We chose not to replace our central air this year. Mostly we have been fine with that decision. We’ve acclimated. Our property is shady and breezy. Everyone used to do it. Still this week has been more of a challenge. Even our basement is hot and muggy. This makes for a very crabby family. Here are 10 free family activities that are air conditioned:
Admission to Walker Art Center is temporarily free every day. This is so awesome. I love the Walker. I love Free First Saturdays. I don’t always love crowds. (Although, I’m expecting all these places to be crowded this weekend. Everyone will want to get out of the heat.) I really suggest taking a few moments to stop at the front desk and check out a WAC pack. There are things to touch and feel and things to hunt for. It makes for a much easier trip with little ones who can’t run and touch.
The MIA is free every day. Plus, they have Wi-Fi and a Family Center full of the coolest blocks I have ever played with. If you need to nurse, you can get a key at the front desk for a private room with a rocking chair. I’ve appreciated that in the past. For your 3 to 10 year old children, you can do this scavenger hunt. You can print it out here, or pick up a copy at the information desk. For a small fee, you could also rent a family friendly audio tour.
The Bell Natural History Museum is always free on Sundays. It is also free through labor day for active duty military members and their families. Besides the really cool permanent displays, there is the Touch and See Discovery Room where your family can see and touch both living and formerly living animals and traveling exhibits. Right now you can learn more about Birds & DNA.
Public Tours of the Landmark Center are on Sundays at 12:00 p.m. No reservations required.
Play Area at the Mall
I think anyone with kids knows this trick. Go to the mall. Find a nice place to sit and watch your kids play. When its time to go, we propose a quick trip to the book store and then suggest ice cream to get out of the mall. I can hear my husband groaning at the thought, but he’s the one that will take off to the T-Mobile and Apple stores while I sit there. 🙂 If you don’t already have your favorite mall. The University of Minnesota’s Student Parent HELP Center has made a list. Our favorite mall play area is Rosedale Mall’s Northwoods Play Area. It is very laid back.
Admission is always free at the Weisman. On Saturdays and Sundays, they are open from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Public tours start at 1:oo p.m.
The following Minneapolis Parks Recreation Centers are air conditioned. You can find out more about their locations, offerings and hours by clicking the links.
- Bottineau Recreation Center
- East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center
- Elliot Recreation Center
- Farview Recreation Center
- Folwell Recreation Center
- Kenwood Community Center
- Lake Hiawatha Recreation Center
- Linden Hills Recreation Center
- Longfellow House
- Longfellow Recreation Center
- Loring Park Community Arts Cente
- Luxton Recreation Center
- Lynnhurst Recreation Center
- Matthews Recreation Center
- North Commons Recreation Center
- Pershing Recreation Center
- Phillips Community Center
- Powderhorn Recreation Center
- Webber Community Center
- Windom Northeast Recreation Center
- Windom South Community Center
We could spend hours at the library — curl up on a couch and read quietly together; play with puzzles; have some computer time or participate in story hour. On a hot day, I think it might be fun to read about cold things.
Scholastic has a list of books with snow and winter themes that you could look for.
If you prefer a back-to-school theme, they have a list for that, too.
You have to do it anyways. I’m probably in the minority, but I love to shop as a family. I love reading the labels when my kids ask for things and explaining the ingredients and why I will or will not buy that thing they think they want. I get really happy when my kids beg for fruit and yogurt like its candy. I just enjoy spending my weekend with my husband and kids — even if it is the mundane chores of life.
I often have my grade schooler write the grocery list while I inventory the kitchen. Then she also has to read it at the store (because no one else can read her writing). If you have smaller kids, I found this printable Toddler Grocery List at Toddler Toddler.
The Theatre at the Mall of America offer free family-appropriate movies every Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. We have done this, and I was pleasantly surprised. It was full, but not over-crowded. The staff was polite and helpful and really seemed to enjoy their jobs. That is saying quite a lot on a Saturday morning with a bunch of parents and kids who are there to get something free. This week’s movie is Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs.