Category - Free

Splash Happy: Twin Cities Guide to Beaches, Pools and Water Parks
BookHounds Invites Stephanie Watson
Twin Cities June Family Festival Calendar
Family Fun Idea — Flint Hills International Children’s Festival
Twin Cities May Family Events & Activities Guide
Free Twin Cities Events & Activities in May
Twin Cities Mother’s Day Events
Opening in May – Twin Cities Area
10 Things for Kids: Richardson Nature Center & Hyland Lake Park
BookHounds Episode 2, ‘Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs’

Splash Happy: Twin Cities Guide to Beaches, Pools and Water Parks


As the line between late spring and early summer starts to melt away in the rising temps, it’s time to update our master list of Twin Cities beaches, outdoor swimming pools, water parks and splash pads. Several are anticipating an opening Memorial Day Weekend with dozens more following suit in early June. Find your new splash happy spot from our following suggestions:

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BookHounds Invites Stephanie Watson

Stephanie Watson is a native Minnesotan who grew up immersing herself in stories:  reading, watching TV, acting in Children’s Theatre Company shows and spending lots of time at the library.  She is a local author who teaches writing classes and does picture book critique work as well.

Most importantly, she is happy to be a soul parent.  (Trust me, it’s most definitely soul and not sole–her heart and humor is two sizes too big)

She and her 5 year old daughter (who shares my birthday!) live in Minneapolis.

We are pumped to have Stephanie on BookHounds this month as she is a dynamic mama with a really cool job.  She talks about what it’s like to be an author and how they foster reading in their home.

For more information, see the Show Notes below.

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Twin Cities June Family Festival Calendar

Family Festival Calendar - Get Your Fill of Twin Cities Festivals in June


Get your fill of festivals throughout the month of June with this handy list of local celebrations around the Twin Cites. Family-friendly highlights are listed for each:

6/2-10: I Love Burnsville WeekFamily highlights: New sculpture/water feature unveiling in Nicollet Commons Park (6/2, 5:30-9pm) with live music & free apps, Thursday Rockin’ Lunch Hour & Rockin’ Readers for kids kicks off 6/9, and Friday Fest is held 6/10, 6:30-10pm, a free movie at dusk.

6/3-5: Edina Art Fair @ 50th & France • Family highlights: Live music and a Kids Zone filled with art activities, inflatables and a shady place to rest.

6/4: Waterfest @ Phalen Regional Park, St. Paul • 11am-4pm • Family highlights: Celebrate clean lakes and outdoor rec with family canoeing, fishing lessons, crafts, games, interactive exhibits and more.

6/4: Springtime & Rhubarb Festival @ Le Duc Historic Estate, 1629 Vermillion St, Hastings • Family highlights: Tour the historic house, grub on some rhubarb, visit the chicken coop and more.

6/4-5: Flint Hills International Children’s Festival, Downtown St. Paul • Family highlights: The whole shebang, from outdoor artist performances to the exhibit and activities tent, is great for kids. Get tips for bringing the whole family at the link.

6/4-5: Grand Old Days, Grand Ave, St. Paul • Family highlights: Plenty of kids activities in the Family Fun District (for a fee), but no charge to enjoy the live music and parade.

6/5: Rhubarb Fest @ New Brighton History Center Museum, 700 Park Dr, New Brighton • 1-4pm

6/9-12: Spring Lake Park Tower Days, Spring Lake Park • Family highlights: Festival at Lakeside Lions Park (6/12, 10am-dusk) features interactive lumberjack shows, a visit from the Ghostbusters of MN, and other kids activities.

6/9-12: Hugo Good Neighbor Days, Hugo • Family highlights: Parade and fireworks (6/11).

6/10-12: Wannigan Days, Taylors Falls/St. Croix Falls • Family highlights: Kids parade through Taylors Falls (6/10, 6pm)

6/11: Lakefest 2016 @ Trapp Farm Park, 841 Wilderness Run Rd, Eagan • 10am-2pm • Family highlights: nature art projects, kids science experiments, no fishing license required to fish; equipment provided.

Twin Cities Summer Festivals, 2016

6/11-12: Art on the Lake, Excelsior • Family highlights: Get creative in the Kids Art Tent and treat the whole family to a discounted cruise on the Steamboat Minnehaha ($5/pp).

6/14-18: Farmington Dew Days, Farmington • Family highlights: Tour the Dakota City Heritage Village on Friends & Family Fun Day (6/17, 10am-noon, $5/pp).

6/16-18: Tater Daze Festival, Brooklyn Park • Family highlights: Parade (6/16), free root beer float social, live music and a movie in the park (6/17).

6/16-19: St. Louis Park Parktacular, St. Louis Park • Family highlights: Both the Grand Day Parade (noon-2pm)  and Kidtacular Family & Kids Activities (2-6pm) are 6/18. Activities are free or low cost.

