Category - Free

In the Heart of the Beast presents FREE Puppet Shows at Calhoun Square this Summer
Reader Suggestion – Tonkadale Greenhouse Fairy Gardens – Tonight!
St. Paul Saints Home Opener Pre-Game Celebration at Union Depot
Flash Giveaway Monday– Picture Book by Debra Frasier ‘Spike The Ugliest Dog in the Universe’
Free Family Weekend Events for May 16 – 17, 2015
Indoor & Outdoor Fun at Twin Cities Nature Centers: Dodge Nature Center & Farm
Universe in the Park 2015
Free Family Weekend Events for May 9 – 10, 2015
Reader Suggestion: Local Illustrator Erin Boe Debuts The Tryceratops at Kiddywampus
Family Fun Idea: Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store & Storytimes

In the Heart of the Beast presents FREE Puppet Shows at Calhoun Square this Summer

HOBT Calhoun Puppet Shows

I always want to get to one of the Saturday Puppet Shows at In the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theatre, but there is always something else to do on Saturdays, it’s across town, and anything that has a fee — even a small one — means budgeting and planning.  So, as of yet, I haven’t gotten to one.  That is going to change this summer.

HOBT Saturday Puppet Shows for Kids will be free and held at Calhoun Square in Uptown this summer. (I realize both on on the south side of Minneapolis, but I know the bus route to Calhoun Square — one less thing to plan). The shows will be held in the atrium on the first floor every Saturday in June and July.  Saturday puppet shows always include a “Make and Take” activity. This summer’s activities will be held between the first and second shows, for the first 45 participants only, so be sure to stay after or arrive early!

June 6 – On the Day You Were Born
June 13 – Coyote Stories
June 20 – The Way of the Monarch
June 27 – The Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly
July 4 – Buppet Labs
July 11 – Lupita Does Not Want to Sleep!
July 18 – I Love Science
July 25 – Nalah Goes to Mad Mouse City

More information visit In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre.

Reader Suggestion – Tonkadale Greenhouse Fairy Gardens – Tonight!

This looks like fun.  Find details on Family Fun Twin Cities.

This suggestion comes from one of our contacts:

Stop by Tonkadale Greenhouse in Minnetonka this Thursday, May 21, 2015 from 5-8pm for your chance to enter-to-win a copy of STRANGE MAGIC on DVD as well as participate in fairy themed activities and learn how to make your own fairy garden! Tonkadale was voted the “Best Resource for Fairy Gardens” in 2013 by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

STRANGE MAGIC now available on DVD and Digital HD:

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St. Paul Saints Home Opener Pre-Game Celebration at Union Depot

Family Fun Twin Cities

St. Paul Saints Home Opener at CHS Field Image courtesy St. Paul Saints

If you are planning to visit the new CHS Field for the St. Paul Saints Home Opener  in Lowertown, then you won’t want to miss the FREE party at Union Depot.  As a matter of fact, even if you aren’t planning to go to the game at all, you won’t want to miss the FREE party.

Thursday, May 21
5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Union Depot

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Flash Giveaway Monday– Picture Book by Debra Frasier ‘Spike The Ugliest Dog in the Universe’

Family Fun Twin Cities and Local Author Debra Frasier

Win this beautiful Picture Book from Debra Frasier

Congratulations, Holly!  You are the winner of the Spike.  Please check your email for more information!

Thanks to everyone for playing!

Win a picture book by  Debra Frasier, local author whom we love dearly here at Family Fun Twin Cities.  She has provided Spike Ugliest Dog in the Universe for one of our readers.

Giveaway is open until 9:00 p.m. tonight.  Winner will be notified by email.

To Enter the Giveaway:

  1. Mandatory Entry—Leave a comment answering this question:  What was your favorite book as a child?
  2. Extra Entries (to be done only after mandatory entry, leave a comment for each action)
    1. Follow us on Twitter
    2. Follow us on Instagram
    3. Follow us on Pinterest
    4. Like us on Facebook

      If you are interested in meeting Debra Frasier, make your way to the State Fair this summer.  She is the brilliant mind behind the Alphabet Forest there.  It’s one of our favorite places to be at the fair because it’s under some giant shade trees.  It’s very lowkey and super fun.

