Summer Activities in the Southwest Metro

Are the dog days getting you down? Here are three ways to break the monotony of a long, unstructured summer.
While visiting Grimm Farm at Lowry Nature Center, swing by the Rain Garden to check out the little green Minnesota tree frogs.

1. See the StarsDid you know that the Onan Observatory at Baylor Regional Park hosts weekend star parties? Come for the star party, or call in advance to reserve a campground, and stay as long as you like. Merle Hiltner of the Minnesota Astronomical Society says that July is prime time to spot Venus and Saturn, as well as asteroids passing our orbit. Visit mnastro.org, and check in later in the year for Special Event parties for the comet ISON, which Hiltner says “could potentially be one of the best comets in history.” Check online for star party dates in July. Baylor Regional Park, 10775 County Rd. 33; Norwood/Young America; 952.448.6082; mnastro.org  2. Read for FunSummer is a great time for being active, but without classes, the brain often gets put on the shelf until fall. The Eden Prairie Library’s Bookawocky Program is designed to recoup losses in creativity due to too much summer.Taking its name from Lewis Carroll’s famous poem “Jabberwocky,” the Bookawocky Program lets readers submit Read. Write. Draw. or Best Book Ever reviews online. Each review earns readers online reading badges and the chance to win free books and gift cards, as well as Twins and State Fair Tickets. Visit hclib.org for details, and check out one of the teen book clubs as well. Eden Prairie Library, 565 Prairie Center Dr., Eden Prairie; 612.543.6275; hclib.org   3. Step into the PastGrimm Farm at the Lowry Nature Center still stands as a reminder of simpler times when people had a closer relationship with the land, food and each other. Tour the historic farmhouse and learn about the start of the Dairy Belt. “We always have an activity that the kids can do that is period appropriate,” says Julie Matz, program/facilities secretary for the Lowry Nature Center. This could be anything from a game played in the 1800s to one of the nature’ center’s many summer programs, like Raptors in the Yard (July 21) or Discovering American Girls With Your Doll (July 14). Grimm Farmhouse is open every Saturday from 1–4 p.m. and is free. Visit threeriversparks.org for times and pricing on all other events and activities. Grimm Farm Historic Site, 7025 Victoria Dr., Victoria; 763.694.7650; threeriversparks.org