1
Exploring the Twin Cities with Kids
2
10 Ideas for Free or Cheap Family Fun in July
3
Top 10 Fireworks Displays in the Twin Cities and More 4th of July Fun
4
Family Fun Twin Cities Guide to the Aquatennial 2015
5
Flash Giveaway Monday — ‘Puppa-Na-Wuppana’
6
Circus Juventas Summer Spectactular –‘1001 Nights’–Tickets On Sale on TODAY!
7
Kids Cooking Classes with Wee Ones Wellness & Toylend USA
8
Free Family Weekend Events List for June 27 – 28, 2015
9
James and the Giant Peach Opens Today at Open Window Theatre
10
10 Twin Cities Beaches & Playgrounds to Try This Summer
11
Father’s Day Event — A Success!

Exploring the Twin Cities with Kids

This is my go-to website for things to do with the kiddos in Minnesota.

Is this your first visit to our site?  Start here and get to know us! 

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10 Ideas for Free or Cheap Family Fun in July

Bring on July, a month fit for beaches and ice cream, outdoor games and perhaps even evenings that can stretch a little later than usual. We’re back with 10 more ideas for low-budget family fun – plus our Top 10 Fireworks Displays and FFTC’s Guide to the Aquatennial could help round out the rest of your family’s free time in July.

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eidem homestead

Daily Life on the Farm @ Eidem Homestead, 4345 101st Ave N, Brooklyn Park, 55443

When: July 8 & July 22 (Wednesdays)
Cost: $5/pp, ages 4 & under admitted free
Details: Travel back to the turn of the 20th century at this historic farmstead. Kids can get as hands-on as they’d like — participating in farm chores such as feeding animals, picking crops, and hauling wood. Inside the farmhouse, work in the kitchen or assist in spinning wool. Want to visit the farm for free? Attend one of their Storytimes (Tuesdays in July, 10am-noon w/ the exception of 7/28 when stories are read 7-8pm).

grimm farm historic site

Grimm Farm Open House & Lowry Nature Center @ Carver Park Reserve, 7025 Victoria Dr, Victoria, 55386

When: Saturdays in July, 2015 • 1-4pm
Cost: Free
Details: Step back in time for a few hours at the historic home of Wendelin Grimm and his family. My kids have done this event and enjoyed the old-fashioned porch and lawn games, and the peek into daily life inside the farmhouse. Leave time to explore the Lowry Nature Center (also located within Carver Park Reserve) and its nature playground.

snail lake regional park beach

10 Twin Cities Beaches & Playgrounds to Try This Summer

July is the ultimate month to hit the beach and we’ve rounded up 10 that we think are worth checking out. Most are free, a few charge a small entry fee, and all have access to playground equipment, splash features, and other fun attractions. Note that on July 7 (and all first Wednesdays of the month), entrance fees to all Washington County parks are waived making it FREE to swim at the popular Lake Elmo Park Reserve Swim Pond!

Ramsey County Fair @ Ramsey County Fairgrounds, 2020 White Bear Ave, Maplewood, 55109

When: July 15-19, 2015 • find hours here
Cost: Free admission, $3 parking
Details: There’s plenty of free fun to be had on the grounds of the Ramsey County Fair – live music, art activities, 4-H demonstrations and lots more. Get the full entertainment schedule here.

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free ink day – highpoint center for printmaking

Free Ink Day @ Highpoint Center for Printmaking, 912 W Lake St, Minneapolis, 55408

When: Saturday, July 25 • Noon-4pm
Cost: Free
Details: Have your kids try their hand at creating an original monoprint. Printmaking can be a lot of fun and is suitable for young children (w/ a lot of adult cooperation), but I have a couple tips to share before you go. Free Ink Day is hosted three times annually so be sure to watch their calendar of events if you can’t make it this month.

Best Days of the Bakken @ The Bakken Museum, 3537 Zenith Ave S, Minneapolis, 55416

When: July 21-25 • Daily 10-5pm (8pm Thursday)
Cost: Free
Details: Admission is FREE to The Bakken Museum, a fun space full of exhibits about electricity, during the run of the Minneapolis Aquatennial! This is a great deal for a family. Read about our take on the Bakken here.

bowl for a buck – st. paul student center

Fun at the University of Minnesota – St. Paul campus

Ice cream @ U of M Dairy Salesroom (1354 Eckles Ave, Andrew Boss Lab of Meat Science): A hidden little gem of an ice cream shop stocked with delicious products made onsite by students. Open Wednesdays only, 2-5pm. $3.50 per pint.

