Mayer and area parks provide outdoor recreation and enjoyment
This park is located one-half block east of Highway 25, near downtown. An Oodle Swing has been added to the park for people with varying disabilities. A volleyball court has also been added, and the city is currently building a new park shelter.
Bluejay Park is a neighborhood park that is located next to County Road 23 (Bluejay Avenue) and is adjacent to the water treatment plant.
The park offers full-court basketball and mature shade trees.
Old Schoolhouse Park is the largest park in Mayer at 16 acres, and is located next to the community center.
The park includes one baseball field, three softball/Little League fields, a concession stand with a covered picnic shelter, a Little Free Library, a 950-foot-long paved trail that runs between Old Schoolhouse Road and Bluejay Avenue, and plenty of open space.
Meadow Park, one of Mayer’s neighborhood parks, is located in the Hidden Creek subdivision, while another neighborhood park, Discovery Park, is situated in the Fieldstone subdivision.
No visit to Baylor Regional Park is complete without at least a glance at Eagle Lake Observatory, a state-of-the-art facility operated by the Minnesota Astronomical Society (MAS).
The site had been gaining popularity in recent years, and hit a new attendance record of 4,266 visitors in 2015.
In 2016, an estimated 3,680 visitors attended public, special, and other events at the observatory.
Public viewings take place on certain nights, typically from about 7 to 10 p.m., in both clear or cloudy weather. When conditions do not allow for direct viewing, videos, presentations, or tours may be substituted.
The Sylvia A. Casby Observatory and HotSpot classroom were added to the location of the existing Onan Observatory in 2013. The Sylvia A. Casby Observatory is equipped with three telescopes, including the largest refracting telescope at Eagle Lake Observatory. The HotSpot classroom is a space for guests to enjoy a live video feed from the observatory telescopes.
Plans have been made to add a Lunt 152 solar telescope to the Sylvia A. Casby Observatory in 2017.
The Onan Observatory has more than a dozen telescopes on four observing platforms for guests to view the stars, planets, and other celestial objects.
To contact someone from the Eagle Lake Observatory, email email@example.com, or leave a message in the Minnesota Astronomical Society’s voice mailbox at (952) 467-2426.
More information is also available at www.mnastro.org.
Carver County also maintains other nearby parks that offer a variety of activities.
Lake Waconia Regional Park, currently a 100-acre park, is in its early development stage, expanding to a future 164-acre park, which will include Coney Island of the West. Situated on the southern shore of Lake Waconia, Lake Waconia Regional Park boasts a reservable group picnic shelter, play equipment, restrooms, small swimming beach, picnic tables, volleyball court, and grills. Outside the park, boat access is available at the Minnesota DNR boat access located on the northeast side of the lake. Additional boat access can be found at private marinas located in the city of Waconia.
For winter fun, Lake Waconia Regional Park has an 80-foot sledding hill with two runs: a smooth, straight one and a more rough one.
A more recent addition to the park, Lake Waconia Event Center is being operated by Lancer Catering for events. The event center is ideal for hosting wedding receptions, meetings, graduations, family reunions, and other events.
Lake Waconia Regional Park is located just east of the city of Waconia. Access to the park is off of Highway 5, and parking permits are required. For additional information, contact the park office at (952) 466-5250.
Lake Minnewashta Regional Park is situated on the shores of Lake Minnewashta. Facilities include a swimming beach, bathhouse, reservable picnic shelters, sand volleyball courts, creative playground, paved boat access, paved bike trails, ski and snowshoe rental, vending machines, canoe storage, and a Little Free Library located near the beach for guests who would like to enjoy a novel during their time at the park.
For those who wish to exercise or stretch their legs while enjoying the outdoors, five miles of turf and natural surface trails, which run along Lake Minnewashta and through forest and prairie terrain, are available. Separate trails are groomed for skiing and walking during the winter.
Additionally, a fishing pier is located west of the beach area. Besides facilitating anglers, the pier also provides a scenic view of Lake Minnewashta.
The park also offers an off-leash dog area for pet lovers who want to enjoy the park. The fenced-in, 18-acre area includes nearly a mile of walking trails, a separate area for dogs that weigh less than 25 pounds, a fenced-in pond, two large open interactive play spaces, and a water fountain for humans and pets. Admittance to the dog park is free, but all vehicles will require a parking permit.
Lake Minnewashta Park is located off of Highway 41 west of Chanhassen between Highway 5 and Highway 7. For additional information, contact the park office at (952) 466-5250.
Properly displayed daily or annual parking permits are required for all vehicles entering Carver County parks. Permits can be purchased at the park entrance through the gatehouse or the honor box. (The gatehouse purchasing option is only available during summer months.) Annual permits can also be purchased online or by phone at (952) 466-5250 using a Discover, Master, or Visa card.
Looking for something different to do?
Gazing at a starry sky through a powerful telescope, playing a round of disc golf, or walking along a cattail marsh might be the perfect way to spice up your day.
At Baylor Regional Park, these are only a sampling of the wide array of available activities.
The park is located a few miles south of New Germany on County Road 33, adjacent to Eagle Lake, and offers 201 acres of year-round outdoor fun.
Many people travel to Baylor Regional Park to walk or run on the nearly four miles of trails through forest and prairie. The Maple Trail offers syrup demonstrations and sap collections in the spring. There is also a boardwalk through a cattail marsh that is almost one-quarter-mile long.
For large gatherings of up to 100 people, a community room is available from May through October with advance reservation. The 1935 remodeled barn has a food preparation area, heat, air conditioning, flush restrooms, and outdoor deck seating.
Park visitors can play a round of 18-hole disc golf. The course, which opened in September 2007, has baskets with turf and natural tee boxes.
There is no additional charge to play disc golf, but a Carver County parking permit is required for all vehicles in the park.
When cold weather hits, cross-country skis and snowshoes are available for rental at the park office during weekends.
For those who prefer to stay at the park for longer periods of time, there are opportunities to camp at one of 50 camping sites. Thirty-five of the sites have water and electrical hookups, and 15 are primitive. There is also a group camping area. While there, visitors can eat a picnic lunch or relax on the swimming beach.
For sports enthusiasts, the park offers a ball field, tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, and horseshoe pits.
For reservations or information about any park activity, contact the Carver County Park Office at (952) 466-5250 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Parking passes, maps, and other information can also be obtained online, by visiting www.co.carver.mn.us.