Category - Free

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Family Fun Ideas: MLK Monday Break
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Saint Paul Winter Carnival 2017: Top 7 Free Family Activities
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12 Twin Cities Early Holiday Events
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Giving Back: 10 Places in the Twin Cities to Volunteer with Kids
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10 Spots to Trick-or-Treat at Twin Cities Shopping Malls
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FFTC Family Guide to MEA Weekend
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Twin Cities September Family Events & Activities Guide
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Pollinator Family Fun in the Twin Cities
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FFTC’s Guide to the 2016 Minnesota State Fair
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Twin Cities Fall Family Festival Calendar

Family Fun Ideas: MLK Monday Break

So, what’s closed today? Or, perhaps more importantly, what’s open and where can I get the kids out of the house? We’ve got ideas both indoor and out plus a couple of fun family events to observe the day:

OBSERVE

OUTDOOR FUN

INDOOR FUN

  • Tail Time | Wild Rumpus Books, Minneapolis, 10:30am • Arrive early if you want to get a decent spot. Stick around to see how many critters (yes, animal critters) you can spot slinking around the store!
  • PolarPalooza | Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St Paul, 10am-4pm • Educational games and activities.
  • Behind the Scenes: Research Labs | Science Museum of MN, 12-4pm • Included with museum admission, $12.95-$18.95.
  • Mill City Museum | Minneapolis, 10am-5pm • Special holiday hours – see our tips at 10 Things For Kids: Mill City Museum.
  • Bakken Museum | Minneapolis, 10am-4pm (special holiday hours), $5-$10/pp
  • Preschool Open Play | The Blast Indoor Playground, Eagan Community Center, 9:30-11am • A variety of equipment is available to play in the gym as well as play time in the Blast Indoor playground. $4/child ages 1-5.
  • Find MORE preschool open gym and open play times.
  • Trolls | Riverview Theater, Minneapolis, 1 & 5pm • $2/pp plus awesome popcorn!
  • Half-price Open Swim | Great River Water Park, St Paul, 10:30am-8:30pm (activity pool and waterslides open 10:30-noon)
  • Find drop-in crafting opportunities for kids of all ages in our Winter Survival Guide.

Saint Paul Winter Carnival 2017: Top 7 Free Family Activities

We’ve got the scoop on the coolest carnival in town! From ice sculptures to the thrilling Vulcan snow slide, browse below for our top 7 picks for FREE family fun during the run of the St. Paul Winter Carnival, Thursday, January 26-Sunday, February 5, 2017:

Snow Park at the State Fairgrounds | Falcon Heights

When: Activities run Saturday, Jan 27-Sunday, Feb 5, 2017
Details: Chill out at the Fair with the following fun family-friendly events:

  • Jan 21-22: Calling all kids who like heavy equipment! Watch as it assembles the giant snow blocks and walls created for the annual snow sculpting contest. 9am-4pm.
  • Jan 27-29: Come watch works of art whittled out of the snow during the Minnesota State Snow Sculpting Competition (Fri) and the Amateur Snow Sculpting Contest (Sat). Sculptures will be on display at the Fair through Feb 5, 9am-10pm.
  • Jan 28-Feb 4: Plummet down the Giant Snow Slide (if you dare!) A fee of $2 per ride is charged, sleds provided.
  • Jan 29: Hail the Vulcs on Vulcan Fun Day with free fire truck rides, a mini-medallion hunt for kids and more. 11am-3pm.

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12 Twin Cities Early Holiday Events

10 Twin Cities Early Holiday Events

night-trainsNight Trains @ Twin City Model Railroad Museum, St. Paul 

When: Ongoing Sat Nov 5-Feb 25, 2017 • 6-9pm
Cost: $15/pp, family rates available, children 4 & under FREE
Details: A special holiday tradition at the Twin City Model Railroad Museum, Night Trains season magically transforms the museum layouts. Buildings and street lights glow, and throughout the museum the layouts are adorned with Christmas lights.

Nature Arts & Crafts Fair @ Richardson Nature Center, Bloomington

When: Saturday, Nov 5 • 10am-3pm
Cost: Free admission
Details: Local artisans of jewelry, felting, painting and more display their wares; afterward enjoy the park reserve. All vendor fees donated to the VEAP-Bloomington Food Shelf.

