Located in Minnehaha Park, Wabun offers fours picnic shelters, a wading pool, restroom building, parking lots, a disc golf course, volleyball court, and a bike/pedestrian trail.
The reservable picnic shelters are equipped with grills, lights, and electricity; the two large shelters each seat 230 people, and the two smaller shelters each seat 60.
The wading pool features a waterfall and spray structure that looks like the rock of the river bluffs; benches surround the tree-shaded pool. The restroom building includes changing rooms and family rest rooms.
The trail along the river bluff, affording views of the river and beautiful outcroppings of rock, leads down the hill and underneath the Ford Bridge to meet the bike and pedestrian trail on West River Parkway.
To minimize stormwater runoff, sections of the parking lots in Wabun are made of porous bricks or concrete. Wabun’s parking lot is the first in the Minneapolis Park System to employ this state-of-the-art strategy.
The Upper Glen, also known as the “Deer Pen,” is adjacent to the Wabun Picnic Area. Thousands of years ago, a western channel of the Mississippi River flowed over the bluff at the north end of the Upper Glen, creating falls and carving out the glen below. The area became known as the “Deer Pen” when, prior to converting the area into picnic grounds in 1923, deer and elk were kept there. Early in the 20th Century, the middle section of the north bluff was filled in and covered over when the city installed sewer lines. Excess soil from the excavation in Wabun was used to soften the steep grade and rough contours of this middle section, offering a panoramic view of the Deer Pen and the opportunity for sledding in the winter.
Historical Profile: More information about this and other parks is included in Parks, Lakes, Trails and So Much More, a richly detailed account of the histories of Minneapolis’ renowned recreational system.
(See Minnehaha Park section.)