Debra is the mastermind of some wonderful picture books like A Birthday Cake is No Ordinary Cake and Alphabet Fair Word Carnival.  Her passion is literacy leading her to be creative in inspiring children to love books.

Win this book and spend time as a family reading!


Please join us on Wednesday, May 27  from 10:00 a.m.-noon for our first “Imagine If” Playdate at Play and Learn Cafe in Hopkins/Minnetonka.  Sarah is offering a FFTC Special for our playdate–$5 covers play time for everyone in your family AND a drink for mom (or dad).  Bring your imagination and expect some fabulous FFTC fun!

Free Family Weekend Events for May 16 – 17, 2015

Another sign that spring is finally here – a big crop of art festivals this weekend! Here’s a sampling of what’s going on (for FREE!) this weekend and, as always, check our extensive Family Fun Calendar for a complete listing of what else is cropping up around the Twin Cities.


ArtStart’s EcoArts Fest
@ Harriet Island Regional Park Grounds & Pavilion
200 Dr. Justus Ohage Blvd, St. Paul, 55107

Time: 10am – 3pm
Ages: All ages welcome
Details: This event, now in its eighth year, promotes environmental stewardship through visual and performing arts. Click on the link above to get all the highlights of the 2015 EcoArts Fest.

Art-A-Whirl 2015
@ various sites throughout NE Minneapolis (download the Art-A-Whirl map here)

Time: Saturday, Noon-8pm & Sunday, Noon-5pm
Ages: All ages welcome; consider reading Joy’s tips for visiting Art-A-Whirl with Kids before bringing the little ones.
Details: Spanning the entire weekend, Art-A-Whirl is NE Minneapolis’ ultimate open house for artist studios. Many offer hands-on activities or demonstrations that interest kids as well as their adults. A complete listing of Art-A-Whirl weekend offerings can be found here.

Eden Prairie Arts in the Park
@ Purgatory Creek Park
13001 Technology Dr., Eden Prairie, 55344

Time: 9am – 4pm
Ages: Appeals to all ages; there will be activities especially for children
Details: Shop the vendors, enjoy live music and special kids activities including yoga, crafts, storytelling and face painting.

Kindness Safari 
@ Como Zoo & Conservatory
1225 Estabrook Drive, St. Paul, 55103

Time: 10am – 2pm
Ages: All ages
Details: KIND Snacks is hosting an event at Como to promote every-day acts of kindness. Activities include a scavenger hunt and fun freebies.


Target Free Third Sunday
@ Minnesota Children’s Museum
10 7th St W, St Paul, 55102

Time: 9am – 5pm
Ages: All ages attend free!
Details: Explore the museum, including the new exhibit Sid the Science Kid thanks to the generosity of Target.

Indoor & Outdoor Fun at Twin Cities Nature Centers: Dodge Nature Center & Farm

Next up in our series of both indoor and outdoor entertainment at Twin Cities-area nature centers is the unique Dodge Nature Center in West St. Paul-Mendota Heights. The natural space is ideal for an unstructured ramble outside, and also offers educational programming in their beautiful farm buildings. There is a charge for the programs, but a family walk through the Dodge property costs nothing and the trails are open to the public during daylight hours seven days a week. Here’s what you might find on your walk:

PicMonkey Collage dodge farm

  • A working farm – Dodge Nature Center keeps farm animals to educate and during the warmer months, it’s possible to observe them in their yards. You can’t access any of the barns or go beyond the fenceline without participating in a program (which we have done – and it’s great!), but you can still get close to the animals.

PicMonkey Collage dodge nature 2

  • Wildlife – we trailed turkeys, spotted turtles from the boardwalk, and checked out the raptor exhibit.

PicMonkey Collage dodge nature 3 - Copy

  • Ingredients for nature play – in our wandering we found hills to scale, natural bridges, and plenty of building materials. There was even a nature playground that is used daily by the onsite Dodge Nature Center Preschool, but I was assured the public is welcome to play when school’s not in session (sorry, I couldn’t get a picture of it, but my own preschooler would have loved it).