Bowling @ St. Paul Student Center (2017 Buford Ave): Bowl for a Buck (plus $2 shoe rental) every Wednesday until 5pm.

Raptor Center tours @ Gabbert Raptor Center (1920 Fitch Ave): Tuesday – Friday from 10:30am to 3:30pm, tours step off every half hour. Check out their renovated raptor exhibit, and, if possible, guides will present an age-appropriate tour for your kids. Read about our experience here.

gabbert raptor center

Family Farm Tour @ Dodge Nature Center, 365 Marie Ave W, West St Paul, 55118

When: Saturday, July 25
Cost: Adults/$3, kids/$1.50
Details: Meet the animals, tour the hayloft, and explore the grounds. It’s also possible (and free) to visit Dodge Nature Center on your own and take a self-guided tour (though the buildings are not accessible unless you’re on a guided tour). Read about our wanderings through Dodge here.

PicMonkey Collage dodge nature 2

dodge nature center

 

Camp Arbor @ The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes, 12459 Elm Creek Blvd N, Maple Grove, 55369

When: Tuesdays – July 7, 14, 21 • 10:30-11:15am
Cost: Free
Details: Camp Arbor is a fun and educational themed morning camp for children ages 3-10. All events will be held in Arbor Park and campers must be accompanied by an adult. No pre-registration necessary.

minnesota history center

9 Nights of Music & Free Tuesdays @ Minnesota History Center,  345 W Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, 55102

When: Tuesdays in July • 6:30-8:30pm
Cost: Free
Details: Free gallery admission from 5-9pm allows you to explore hands-on exhibits like “Then Now Wow”, “Grainland” and “Minnesota’s Greatest Generation” plus the Minnesota History Center hosts live music from 7-8:30pm. Get the music lineup here.


Top 10 Fireworks Displays in the Twin Cities and More 4th of July Fun

Over the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis

Celebrating Independence Day with Minneapolis’s Red, White and Boom over the Stone Arch Bridge.

Fireworks on the 4th of July are a tradition for our country.  You can stay at home and watch them on your TV (which we have done when our kids were super tiny) or you can find live fireworks near you.  Most of them start just after dusk–approximately 10:00 p.m.  More than likely, you will want to arrive before then to find a good spot to sit.

Here are our top 10 Fireworks Displays to enjoy this Saturday, plus some other fun to enjoy. Read More

Family Fun Twin Cities Guide to the Aquatennial 2015

Summer Fun

courtesy Aquatennial website

Starting on July 22, Minneapolis will be hosting its annual summer party. While this year the Aquatennial has been shortened to four days, you won’t miss the most popular and fun and FREE events including the Torchlight Parade and Target Fireworks.

These four days are packed with several free options to enjoy (minus parking fees when and where they apply).

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Flash Giveaway Monday — ‘Puppa-Na-Wuppana’

flash giveaway away

 

 

My kids want a puppy. Unfortunately for them, Daddy is allergic and would rather not deal with the repercussions of having a dog. So instead we have a loud, screechy parrot. I would love to have a dog, but then I read books like Puppa-na-Wuppana and think, I’m not ready to have a dog.

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Circus Juventas Summer Spectactular –‘1001 Nights’–Tickets On Sale on TODAY!

