Old MacDonald may have had a farm, but we're pretty sure it wasn't as nice as these.
Gale Woods Farm
: This real working farm in Minnetrista, part of the Three Rivers Park District, offers a CSA, cross-country running trails, and some of the most gorgeous views of natural land where the crazies can run loose. There are also many great kid programs and classes like knitting and crafting with farm sheep wool. There’s even a winter sunrise class where kids collect eggs and grind corn to cook for breakfast before sledding and hiking on the farm. 7210 Co. Rd. 110 W., Minnetrista, 763-694-2001, threeriversparks.org/parks/gale-woods-farm.aspx
: Take a stroll back into the past at Gibbs Farm in Falcon Heights, where onsite historical figures recount the hardships and glories of working 160 acres of native prairie during the late 1800s. There’s a Dakota teepee, plenty of live animals, the original dugout sod house, and a one-room schoolhouse. 2097 Larpenteur Ave. W., St. Paul, 651-646-8629, rchs.com/gbbsfm2.htm
: Tuck Waconia’s Deardorff Orchards in your notes for next year at apple-picking time. With all the hyped-up insanity that can be a local orchard in harvest, this one is a bit mellower and a bit more real farm, with pick-your-own apples, a gorgeous old barn, plenty of farm animals, and (bonus!) Parley Lake Winery next door. 8282 Parley Lake Rd., Waconia, 952-442-1885, deardorfforchards.com
Sweet Solutions: Three tried-and-true cures for those terrible days when everybody's crabby.
1) AMELIA’S TIP > Indulge in chocolate. “It’s always a treat to walk into Candyland. It’s a wonderland of gummies, jujus, chocolates, and popcorn. It’s hard for my kids to name a favorite, but I have no problem: chocolate-covered potato chips.” Four locations, candylandstore.com
2) Eat a sundae. Ice cream heals all ills. Eating a sundae in an old-timey soda fountain, well, that’s like the Mayo Clinic of ice cream. When trouble’s a-brewin’, go to Lynden’s and order a round of sundaes with extra hot fudge. 490 Hamline Ave. S., St. Paul, 651-330-7632, lyndens.com
3) AMELIA’S TIP > Go out for ice cream in winter. “Sebastian Joe’s is an all-time fave. The family-owned shop creates interesting flavor combos that change daily, but Oreo rules in our home.” Three locations, sebastianjoesicecream.com