Santa’s Arrival Ceremony @ Mall of America

When: TBD
Cost: Free
Details: The holiday season officially kicks off at Mall of America with Santa’s Arrival Ceremony. Santa will be greeted in holiday style with live performances.

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Family Day: Celebrations of Light @ American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis

When: Sunday, Nov 13 • noon-5pm
Cost: $5-$10/pp
Details: Explore Nordic holiday traditions, see the historic Turnblad Mansion decked out for the season, and join in family craft activities. Included with museum admission.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical @ Stages Theatre Company, Hopkins

When: Runs Nov 18-Dec 28, 2016
Cost: $25/pp, $5/lap passes for children ages 3-4, under 3 are free. Nov 20 is pay-what-you can day for this particular performance. These special accessible tickets are available at the box office only.

bachmans2Holiday Open House featuring Santa & Albert’s Arrival and Annual Holiday Play
@ Bachman’s on Lyndale, Minneapolis

When: Saturday, Nov 19 • 9am-4pm
Cost: Free
Details: Join us as we welcome Santa and his sleigh Saturday morning and kick off the holiday season! Visit Bachman’s on Lyndale for treats, shopping, and season’s greetings during store hours. Kids can visit the live reindeer corral and stop by the craft counter for crafts and activities. Cookies, juice, and coffee available for snacking! And of course, see the annual Santa & Albert holiday play at 10am, 11:30am, 1pm and 3:30pm.

Rice Park Tree Lighting Ceremony, St. Paul

When: Nov 19 • 5pm
Cost: Free
Details: Rice Park sparkles with thousands of twinkling lights! The tree will be up through January 1, 2017. The other lights will stay up and illuminate the park through the end of the Winter Carnival.

HLNewLogoPlain[1]Holiday Lights in the Park @ Phalen Regional Park, St. Paul

When: Runs nightly Nov 22-Jan 1, 2017 • 5-10pm
Cost: $10 cash per vehicle at gate or $8 online ticket only
Details: All of the net proceeds from the event will be distributed to a community non-profit. 60 holiday light sculptures and animated displays entertain guests as they cruise through the park in the evening hours.

Winter Lighting Ceremony @ Nicollet Commons Park
Nicollet Avenue and 126th Street, Burnsville

When: Wednesday, Nov 23 • 6-6:45pm
Cost: Free
Details: Making an appearance are local choirs, refreshments, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, 200,000+ lights, and a 30-foot-tall tree.

thO0PBFN04Holidazzle begins @ Loring Park, Minneapolis

When: Begins Friday, Nov 25 • 5-9m
Cost: Free
Details: Holidazzle has moved to Loring Park, is offering free admission to all, and there will be vendors, activities, food, and fireworks for all. Holidazzle will run Thurs-Sun from 5-9pm on Thursdays & Fridays and 11am-9pm Saturdays & Sundays through Dec. 22, 2016.

Taylors Falls Lighting Festival

When: Friday, Nov 25 – Sunday, Nov 27
Cost: Free
Details: Family highlights include the Grand Lighting & Santa Parade (11/26), Christmas at the Folsom House (11/25-27), storytime with Mrs. Claus and wagon rides.

Tree Lighting Ceremony @ 50th & France, Edina

When: Saturday, Nov 26
Cost: Free
Details: Holiday Market is open 12-5pm followed by tree lighting, carolers and visits with Santa.


Giving Back: 10 Places in the Twin Cities to Volunteer with Kids

While Family Fun Twin Cities is not a website focused on family volunteering, we like to feature family volunteer opportunities in November because we believe giving back with your family can be a lot of fun and teach important lessons. We have collected ten different opportunities to volunteer with kids.

Other ideas can be found here.