6/16-21: Cottage Grove Strawberry Fest, @ Kingston Park, 9195 75th Street S • Family highlights: Free kids tractor pedal pull (6/16), free petting farm (6/18, 1-5pm), self-guided StoryWalk through the festival, and $3 tethered hot air balloon rides.

6/16-7/4: Manitou Days, White Bear Lake • Family highlights: Movie on the beach (6/18), sandcastle contest (6/20), Family fun night (6/24), free pontoon rides (6/27).

6/17-19: GermanFest Minnesota, @ Historic Schmidt Brewery, 900 7th St W, St. Paul • Family highlights: Kids can make FREE Father’s Day cards in the Art Tent on Fri (4-7pm) & Sat (10am-6pm) plus daily music and maypole dances.

6/17-19: Stone Arch Bridge Festival, Minneapolis • Family highlights: Take a stroll across the bridge to seek out the Family Activities Area with birdhouse-building, games, and a family photo opp.

6/22-26: Columbia Heights Lions Jamboree, @ Huset Park, 3965 Jefferson St NE, Columbia HeightsFamily highlights: Jamboree Parade (6/24) and FREE activities in the park including rock climbing, an obstacle course, and an art class (6/25).

6/23-25: Earle Brown Days Festival, Brooklyn Center • Family highlights: A full Saturday (6/25) of fun in Centennial Park with a petting zoo, crafts, family games, horse-drawn wagon rides, ice cream and more.

6/23-25: Oakdale Summerfest, @ Walton Park, 15th St & Hadley Ave, Oakdale

6/23-27: Rosefest, Roseville • Family highlights: Skate for FREE at the Roseville Skating Center or hit up Family Fest at Central Park (6/24), roast smores around the campfire at Harriet Alexander Nature Center (6/25) and get up in some big rigs on 6/26. Annual Rose Parade is held 6/27.

6/24-26: Kaposia Days, South St. Paul • Family highlights: Try your hand at kids carnival games at Central Square (6/25, 10:30am-2:30pm), FREE kites to fly 6/26.

6/25: Summer Fest 2016 @ Minnetonka Civic Center, 14600 Minnetonka Blvd • 4-10:30pm • Family highlights: All activities are FREE (excluding food): pony rides, petting zoo, kids races, games, fire department open house, music, fireworks and more.

6/25: Midsommar Dag @ Gammelgarden Museum, Scandia • Family highlights: Tour the historic buildings FREE, complemented by kids “Immigrant for a Day” activities plus Swedish music and dance.

6/25-26: Eagan Art Festival, Eagan Festival Grounds, 1501 Central Pkwy, Eagan • Family highlights: Art activity tents sponsored by the Eagan Art House.

6/27-7/4: Apple Valley Freedom Days, Apple Valley

Twin Cities Summer Festivals, 2016

Family Fun Idea — Flint Hills International Children’s Festival

children's festivalOne of my absolute favorite activities to do with my kids in June is the Flint Hills International Children’s Festival.  This year the city of St. Paul is hopping with kids and culture during the week of May 31 as they celebrate their 16th year!

During the week, school kids come to St. Paul to watch performances from around the world, appreciate in the Art Walk, and participate in global art workshops.

My favorite part of the International Children’s Festival is the free Family Weekend.  This year, mark your calendars for June 4-5, 2016.

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Twin Cities May Family Events & Activities Guide

May Guide

It is our hope that you can use our May Family Events & Activities Guide page as a convenient way to find our traditional Free & Budget lists along with all the special themed activities each month brings. May is filled with seasonal openings across the Twin Cities Metro Area. And, when it’s time to unwind at home, we’ve added in some suggestions for crafts, recipes and read-alouds. As always, we hope to be inspiration in planning your family time together!

– Anne, Gianna & Joy
Family Fun Twin Cities

free budget

Free Twin Cities Events & Activities in May

Budget Twin Cities Events & Activities in May

seasonal events

Opening in May – Twin Cities Area

Opening in May – Greater Minnesota

Twin Cities Memorial Day Weekend Events

10 Family-Friendly Twin Cities Spring Farmers Markets

fun home

Mother’s Day Recipe: 7 Easy Desserts For Kids to Make on Mother’s Day (via Non-Toy Gifts)

Reading Together — May Library List

Crafty in May: DIY Teacher Gift with Bachmans (via Simplicity in the Suburbs)



Free Twin Cities Events & Activities in May

Free May

5/1: Lyra Family Concert Series: Meet the Irish Harp @ Baroque Room, 275 4th St E, St. Paul • 3-4pm • Details: Introduce the kids to classical music with an hour-long family-friendly concert with hands-on activities and snacks, presented in a casual environment.

5/3: Free Tuesday @ Washington County Parks • find a listing of parks hereDetails: Explore Washington County Parks with no vehicle permit required the first Tuesday of the month (non-holiday).

