Silverwood Park

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When: Saturday, September 26, 2009. About 10am to 2pm.

How: Bus #25N, and bike.

From where: Leamington Ramp,10th street and 2nd Ave.; downtown Minneapolis.

How Long: Bus ride about 35 minutes.

Ease: Very easy once you’re on the bus.(But see below for caveats.) Bus stop for the park is county road E and Silver Lake Road (not indicated on the # 25 schedule, but located between the stops “37th ave. NE” and “Innsbruck Dr.” on the schedule. The main park entrance is about 1000 feet west of this stop on county road E.

Worth Doing: Silverwood Park was celebrating its grand opening on Saturday, and the place was hopping with events and activities for children – very gay on a sunny fall day. Many county, city, and state dignitaries were present for ceremonies including former senator Durenberger and current senator Amy Klubuchar.

Formerly a Salvation Army camp for inner city children, Silverwood is still an island of green in suburbia. It’s not a large park, but has stellar facilities for a not-so-rugged outing. The park’s focus is both the natural environment and the arts, and the beautiful visitor’s center cum gallery by itself suggests a dedication to the artistic. Its location is perfect: on a hillside overlooking oak woodlands and Silver lake, extended by a broad terrace with chairs and a fireplace, also overlooking the lake.

Silverwood hosts classes and performances in an outdoor amphitheatre, but also has facilities for more homely activities such as fishing, walking, and picnicing.

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Caveats: The park IS easily accessible by transit, particularly if you live near the #25 route, mostly Stinson Boulevard and Silver Lake Road, or if you’re starting in downtown. It’s also good if you have a direct feeder route into downtown. We opted for reaching downtown by bike however to avoid two transfers. And then, there’s the perennial problem of the Saturday schedule: one bus every hour and 20 minutes! So, plan carefully and don’t miss it. As for Sunday in the park? Forget it – there’s no bus at all.
A funny problem we had that you might not think of was where to find the bus in the Leamington ramp, a big parking ramp occupying an entire square block, without too much signage – at least from the side we approached. We had been told “second level”, so we made our way up on an elevator. Lots of cars, no bus, the clock ticking. We sailed down a ramp on our bikes, spotted a bus over a wall, exited, reentered probably by a back way (still no sign), and there was our bus. We’ll suggest to Metro Transit they improve signage and web information about the ramp.

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