Don’t miss Circus Juventas’ Summer Spectacular!  If your family likes the story of Aladdin, you will want to snatch up these tickets that go really fast! Read More

Kids Cooking Classes with Wee Ones Wellness & Toylend USA

Confession: I’m super uninspired when it comes to cooking. Basically, I prepare the same 15 meals over and over in rotation for dinner, I swap out 5 different sandwiches when packing the kids’ lunches, and the young ones eat cereal for breakfast every. single. morning. There aren’t many complaints about food in our house, but there’s not a whole lot of creativity and introductions to new dishes either. This is partly why I jumped at the chance – really, responded within seconds – when Twin Cities Kids Club‘s lovely Lisa offered a chance to take a Wee Ones Wellness Healthy Hands Cooking Class with my preschooler. Even better, the class was to be held at Playlend, a space in Roseville that houses a members-only playroom. I had wanted to meet owner Elizabeth, who runs the playroom and rents out toys through her business, Toylend USA, for months. Here’s what was included in the event:

PicMonkey Collage wee ones wellness

  • An activity that helped teach the preschoolers about choosing healthy snacks.
  • The best part – getting to help make the healthy snacks! (Photos from left: Erin decorates her rice cake with pbj and fresh fruit; eyes the ingredients Heather is using to make chocolate almond-milk-and-banana smoothies; and munches her ham-and-cheese rollup.) We came away with some great ideas for noshing at home!
  • After the class, the attending kids got free run of Playlend for an hour.

PicMonkey Collage playlend

About the businesses involved

weeoneswellnessWee Ones Wellness – If you’re interested in taking one of these parent-child cooking classes to learn more about nutrition and skills in the kitchen, owner Heather Nardi is a certified Healthy Hands Cooking instructor and offers a wide variety of options on her personal site here. Her next class at Playlend will be on Tuesday, June 30 from 5-6pm. Cost is $25 per student and includes one hour of play after the class.

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Toylend USA is a local business that rents toys appropriate for children birth to 5 years (so it totally caters to parents who want to cut down on clutter!). Also offered is a Toylender Club for families to join and rent toys and baby gear they’ve already invested in, but do not currently use, to other families.

twincitieskidsclublogolargeTwin Cities Kids Club is a membership program for families offering discounts throughout the metro area on indoor play places, live theater, restaurants, and more. Memberships are available for only $7.99 a month per family for the life of the membership via this special link on Family Fun Twin Cities.


Free Family Weekend Events List for June 27 – 28, 2015

No matter how long we’ve been residents of the Twin Cities it seems there’s always some hidden fun out there we haven’t discovered yet. Our family, for instance, hadn’t made the trip out to Carver Park Reserve in Victoria until last year when we decided to make an afternoon of it at the historic Grimm Farm Open House and the Lowry Nature Center. That’s just one of the ideas we’ve got on this weekend’s free family events list – as always, check our extensive Family Fun Calendar for more. Happy exploring!

SATURDAY, JUNE 27

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historic grimm farm

Grimm Farmhouse Open House
@ Grimm Farm Historic Site, Carver Park Reserve
7025 Victoria Dr, Victoria, 55386

Time: 1-4pm
Details: Step back in time for a few hours at the historic home of Wendelin Grimm and his family. My kids have done this event and enjoyed the old-fashioned porch and lawn games, and the peek into daily life inside the farmhouse. Leave time to explore the Lowry Nature Center (also located within Carver Park Reserve) and its nature playground.

Saturday Puppet Shows for Kids w/ In the Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theatre
@ Calhoun Square
3001 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, 55408

Time: Shows at 10am & 11:30am
Details: Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre is bringing Saturday shows to Calhoun Square every Saturday in June & July. This Saturday’s show is based on There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly and the first 45 kids between shows will get to participate in a make-and-take activity.

Minneapolis Movies in the Parks: We Bought a Zoo
@ Kenwood Park
2101 Franklin Ave W, Minneapolis, 55405

Time: Starts at 8:30pm
Details: Not limited to Saturday nights (we chose this one because it’s rated PG), Minneapolis Movies in the Parks run every night except Sundays through August 29th. You can find the complete list of parks and the featured movies for 2015 here.

Friends-and-Family-day-thumbnail[1]Friends and Family Day at Gilda’s Club
@ Gilda’s Club Twin Cities
10560 Wayzata Blvd, Minnetonka, 55305

Time: 10am-2pm
Details: Celebrate what would have been Gilda Radner’s 69th birthday at her namesake club, an organization dedicated to supporting those impacted by cancer. Activities include family yoga, comedy theater, cupcake decorating, kids crafts, games and more.

