10 Ideas for Free or Cheap Family Fun in August

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Don’t look at these 10 ideas as an end-of-summer bucket list — because personally, I’m not ready to look fall in the face — but take these suggestions as a reminder that there is plenty of the season left to enjoy! Here’s what August has in store for the Twin Cities:

tm dye garden

textile center

Dye Garden Family Art Day @ Textile Center, 3000 University Avenue SE #100, Minneapolis, 55414

When: Saturday, Aug. 1 • 10am-1pm
Cost: Free
Details: The whole family is welcome to come play in the Textile Center’s natural plant dye garden, create a macrame plant hanger and bring a miniature garden home. Refreshments will be provided.

NNO15_logo[1]National Night Out Twin Cities

When: Tuesday, Aug. 4 • times vary
Details: Community gatherings across the Twin Cities encourage you to get out, spend the evening with your neighbors and promote safe neighborhoods. Minneapolis has an extensive list of registered block parties (complete with proposed activities) here, organized by neighborhoods. St. Paul’s list can be found here. Even if you don’t plan to leave your own ‘hood for the evening, ideas for your own bash abound on these lists.

Beach Party @ Bryant Lake Regional Park, 6800 Rowland Rd, Eden Prairie, 55344

When: Wednesday, Aug. 5 • 12-3pm
Cost: $5/pp
Details: Ride a waterslide, try an obstacle course, make a craft, and play games. Meet pond critters, birds of prey, and reptiles. Build a sand castle and win a cool treat.

Groovin Web Promo[1]FINAL Groovin’ in the Garden @ Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, 1225 Estabrook Dr, St. Paul, 55103

When: Wednesday, Aug. 5 • 6-8pm
Cost: Free
Details: Catch the final Groovin’ in the Garden performance (local band “i like you.”) and, depending on the ages of your kids, they might let you sit and enjoy while being entertained by the free Park & Rec equipment: a jump castle, giant climbing wall, and lawn games. If not, at least you can hear the music while the kids exhaust themselves. Bring a blanket and picnic or purchase food onsite.

Pet Expo @ Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts, 6666 East River Rd, Fridley, 55432

When: Saturday, Aug. 8 • 1-4pm
Cost: Free
Details: Bring along your pet and spend the afternoon on an animal scavenger hunt in the galleries, mugging in the photo booth, browsing vendors, and creating a pet rock to take home. Currently on exhibition in the historic Banfill-Locke house is Pets On View.


banfill-locke center for the arts


Dakota County Fair & Heritage Village @ Dakota County Fairgrounds, 4008 220th St W, Farmington, 55024

When: Aug. 10-16, 2015
Cost: $5/adults, $2/kids 6-12, $2/seniors, 5 & under free; $5/daily parking
Details: Heritage Village comes to life as it was a century ago during the run of the Dakota County Fair. Costumed characters interpret rural life as you visit the village buildings and take in demonstrations. Admission to Heritage Village is included in your ticket to the Fair, which also hosts many free activities, exhibits, and live entertainment.

tm exploratots (2)

exploratots @ crosby farm regional park

ExploraTots @ Crosby Farm Regional Park2595 Crosby Farm Road, St. Paul, 55116

When: Wednesday, Aug. 12 • 10-11:30am
Cost: Free
Details: Connect to the natural world with your preschooler (designed for ages 2-5) through hikes, stories, and hands-on activities. Older children are welcome to attend; no pre-registration required. Enter the park at the Gannon Road entrance and meet at the picnic pavilion. The ExploraTots program meets on the second Wednesday of each month. For more free and low-cost environmental education programs in St. Paul, click here.

10 Ideas for Free Family Fun at the Great Minnesota Get-Together

The Minnesota State Fair does not exactly scream “free” or “cheap”, you say? It’s true that costs can quickly add up between admission, treats and carnival rides, but for many families (mine included) a trip or few to the Fair is a summer must-do. We’ve included this list of 10 free attractions included in Fair admission to give you an idea of all the budget-friendly fun that is to be had. (Note: this is 2014’s list, but all attractions are scheduled to return for 2015.)

10 More Ideas for FREE Family Fun at the State Fair

The Fair has so much free fun to offer we felt it warranted a second mention on our August list!

10 MORE Twin Cities Beaches, Playgrounds & Attractions to Try This Summer

Don’t mourn the end of summer just yet, there’s still time and sun enough to hit the local beaches. Following up on our original list of 10 Twin Cities Beaches & Playgrounds to Try This Summer we present 10 MORE Twin Cities Beaches, Playgrounds & Attractions to Try This Summer.


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About the author

Anne Kingston

If we left it up to Anne to write her own bio, it would never get posted. She doesn't enjoy talking about herself, but Anne does love exploring the Twin Cities with her family and sharing her finds here. She, her husband and their four kids are lifelong residents of St. Paul.

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