How I Discovered Dash had Strep
The Weekend Wish List for April 18 – 19, 2014: Egg Hunts and More!
Kids At The Castle
Free Open House at Circus Juventas Tomorrow
The Free List for the Weekend of April 11 – 13, 2014
Get to Know the Old Man of Balloonacy
The Weekend Wish List for April 11 – 13, 2014
MIA News! New Family-Friendly Cafe and an Updated Family Center!
Raindrops and Rabbits Puppet Show
Family Fun Twin Cities Birthday Specials

How I Discovered Dash had Strep


Being that each of us has four (or almost four) kids, we have lots of stories to share.  Our reviews of different activities around town tend to be a bit humorous, we don’t often share our everyday adventures on Family Fun Twin Cities. But it’s super fun to do it when we can.

So here’s another doctor-type story for you.  Why are all my good stories about the doctor?

My best friend called me, “I can’t get ahold of Albert!  And Eowin work up with croup and I have an appointment and I want Albert to meet us there, but I called his phone, I texted him, I called his desk at work, I called his secretary at work and she transferred me, but I got the message that he is busy.”

Before she could go any further, I said, “Darcy, stop everything.  I will meet you there.  I just gotta get some supper in the oven.  I will be there as soon as I can.”

We got off the phone, and I went into crazy mode: boiling noodles, ordering my children to go to the bathroom and put their shoes on, insisting that my oldest bring along her homework, and picking my other daughter up from the neighbors. When I picked Tori up, I told her that we were going to help Darcy.  ”What are we gonna do with her kids?’ (I don’t know why she needed to know this.  Darcy’s kids happen to be my kids’ best friends)


“Oh, okay,” and she got in the car.

We booked it to the clinic, all the while, Jack (my four year old) wailing that he wanted to watch Frozen.

“We are going to, Buddy.  We just gotta get there!”

We pulled into the parking lot as she was unloading her children.

I think I forgot to mention something crucial.  She has 5 kids.  Her oldest is almost 10 and her youngest is 2 months old.

After we pulled up, I hopped out of our van, leaving my car door open and said, “My kids are dying to watch Frozen.  Can we do it in your car?”  It was after she laughed and agreed that we could that I ran back to my car to turn it off and get my kids out.

Darcy was taken her youngest two with her into the clinic, so that left me with my four–ages 4,5, 7, and newly turned 9–and her oldest three–ages 4, 7, and 9.  This was just crazy!

Are you wondering how you fit seven children and a grown woman in a van to watch a movie?

First, let me say, it can be done.  However, you must know that YOU are not going to see the movie unless there is a screen in the dashboard.

Second, you stick the nine  year olds in the trunk space and the seven year olds in the last row.

Then, you take the four year olds and squash them between the seven year olds.

And the remaining five year old you keep in front with you and tell him to play a game on your iPhone.

You listen to some whining and wailing and wait for one of the seven year olds to move to the front seat and find a good spot on the infant carrier’s base.

And then you ask someone to hit the play button because you aren’t sure where it is.


It was when the previews were done that Albert drove into the parking lot and everyone groaned, “Already?”  I hopped out and told him we were fine.  He left us to see what was happening with Eowin and Darcy and Helga (the baby).

I then sat in the front seat of their  van listening to Frozen and picturing each scene in my mind for half the movie.

After 45 minutes, I saw Darcy and Albert come out of the clinic all smiles holding Eowin and baby Helga as if they only had 2 children.  I tried not to be antsy as they made their way to us, but it was difficult to keep still hearing, “Let it go, let it go, I am one with the wind and snow….”

Because the whole time I was singing in my head, “Wanna go, wanna go. I wanna be done with this show!”


Even though the movie was far from being finished, I took it out and loaded my children into our van.  That’s when Dash yelled out, “My throat hurts!”  He had thrown up in the middle of the night two nights in a row.  And suddenly it all came together.

I jumped out of the van and asked Darcy, “Do you think they have after hours care?  I think Dash has strep.”

She looked at me and said, “I’ll watch your kids if you want to go check.”

I loaded my kids back in her van and ran Dash into the clinic, only to learn that the doctor had just left!  BUMMER!

I went back to the van, unloaded my kids, reloaded them into our van, and finally drove away to a minute clinic close to our house.  We made it before they closed, an dhe tested positive for strep.

(names have been changed to protect the innocent and guilty)


Gianna Kordatzky is a co-founder of Family Fun Twin Cities

The Weekend Wish List for April 18 – 19, 2014: Egg Hunts and More!


Our Wish List this weekend features a round-up of Egg-centric activities taking place across the Metro. Note that due to the Easter holiday, all activities listed are taking place Friday (perfect for that day off of school?) and Saturday. All events here have a small fee attached; look for our list of free options to come later this week. For more inspiration, be sure to check our Family Fun Calendar!