Moving indoors, Dodge Nature Center offers all kinds of classes, tours and events aimed at a wide span of ages. We have, for instance, taken part in their homeschool science classes, taken farm tours through St. Paul ECFE, and observed other parent-child programs. To get a detailed idea of what Dodge offers, click here. This Saturday, May 16, Dodge will host their annual Rock the Barn Farm Festival from 3 – 7pm if you’re interested in exploring the farm portion of the nature center; at $25 per family (or $8/adults, $4/children) it sounds like a great deal for us.

Universe in the Park 2015

Click Here to Go To The Universe in the Park Webpage

Looking for an astronomy fix? During the summer months, we don’t have the Friday night Public Viewings at the U of M’s Institute for Astrophysics, instead there is the Universe in the Park program on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the summer.  These events are held in various state parks — some close, some not so close.  The program starts with a 20-30 minute presentation at 8:30 p.m. and then, weather permitting, an opportunity to view the sky through telescopes until 10 or 11 p.m.. Participants can learn how to use a star map and go home with a free one. This program is free, but a vehicle permit is usually required ($25 annual/$5 daily). Don’t forget to dress appropriately for Minnesota summer evenings (You know the drill — layers and insect repellent.)  Since it IS a park, and you are paying for a days worth of parking, you might as well arrive early with a picnic and have some playtime.

Participating parks are listed below:

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Free Family Weekend Events for May 9 – 10, 2015

How are you celebrating Mom this weekend?


The Bakken MuseumFINAL Free Second Saturday
@ The Bakken Museum
3537 Zenith Ave. S., Minneapolis, 55416

Time: 10am – 5pm
Ages: All ages welcome, exhibits appeal mainly to kids preschool-aged and up.
Details: This is your last chance to gain free admission to The Bakken before they discontinue their Free Second Saturdays promotion! The museum is a fun space dedicated to exhibits about electricity.

HE6 1B p9Train Day 2015
@ Union Depot
214 Fourth St. E., St. Paul, 55101

Time: 11am – 4pm
Ages: Train lovers of all ages!
Details: Union Depot will host exhibits and displays, live entertainment (including Choo Choo Bob), games and activities all celebrating, you guessed it, TRAINS.

Mother’s Day Storytime & Activities
@ Barnes & Noble Galleria
3225 W 69th St, Edina, MN 55435

Time: 11am
Details: A special Mom School storytime and activity will take place.


PPG150693_FD_BrandingSlide_Spring[1]Family Day: Artscapes
@ Minneapolis Institute of Arts
2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis, 55404

Time: 11am – 5pm
Ages: All ages welcome
Details: Take part in family-friendly art-making activities, workshops, cultural entertainment, gallery activities and more the second Sunday of each month at the MIA.

Minnesota Museums Month Free Day
@ Minnesota History Center
345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, 55102

Time: Noon – 5pm
Ages: All ages
Details: Bring Mom to the History Center to enjoy free admission to interactive history exhibits like the kid-friendly “Then Now Wow” and “Open House”.

PLUS: Moms and grandmothers receive free admission to the Minnesota Children’s Museum and the American Swedish Institute on Sunday, May 10!

Reader Suggestion: Local Illustrator Erin Boe Debuts The Tryceratops at Kiddywampus


We received this fun suggestion from local illustrator, Erin Boe:

I am a children’s book illustrator located in Hopkins, MN, and Red Heart Books has just published my children’s book, The Tryceratops, a book about trying new things. I’m doing a book reading and a dinosaur art project (free) at Kiddywampus in Hopkins on Tuesday, May 19 from 10:0010:45. You can see my book at

“This book gives kids the permission they often seek from peers and adults to try new things,” said Boe. “The Tryceratops shows children that good or bad, new experiences provide the adventure we all seek in life.”

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Family Fun Idea: Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store & Storytimes

tm choo choo bob's - Copy

Chances are, if you have a little train lover in the family, you know about Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store in St. Paul. If you haven’t been there, I’d recommend going over to this link – Gianna did a detailed write-up of the store’s highlights from the play tables to the friendly staff. There’s also a train-tastic storytime at Choo Choo Bob’s every Tuesday morning at 10am hosted by Engineer Paul!

Also, check out Gianna’s roundup here of National Train Day events on May 9. She has all the details on the free Train Day at Union Depot and other special activities at Jackson Street Roundhouse and Twin Cities Model Railroad Museum.

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