy meal with french fries, apple slices, and chocolate milk (he only ever eats those things anyhow) for dinner. We did use a toy that we already owned as his prize, which he loved. And most importantly, not a single one fussed on the way to bed.


click for map

Cost of purchases: $0.00
Cost of gas*: $0.78
Total cost: $0.78



*When estimating gas mileage, we have a good 15 mpg range in our Jeep Liberty, so chances are it costs much less for you per gallon. All prices are adjusted based on current gas prices. 

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