This week my daughter and I had the opportunity to preview Wolf Tales, which will be one of the Minnesota Fringe Festival shows this year. When I asked my kids who wanted to be my date for a ballet review. My daughter yelled “Me!” and my boys yelled “Not Me!” That was easy. Except, it turned out that this would have been a really fun show for little boys as well as a tween girl. Read More
I’m a bit on the fence with the Pokémon Go app. On the one side, it sounded instantly appealing to me to take my family out to search for Pokémon. I picture a day of happy bonding while we explore the Twin Cities. On the other side, I am anti-app (an app-atheist? app-athetic?). I would probably need the expert tech help of my 11-year-old. At any rate, I’m still on the fence. I might make this exception or get my husband, who is an app-addict, to download it to his phone.
In the meantime, when asked to explain Pokémon Go, I told a friend, “It’s like geocaching for imaginary creatures.” I know its a bit more. You can train them, and battle them, and act out your cartoon fantasies; but the part that I like is the searching part. This is why, while I’m sitting on the fence, I can start to encourage some other treasure hunts I’ve been wanting to try.
This past week, I had the privilege of chatting with our beloved local Ann Michels. Not sure who I’m talking about? That’s okay. We are busy parents and are lucky to be able to watch a show without falling asleep halfway through it.
Ann Michels is a talented local actress who has performed in many different roles around the Twin Cities including The Guthrie Theatre, Children’s Theatre Company, Theater Latte Da and many others. Read More
My middle grader and I attended opening night of Pinocchio on Friday.
This play was developed here at Children’s Theatre in 2013, has traveled around a bit and now come home to CTC. This was my first time seeing this version of Pinocchio.
Would I recommend this play. Well, yeah, I always recommend CTC shows, but as always, it depends on your child.
Photo Credit: Dean Holt as the Blue Fairy. Image by Dan Norman – courtesy Children’s Theatre Company
Three summers ago, Joy — sweating it out in an un-air-conditioned house — wrote our original article about seeking relief from the heat in a series of much cooler public buildings, most of which offered free family activities to boot. Following a quick check of this week’s weather forecast, I thought it might be time to revive the suggestions for others out there needing to cool off the kids on a budget. Here you have it, freshly updated for 2017: Read More
It’s an exciting day in the life of a family activities blogger when you discover a little gem of a place to visit you’d never thought to go before. Thanks to my FFTC teammate Joy, who slaves away on our Family Fun Calendar, I noticed Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts was hosting a free Family Art Sunday this past weekend.
Even better than discovering a new spot to bring the family is watching all four of my kids find something to like about it, not always an easy feat when they range in ages from 3-10. But they all agreed they liked special guest Open Eye Figure Theatre (a puppet company traveling around town this summer with a “driveway tour” of their show The Adventures of Juan Bobo among others). My kids also dove into the special scavenger hunt, seeking out animals in the beautiful papercutting exhibit currently on display, and made their own paper finger puppets in the craft room. Oh, and snacks. My kids will visit just about any place if snacks are provided.
The gallery, housed in the historic Banfill-Locke House, strives to be a community arts center and offers year-round classes and occasional events for families to attend free of charge. Their next program will be a Pet Expo from 1-4 pm on Saturday, August 8.
Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts
6666 East River Road
Fridley, MN 55432
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-4pm
Admission: Always free to visit the galleries and surrounding park.
The observation decks of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Lock and Dam No. 1 on the Mississippi River near Minnehaha Park are open daily for curious onlookers to watch craft come and go through the slender water passageways. But either the stars must align when planning your outing — or you’ve got the inside scoop that the best day to visit is the Saturday of Highland Fest in St. Paul — in order to get your kids up into the lock’s control tower. Even better, get their little hands on the actual equipment that powers the system, allowing leisure craft to skirt the falls at the dam. The Lockmaster made sure each of my kids from the preschooler to the tween had a turn at the helm.
Families can still get a great view of the boats passing through the lock on their way to St. Anthony Falls from the observation platforms around the visitor promenade. There are artifacts plunked down on the path to the center, and exhibits on the walls to learn more about the history of shipping on the Upper Mississippi.
Operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers, the annual open house at Lock and Dam No. 1 also included exhibits on water safety and a homemade model lock. Mark your calendars now if you want to get your hands on it next year.
Lock and Dam No. 1
5000 West River Parkway
Minneapolis, MN 55417
The observation deck is open Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Saturday – Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of series. It turns somebody into having a reading habit, going back to the same characters.”
-Erin Soderberg Downing
Erin Soderberg Downing is a fun mom! You will hear about how she is a mother to three. Sometimes four and sometimes five. And how that alone was the inspiration for her popular book series, The Quirks and Puppy Pirates.
We have affiliate links to the books mentioned in the show notes below.
The 2016 Eat Local Farm Tour is free family fun that can be done at your own pace. Visit one, visit all or just pick a few in one area. There is no need to RSVP or sign up.