Recreation Experience Center
Are you looking for more recreation opportunities at home and on the go? The Recreation Experience Center (REC Online) is your comprehensive online resource for fun, engaging, inclusive, and accessible activities. With options in the creative and performing arts, fitness, history, nature and more, whether you're looking for a purely Bloomington experience or just general ideas on what to do, you're sure to find something that interests you at REC Online.
Check back often. We'll be adding new activities and adventures regularly.
Arts (Creative and Performing)
Artistry - Art in Place.
Bloomington Center for the Arts (BCA) Resident Performance Organizations
Enjoy many outstanding vocal and instrumental music performances through these audio and video recordings.
- Angelica Cantanti Youth Choirs
- Bloomington Chorale
- Bloomington Symphony Orchestra
- Continental Ballet Company
- Medalist Concert Band
- NOTEables Singers
Time to sharpen your creative and homesteading skills! Learn step-by-step how to make and personalize your own candles at home. Watch the video below and click here to download our easy-to-follow instructions!
Join us for a time of story-telling from a classic children’s book: Three Bears, by W.W. Denslow! This video will take you through page by page as we read this classic story discovered in the Library of Congress.
AARP Games - Mahjongg, word games, solitaire, and more are available for everyone.
Staying Sharp - AARP members can login in to play daily puzzles, fun games, and more.
Discover Bloomington: Nature, Culture and History
How to Make Frontier Toys
Pioneer children used common household items to make toys to amuse themselves and impress their family and friends. Two of the toys they would make are called whirligigs and thaumatropes. You can also make some for yourself. Click below to download detailed instructions on how to make a whirligig and thaumatrope at home today. Unleash your creativity and enjoy!
Hands On History: Animal Furs and Tracks
For hundreds of years Native people in Minnesota traded furs. Enjoy these two activities that will help you identify animals by their fur and tracks.
- Fur Identification
Examine the 12 different furs displayed in the Animal Fur Challenge sheet below (click to open/print). Can you identify which animals the fur comes from? There's a key on the last page...but don't cheat! Take the Animal Fur Identification Challenge today.
- Animal Track BINGO (OHIYA)
After identifying animals by their fur, try your hand at doing so based on their tracks. Animal Track Bingo is a fun activity that will help you learn the tracks of 10 different Minnesota animals. If there’s snow on the ground, be a nature detective and go animal track sleuthing in your neighborhood or a nearby park.
Click on the documents below and print them for use in your own Animal Track BINGO game at home!
Go outside and take a walk, pay attention to your natural surroundings, look for animal tracks, or the animals themselves! Your environment can be an endless source of fun, learning, and new experiences.
The Wonder Walk activity teaches you how to relate to the natural world around you. Color Challenge lets you compare colors in your home to those in the great outdoors. Tracks and Trails helps you learn how to identify animals by the tracks and trails they leave behind. Animal Observations makes you more observant of what animals are doing and helps you figure out why they do what they do.
Click below to download the handy guide to all four fun and educational activities.
Play Bloomington PARK
How many Bloomington Park adventures have you taken? Can you get four in a row to spell out PARK? Why stop there. Go for a "blackout" and enjoy all 16 fun experiences! Download (and print if you'd like) the flyer below and get started on your Bloomington PARK journey today!
Discover the MN Nokomis Trail
Exploring the Nokomis-Minnesota Valley Regional Trail is a great way to get out and exercise, while enjoying many fun and interesting stops along the way. Take a look at this brief and informative video.
Tierney’s Woods Hike
Venture this Bloomington owned trail, operated by Three Rivers Park District with tree lined trails and water views. This video will guide you through some of the trail options and highlights.
Fitness and Sports
Cumulative Marathon 2020
Get active with Bloomington Parks and Recreation and participate in our first-ever Cumulative Marathon. Like a Regular marathon, your challenge is to to run, jog or walk 26.2 miles, but you get a whole month to do it! Make it even more fun by encouraging friends, family and co-workers to participate and see who reaches the milestone first. Or just do it to lose the “Quarantine 15.” Registration now open. Get all the details here: blm.mn/cumulative-marathon
The next time someone tells you to "take a hike", make it a FITNESS hike! This informative video will show you ways to use nature to create a unique and fun workout that is easy for people of all ages and abilities. Use this helpful guide to make the most out of your next fitness hike.
From the National Institute on Aging at NIH, offers exercises, motivational tips and free resources to help you get ready, start exercising and keep going.