Egg Trail & Rabbit Habits
Richardson Nature Center @ Hyland Lake Park Reserve
8737 E Bush Lake Rd.,
Bloomington, MN 55438
Friday, April 18 & Saturday, April 19, 9:30am – 12:30pm
Cost: $5/person, reservations required (763-694-7676)

Hike through the woods around the nature center in search of colorful wooden eggs. Learn about and see live animals that come from eggs, make a craft and enjoy a snack.

Eastman Nature Center @ Elm Creek Park Reserve
13351 Elm Creek Rd.,
Osseo, MN 55369
Friday, April 18, 10am – 2pm
Cost: $5/person in advance, $6/at door
Reservations preferred (763-559-6700)

Drop in anytime for games, live bunnies and treats. Bring your own hard-boiled eggs to try out natural dyes and then search for more on the grounds of the nature center.

Spring Eggstravaganza: Rock Hunt
Lowry Nature Center @ Carver Park Reserve
7025 Victoria Dr., Victoria, MN 55386
Friday, April 18 & Saturday, April 19, 10am – 3pm
Cost: $5/person in advance, $6/at door (763-559-6700)

Bring your own basket to hunt for colorful rocks (2-8 yrs.) or hidden secret messages (8 yrs.+). The rocks and decoded messages can be traded for a bag of treats! Other activities include face painting, crafts, and live animals.

Rabbits & Raindrops Puppet Show
Maplewood Nature Center
2659 E 7th St., Maplewood, MN 55119
Friday, April 18, 10:30am – 11:30am
Cost: $2/child, register at 651-249-2170

Enjoy this springtime puppet show based on Jim Arnosky’s book Rabbits & Raindrops.

Egg Drop
North Mississippi Regional Park

4900 Mississippi Court, Minneapolis, MN 55430
Saturday, April 19, 10am – 12pm
Cost: $5/person, reservations required (763-559-6700)

Using natural materials, create a protective cover for your egg and see how far you can drop it (without breaking it!) All materials provided.

James J. Hill House Easter Egg Hunt
240 Summit Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102
Saturday, April 19, 10am – 11am
Cost: $6/person, $4/MHS member
Reservations strongly recommended (651-297-2555)

Kids ages 2-7 search in designated zones around the Hill House lawn for trinket-filled Easter eggs. Inside the mansion are stories, treats, and history to explore.

About the Author: Anne Kingston is a co-founder of Family Fun Twin Cities.

Kids At The Castle


ASI in the winter

American Swedish Institute
 2600 Park Avenue Minneapolis MN 55407
Hours:  Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday 12:00-5:00pm
                 Wednesday 12:00-8:00 pm
                 Saturday 10:00 am-5:00 pm
                 Monday, Most holidays Closed

Admission:  $9 / adults, $7 / ages 62 and above, $5 / ages 6-18 and full-time students with ID
                          Free/ ASI members and kids ages 5 and under

Did you know we have a castle here in the Twin Cities?  I told my boys that it was built for the King and Queen of Sweden because it is now the American Swedish Institute. They believe that the royalty comes here to stay when they visit the United States.  I didn’t take any time to correct that erroneous information because after checking out the outside of the castle, we headed inside and blasted through the castle running around together in search of springtime.

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Gianna Kordatzky is a co-founder of Family Fun Twin Cities

Free Open House at Circus Juventas Tomorrow



The Free List for the Weekend of April 11 – 13, 2014


Welcome to the weekend! Need a few suggestions on finding family fun with your bunch? Here are some of our picks for FREE activities happening in the Twin Cities over the next few days. As always, be sure to check our Family Fun Calendar for a complete listing of events for this weekend and beyond.

Family Fridays at Midtown Global Market
920 E. Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55407

Friday, April 11, 2014
5 – 8pm; FREE!

Every Friday is Family Night at Midtown Global Market! The live music and activities are geared for all ages and can be enjoyed along with dinner from one of the many ethnic vendors that populate the indoor market. Park free for up to three hours with a validated purchase.

Peadpods Spring Festival
2290 Como Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108
Saturday, April 12, 2014
12 – 4pm; FREE!

Peapods — the natural toy and baby care shop in St. Paul’s St. Anthony Park neighborhod — is hosting their first Spring Festival this Saturday. Expect crafts, treats, great prizes and baby chicks! Gianna has more details here.

Free Second Saturday: Nano Science!
The Bakken Museum
3537 Zenith Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN 55416
Saturday, April 12, 2014
11am – 4pm; FREE!

EVERY second Saturday of the month is free at this unique museum dedicated to electricity and magnetism. April’s theme celebrates Nano Science — the science of the small — with loads of activities. Get the entire list here.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts – Family Day: April Showers
2400 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55404

Sunday, April 13, 2014
11am – 5pm; FREE!

As usual, Family Day at the MIA will be packed with art activities that appeal to all ages plus a special preschool tour that explores emotions in art. Joy tells us about recent family-friendly updates to the museum here.

Urban Expeditions: Senegal
Landmark Center
75 W. 5th St., St. Paul, MN 55102
Sunday, April 13, 2014
1 – 3pm; FREE!