5/6: Friday Family Movie Night: The Good Dinosaur @ Edinborough Park, Edina • 6:30pm
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Twin Cities Mother’s Day Events


How will you be celebrating Mom this Mother’s Day? If your plans include time spent together, here are some ideas around town to make her day extra special:


5/7: Mother’s and Father’s Day Cardmaking @ Articulture, 2613 E Franklin Ave, Mpls • 1-3pm

5/7: Saturday Crafts for Kids: Mother’s Day Cards @ Lakeshore Learning locations • 11am-3pm

5/7: Mother’s Day Cookie Decorating Event @ Jerry’s Foods, Woodbury, Edina and Eden Prairie locations • 11am-1pm • Details: Decorate a treat for mom and, if you’re one of the first 150 kids to show, snag her a free carnation as well.

5/7: Mother’s Day Storytime @ Barnes & Noble MOA • 11am • Details: Plus, make a card for Mom.

5/7: All About Family – Mother’s Day Card/Gift Making @ Community Covenant Church, 901 Humboldt Avenue N., Minneapolis, MN 55411 • 3pm – 6pm • Details: Mothers Day Gift and Card Making.

5/8: Family Day: Mother’s Day Musical @ Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis • 11am-5pm • Details: Combine words and art through games, storytelling, crafts, and a gallery hunt.

5/8: St. Paul Civic Symphony’s Mother’s Day Concert @ Landmark Center • 1pm

5/8: Mother’s Day Wildflower Walk @ Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden & Bird Sanctuary, Minneapolis • 11am-noon & 3-4pm.


5/7-8: Mother’s Day Weekend @ Oliver Kelley Farm, Elk River • Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12-5pm • Details: Moms free when accompanied by a child; help with spring planting and visit the farm babies.

5/7-8: Macy’s Mother’s Day Weekend @ Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley • 9am • Moms are in FREE!

5/8: American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis • noon-5pm • Moms and grandmas admitted FREE!

5/8: Como-Harriet Streetcar Line, Minneapolis • 12:30-8:30pm • Moms ride FREE!


5/7: Mother’s Day Tea @ Scott County Historical Society, Shakopee • 1-3pm • $5/kids, $10/adults • Details: Kids ages 5 & up and their families can enjoy tea and treats, make a Victorian trinket box and snap a picture in the photo booth.

5/8: Mother’s Day Clay @ Silverwood Park, St. Anthony • 10am-noon • $25/adult-child pair, $15 per additional child. Reservations required by phone only.

5/8: Mother’s Day Flower Walk & Tea Party @ Lowry Nature Center, Victoria • 1-2:30pm • $5/pp • Details: Take a spring hike, craft a scented firestarter and enjoy tea or juice with Mom.

5/8: Mother’s Day Open House @ Westwood Nature Center, St. Louis Park • 1-4pm • $7-$9/pp

5/8: Mother’s Day Brunch @ Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul • seating times: 10am, 12pm, 2pm • $12.95-$27.99, kids 3-5 eat for $4.75, prices include general admission to the Science Museum.


She hasn’t posted it yet, but Carrie Rocha of Pocket Your Dollars typically has got the best roundup of Moms-Eat-Free deals offered in the Twin Cities for Mother’s Day. When the post goes up, we’ll link to it here.

Want more great ideas?  Check out Family Planning, FFTC’s Monthly Newsletter.


Opening in May – Twin Cities Area

tm opening in may

It’s official – Family Fun Twin Cities has SPRING FEVER! Check back often as we’re always adding to this list of Twin Cities-area attractions opening for the season in May 2016.


4/30-5/1: Gammelgarden Museum, Scandia • Guided tours Fri-Sun, 1 & 2:30pm • $7/adults, under 13 FREE • Details: 5 historic buildings immerse you in the lives of Swedish immigrants in the mid-1850s. There is no charge to picnic, walk the grounds, seek out the colorful Dala horses, or play on the equipment. Special event: 5/29/16 – Immigrant For a Day features family activities and is FREE for all to attend.

PicMonkey Collage gammelgarden

5/1: Spring On the Farm @ Oliver Kelley Farm, Elk River • Noon-5pm • $6-$9/pp, under 5 & MHS members FREE • Details: Visit opening weekend (4/30-5/1) to see the farm babies, help with the early spring planting in the garden and fields, cook up the last of the root cellar produce and explore the nature trails. Read More

10 Things for Kids: Richardson Nature Center & Hyland Lake Park

tm richardson nc 5

My preschooler’s request for a simple picnic in April turned into a full afternoon of nature play, wildlife spotting and cargo-net clambering. And, thanks to the 80-degree temps, we were able to be outdoors for hours. Bonus: if you can make it out this month, you’ll beat both the crowds and the mosquitoes! Here are 10 things we’re confident kids of all ages can enjoy at the Richardson Nature Center and Hyland Lake Park Reserve: Read More

BookHounds Episode 2, ‘Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs’

Learn how to make Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs an interactive and fun family experience.


See show notes for more information.

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