SUNDAY, JUNE 28

Fun with the Science of Bubbles
@ Wood Lake Nature Center
6710 Lakeshore Dr, Richfield, 55423

Time: 1-4pm
Ages: Ideal for kids ages 4-10 but all ages are welcome
Details: Join kiddywampus for an afternoon of exploring the science of bubbles. Discover how animals use bubbles and explore Wood Lake Nature Center in search of them.


James and the Giant Peach Opens Today at Open Window Theatre

  • Photos provided by Emma DonleyPhotos provided by Emma Donley
  • Photos provided by Emma DonleyPhotos provided by Emma Donley
  • Photos provided by Emma DonleyPhotos provided by Emma Donley
  • Photos provided by Emma DonleyPhotos provided by Emma Donley
  • Photos provided by Emma DonleyPhotos provided by Emma Donley
  • Photos provided by Emma DonleyPhotos provided by Emma Donley
  • Photos provided by Emma DonleyPhotos provided by Emma Donley

James and the Giant Peach is opening today and running until Sunday, June 28. Read More

10 Twin Cities Beaches & Playgrounds to Try This Summer

splash-clipart-splash_light_blue[1]Tired of heading out to the same old swimming spot? We’ve combed the Metro in search of new places to try with our own families and came up with ten we think are worth checking out for their beaches, playground, and other recreational opps nearby:

Lake Johanna Beach in Tony Schmidt Regional Park
3500 Lake Johanna Blvd, Arden Hills, 55112

Open: Daily during regular park hours – half-hour before sunrise to half-hour before sunset
Cost: Free
Highlights: We love this beach for its clean, soft sand and playground so close to the shoreline that I have no problem letting my older children play while I keep an eye on the younger ones in the water. That is, if you can grab a spot of sand near the equipment; this is a pretty popular beach with families. There is space to picnic nearby in the large pavilion. Read More

Father’s Day Event — A Success!

Thank you all for coming out to see us at the Minnesota Transportation Museum this past Saturday for our Father’s Day Event.

It was great to meet you, hang out and have an all around good time.

Thanks for your patience before we took the bus tour while I was scrambling to get our food on board.  And thanks for your help with carrying things to the picnic tables!  Family Fun Twin Citians are some of my very favorite people in the whole world!

Enjoy these snapshots of the day.  They were taken by a Nokia 41 Mega Pixel PureView powered by AT&T.  While I am an iPhone girl all the way (and was super annoyed with this Windows Phone for most of the day), the pictures are pretty amazing!

  • PIcking up card making supplies at ArtStartPIcking up card making supplies at ArtStart
  • RedCurrentGetting Snacks Ready, provided by RedCurrent
  • Family Fun Twin CItiesCelebrating Families at the Minnesota Transportation Museum
  • Hanging Out with some of our favorite RedCurrent PeopleHanging Out with some of our favorite RedCurrent People
  • Family Fun Twin CitiesWhimsy Factory was so FUN to have as a sponsor. Thanks for coming
  • Stephanie Watson, reading her newest book, Behold! A Baby!Stephanie Watson, reading her newest book, Behold! A Baby!
  • Family Fun Twin CitiesThe three moms behind FFTC
  • Minnesota Transportation MuseumThe VIP Bus Tour
  • Family Fun TWin CItesExploring the Union Depot with Tired Kids
  • MInnesota Transportation MuseumEnjoying the Union Depot
  • Family Fun TWin CItiesUnion Depot Picnic by the East Entrance
  • Family Fun Twin CitiesFor 43 years, Union Depot was home to pigeons and maybe some mice.
  • Family Fun Twin CitiesUnion Depot Highlights include searching for a single butterfly on the ceiling.
  • Minnesota Transportation MuseumVIP Bus Tour at Union Depot
  • A Guide to the Twin Cities Fairs and FestivalsA Guide to the Twin Cities Fairs and Festivals
  • Music SponsorsMusic Sponsors

Thanks so much to our sponsors
RedCurrent
The Whimsy Factory
Stephanie Watson
ArtStart
Choo Choo Bob

and of course our host the Minnesota Transportation Museum.

Watch for our music video in the near future!  Also, if you have photos to share, tag them with #fftcdads or #fftctrains on Instagram or Twitter!

Copyright Family Fun Twin Cities LLC © 2014.