Travel to Senegal for an hour or two through Landmark Center‘s popular Urban Expeditions program, now in its tenth year. I couldn’t find any teasers online about this installment, but you can probably expect some authentic cultural performances, crafts and probably food. Parking is free in downtown St. Paul on Sundays.

About the Author: Anne Kingston is a co-founder of Family Fun Twin Cities.

Get to Know the Old Man of Balloonacy


IMG_0665I had the privilege of being invited to the Children’s Theatre Company to enjoy Balloonacy with my preschool boys.  I knew I would like it.  However, since not a single word was spoken,  I was convinced that it would be slightly boring.

I don’t know why I’m so skeptical.  I really should know better,  but once again, I was completely taken aback at how much I loved it.

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Gianna Kordatzky is a co-founder of Family Fun Twin Cities

The Weekend Wish List for April 11 – 13, 2014


I was bowled over when I took a look at our Family Fun Calendar for this upcoming weekend! The list below is just a sampling of some of the family activities offered that caught my eye. There are also numerous springtime events going on at local parks and nature centers as well as more theater and concert options. All activities listed here have a fee attached; look for our Free List of weekend events later this week.

Leos Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen (The Adventures of Vixen Sharp Ears)
Ted Mann Concert Hall (University of Minnesota Opera Theatre)
2128 Fourth Street S., Minneapolis, MN 55455
Showtimes: Friday, April 11 at 7:30pm; Saturday, April 12 at 7:30pm; Sunday, April 13 at 1:30pm
Tickets: $20/adults, $5/students & children. Buy tickets online, by box office (612-624-2345) or at the Rarig Ticket Center Office.

Inspired by cartoons the composer had seen in the newspaper, this all-ages opera combines music and dance with themes of “nature, the life cycle, and the spiritual side of life”. A discussion of the opera will begin in the lobby 45 minutes prior to the show.

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs
Stages Theatre Company
1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins, MN 55343
Showtimes: Friday, April 11 at 7:00pm; Saturday, April 12 at 1:00 & 7:00pm; Sunday, April 13 at 2:00 & 4:30pm
Tickets: $15/all seats

Catch the opening weekend of this new show at Stages! The Big Bad Wolf is set to stand trial for his supposed role in that whole mess with the Three Little Pigs. You, the audience, gets to decide his fate. Based on the book of the same name but set to music, it’s sure to be good for some laughs.

Saturday Mornings on the Farm
Gale Woods Farm
7210 County Road 110 W., Minnetrista, MN 55364

Hours: Saturday, April 12, 9:30am – 12pm
Admission: $5 per participant, 20% discount for groups of 4 or more.

Spend Saturday mornings through August assisting a farmer with chores and other seasonal activities on this real, working farm. Springtime at Gale Woods means the arrival of the Farm Babies! Gianna has more details on meeting the animals and other events at Gale Woods Farm here.

Robot Day at The Works Museum
9740 Grand Avenue, Bloomington, MN 55420
Hours: Saturday, April 12, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $8/all ages

In honor of National Robotics Week, The Works is hosting their annual Robot Day this Saturday! The usual $8 admission fee will cover all of this hands-on museum’s fun exhibits plus special robotics demos from FIRST Robotics and FIRST LEGO League among others. A great opportunity for kids interesting in joining one of the FIRST programs.

Squish of Spring – Weekend Family Fun
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska MN 55318
Hours: Saturdays & Sundays in April, 12:00 – 4pm

Admission: $12/person ages 13+, under 13 are free

Get ready to play in the mud weekends at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. April’s family program Squish of Spring gets hands-on with soil and includes a take-home planting experiment.

About the Author: Anne Kingston is a co-founder of Family Fun Twin Cities.

MIA News! New Family-Friendly Cafe and an Updated Family Center!


This weekend is a Family Day weekend at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.  If you plan to go, you can check out their new kid-friendly Cafe – Half Pint.  It features fast service and family-friendly healhty food and treats, plus it features more space for families.

Also note: The Family Center is being or soon will be updated.  On weekends during this time, The Wells Fargo Community Room will still be open for families and will offer the same kid-friendly envirnoment we love.


Raindrops and Rabbits Puppet Show



You may not even know it, but the city of Maplewood has its own nature center.  Once a month they host puppet shows–which include a hands-on activity– for the young ones in your family.  This month they are performing Rabbits and Raindrops.  I love this book.  It’s so heart-warming to watch the curious bunnies explore the spring and to see what happens especially when the rain shower passing through.

Please call the number below to register.


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Gianna Kordatzky is a co-founder of Family Fun Twin Cities

Family Fun Twin Cities Birthday Specials


April is our birthday month, and we are celebrating in all kinds of ways.

Some of our favorite local businesses are offering our Family Fun Twin Cities readers a discount in their store to help us celebrate.  These offers are good only for a limited time, so print out the coupons and take advantage our our birthday.gifts to you!

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Gianna Kordatzky is a co-founder of Family Fun Twin Cities

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