Volunteer with KidsOctober 31-November 4, 2016

• Candy for Troops/Books for Kids @ Fairview Clinics throughout the metro • Even the littlest goblins can bring Halloween candy into a clinic this week to donate to the military troops overseas.  For your donation, you will receive a new book and bless our service men and women who would love a little taste of home. Read More

10 Spots to Trick-or-Treat at Twin Cities Shopping Malls

pumpkinfestival[1]50th & France in Minneapolis: Pumpkin Fest, Edina
When:
10/22, 10am-1pm • Details: Enjoy trick-or-treating at local businesses starting at 10am (look for the sign in the window, kids 12 & under only, please), kids activities, horse-drawn trolley rides, a cake walk, and costume contest. FREE.

Arbor Lakes: Fall Festival on Main Street, Maple Grove
When:
10/29, 9:30-1:30pm • Details: Trick-or-treat at participating Main Street businesses, free mini pumpkins and a costume contest. FREE.

Galleria Edina: Tricky Treat-a-Palooza
When: 10/29, 10am-12pm • Details: Grab a free treat bag at Pottery Barn and head off to collect candy at participating shops around the Galleria.

Trick-or-Treating on Main Street, Stillwater
When: 10/29-30, 12-4pm • Details: Troll for treats along Stillwater’s business district.

Maplewood Mall: Halloween Trick-or-Treat Night at the Mall
When: 10/31, 5:30-7:30pm • Details: Visit participating retailers for treats, make a craft and take a turn in the bouncy house. FREE.

Halloween-spooktacular[1]Rosedale Mall: Mall-Wide Trick-or-Treating, Roseville
When:
10/31, 5-7pm • Details: Trick-or-treat at participating stores, plus a performance by the Teddy Bear Band in East Court. FREE.

1265-1442591411[1]Mall of America: Howl-o-Ween
When:
10/31, 5-8pm • Details: Come in costume and prowl the mall for treats at participating retailers. FREE.

Eden Prairie Center: Halloween on the Mall
When:
10/31, 5-7pm • Details: Trick-or-treat at mall merchants, meet Eden Prairie policemen and firefighters, and free entertainment in Center Court. FREE.

Southdale Center: Mall-o-Ween, Edina
When:
10/31, 3-7pm • Details: Participating merchants will hand out treats; stick around for crafts, face painting and a bounce house. FREE.

Northtown Mall: Halloween Trick-or-Treating, Blaine
When: 10/31, 6-8pm • Details: Trick-or-treat around the mall, play games and snap a selfie at the photo station. FREE.


FFTC Family Guide to MEA Weekend

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MEA Weekend isn’t that far away, so if you like to plan ahead Family Fun Twin Cities has compiled a list for you to use as a starting point for this fabulous, fall four-day weekend.  If you plan more spur of the moment like me, these options will be on our October Family Events & Activities Guide for quick access. Read More

Twin Cities September Family Events & Activities Guide

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This month, FFTC is proudly sponsored by

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It is our hope that you can use our September 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. In September we are highlighting our favorite apple orchards, pumpkin patches and corn mazes across the Twin Cities Metro as well as keeping up with the harvest of fall festivals cropping up. As always, we hope to be inspiration in planning your family time together!

– Anne, Gianna & Joy
Family Fun Twin Cities

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Pollinator Family Fun in the Twin Cities

butterflyI was excited to see that Netflix is streaming Flight of the Butterflies right now. It has been a couple of years since we reviewed the film at the Science Museum. My boys didn’t even remember it, so we were able to watch it again like it was new. This reminded me that there are so many pollinator events in the late summer and early fall in the Twin Cities. I’ve gathered a few. Most are free.

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FFTC’s Guide to the 2016 Minnesota State Fair

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This guide and giveaway have been generously sponsored by the Minnesota Farm Bureau. Be sure to stop by their family-friendly building at the Minnesota State Fair to win prizes, meet local farmers, snap a family picture in their photo booth and enter your kid’s name to win a free children’s book. Visit their Facebook page for more details.

tm farm bureau


*** GIVEAWAY has closed. Thanks for entering!***

We are holding the giveaway for 2 tickets to the 2016 Minnesota State Fair on our Family Fun Twin Cities Facebook page. Please follow the link to enter – do not post your comments/entries on this article.

We’re only about a week out from that glorious summer finale we fondly call the Great Minnesota Get-Together. Read More

Twin Cities Fall Family Festival Calendar

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Get ready for a bumper crop of fall festivals in the Twin Cities! Read More

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