Intro to Esports
Want to know how to get more involved in the world of Esports? Or maybe you don’t have any idea what Esports is. You're not alone, so take a look at this informational flyer on Esports, including some local examples. Get your competitive fix during this sports drought. Esports Flyer
Normandale Lake Park 5K Walking/Running Route
Explore the sanctioned 5K route options on the Normandale Lake Park trail system. Learn the popular starting and stopping points you can use for 5K training in this popular Bloomington park. View the route map here.
Paddlin’ with P&R” Bush Lake
Explore the resources and options available to paddle your way to fun on Bush Lake. We'll show you and your family options to get on the water.
Members can access on-demand classes, health tips, and workout videos. Everyone can exercise to their weekly Facebook live sessions or choose from variety of YouTube videos.
A four-week physical activity challenge for all ages and abilities to become more physically active.
Backyard Scavenger Hunt
Go on an adventure exploring nature in your own backyard! Kids will discover a new world by searching for the items on this Backyard Scavenger Hunt. Download and print or share the scavenger hunt checklist: Backyard Scavenger Hunt.pdf
Birdwatching for Beginners (NEW! Uploaded 7/24/20)
It's one of humanity's oldest and easiest hobbies. Birdwatching is a great way to spend time in nature and learn a little something about the animal kingdom in the process. Get some tips from this brief and informative flyer and then go outside and check out as many of our fine feathered friends as you can spot! The flyer also contains several links that provide additional guidance and information to help you embark on your birdwatching adventures.
Have you heard of geocaching? Maybe you've wondered what it is and how to get started. We've got you covered with the informative guide linked below, which is complete with all of the information you need to become involved in the fun and interesting world of geocaching.
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge has put a new twist on traditional environmental education by going virtual. The lessons were developed to ensure Partner Schools could continue providing curriculum to students through distance learning. Visit the Just for Kids section of MVNWR's website for lesson packets, virtual field trips, readings of children's books, scavenger hunts and more for the K-6th grader in your life.
Learn about the invasive plant Garlic Mustard, how to identify it in your own yard, and steps you can take to eradicate it.
- Brandon Baker, an interpretive naturalist at Eastman Nature Center, and Wildlife Biologist Angela Grill explores the natural and cultural history of the 27,000-acre Three Rivers Park District and the surrounding Twin Cities area in The Wondering Naturalist podcast.
- A checklist and observation guide to the 288 bird species that have been observed within the Park District since 1968.
- Offers activities for kids and families, wildlife webcams, virtual tours of 12 different national parks, indoor classrooms, and more.
- At each park, take a virtual tour as a local ranger guides you through places most people never get to go in some breathtaking parks in The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks brought to you by Google Arts & Culture
- Offering downloadable eBooks, music, and magazines for all ages. Including Minnesota authors, publishers, and musicians.
- Curbside pickup service is offered for materials currently available at eight regional library locations.
In the Twin Cities metro area, turn to the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging for all things aging—answers, resources, connections, service design, issues, and policy. We stand with older adults, families, and communities in healthy aging for a lifetime. MAAA offers a wide variety of presentations for seniors and is now doing them virtually so seniors can participate from the comfort and safety of their own residence!
Check out their facebook page for daily inspiration and creative ways to stay busy.
Bloom-INGO is a uniquely Bloomington version of bingo held live on Facebook. It's fun for the whole family. Bloom-INGO has taken place previously on April 25 and May 16 and we're looking forward to bringing it back in the near future (dates TBD). Thanks to the Bloomington businesses listed below for partnering with us to distribute FREE bingo cards. If you don't see your favorite local establishment, tag them on Facebook to encourage them to join in future Bloom-INGO fun!
- NorthStar Tavern, 5101 West 98th Street
- Mugshots Coffee Company, 10518 France Avenue South
- Snuffy’s Malt Shop, Bloomington, 1200 West 98th Street
- Sports Page Bar and Grille, 9014 Lyndale Avenue South
- Sunrise Donuts, 9010 Lyndale Avenue South
Wellness and Self-Care
Home Spa Night
Can't go out to your favorite salon or spa as often as you'd like? Worried about winter's effect on your skin? Don't worry! We've got you covered.
Click below to download our Home Spa Night flyer featuring easy face mask and body scrub recipes you can create at home with just a few simple ingredients. Enjoy adding some brightness and moisture to your winter skin.