Big Backyard

The summer months mean the reopening of the Science Museum's expansive Big Backyard, good for a day's worth of vitamin D, killer views of the Mississippi, and enough activities for an afternoon with a curious nephew or a getting-to-know-you date. (If it's a bust, you've at least gained some knowledge on erosional landscapes.) The Big Backyard boasts nine holes of mini-golf with an educational twist: The 30,000-square-foot EarthScapes course illustrates how the movement of water affects surrounding landscapes, with hole four tracking city storm sewers through a series of tunnels and gutters, and hole eight utilizing a model of St. Anthony Falls to explain the lock and dam. The course shares space with a sluice for panning fossils and gemstones, an artesian well, and a prairie grass maze—not to be attempted with a date who inspires lukewarm feelings lest you become hopelessly lost. The Big Backyard is included in museum admission; mini golf and panning cost extra.
May 29-Sept. 6, 9:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 9:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Starts: May 29. Continues through Sept. 26, 2010

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