Category - On Tour

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Nature Playgrounds in the Twin Cities – Get Back to Green
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Twin Cities June Family Festival Calendar – Updated for 2017
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Twin Cities Spring Nature Play & Programs Guide
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Opening in May – Twin Cities Area Attractions
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Twin Cities May Budget Family Events & Activities
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Where to Find the Minnesota Farm Babies
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Family Day Trip: National Eagle Center, Wabasha
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Family Fun: Public Shows at Como Planetarium
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Free Twin Cities April Family Events & Activities
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2017 Twin Cities Spring Break Guide

Nature Playgrounds in the Twin Cities – Get Back to Green

Nature Playgrounds are a growing trend for good reason; scientists keep finding connections between nature to child development and well-being.

nature playgrounds
It used to be, according to my children, that in order for a park to be authentic, it needed at least a slide and a set of swings. I was less enthusiastic about taking them to places like state parks simply because I felt I’d have to go the extra mile to “prove” that playing and exploring in a natural environment could be just as fun as clambering around a commercially manufactured jungle gym. Don’t get me wrong – the local playgrounds can be a lot of fun, too. And some are really inventive! But I have to say that I get a deeper satisfaction from watching them play in a more natural setting: digging, figuring out how to climb that tree, following paths, building forts. They become immersed in tossing rocks into the water, scouting frogs, collecting wildflowers. They also gradually forget that “playing at the park” requires a plastic treehouse.

So here’s what I find really cool: incorporating natural elements into new playground designs seems to be the trend. More places are popping up where kids get the opportunity to interact with the landscape and, perhaps, develop a greater appreciation for it. Here are seven places I’ve discovered that have those goals in mind:

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Twin Cities June Family Festival Calendar – Updated for 2017

TWIN CITIES JUNE FAMILY FESTIVAL IDEAS

Get your fill of June family festival outings with this handy list of local celebrations around the Twin Cites. Most are free. If there is admission, it is listed. Family-friendly highlights are listed for each:

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

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Twin Cities Spring Nature Play & Programs Guide

Does the spring weather have you itching to explore beyond the backyard? Twin Cities-area nature centers and outdoor education centers are wonderful places to seek out signs of the seasons and play in the natural world. Most of them offer programming specially designed for preschoolers, free family events, and indoor exhibits to stimulate little explorers. Read More

Opening in May – Twin Cities Area Attractions

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 2017.

TWIN CITIES ATTRACTIONS OPENING IN MAY

Caponi Art ParkNOW OPEN: Caponi Art Park | Eagan • Tues-Sun, 9am-8pm • FREE admission, donations appreciated • Wander the trails through the sculpture park and take in free cultural entertainment. Special event: Summer Performance Series, Sundays July-Aug, 6:30pm.

4/28-4/30: Gammelgarden Museum | Scandia • Guided tours Fri-Sun, 1 & 2:30pm • $7/adults, under 13 FREE • 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.

PicMonkey Collage gammelgarden

5/1: Cafesjian’s Carousel | St Paul • Como Park’s famous carousel, open daily through Labor Day, Mon-Fri 10am-4pm, Sat-Sun 10am-6pm • $2/pp ages 3+

5/6: Wheel Fun Rentals | Lake Calhoun, Minnehaha Falls & Veterans Memorial Park – Richfield • visit the links for complete hours • Rent surreys, choppers, canoes, paddleboards and more.

5/6: Spring on the Farm | Eidem Homestead, Brooklyn Park • 10am-1pm • $6/adults, $4/under 12, under 4/FREE • Greet the farm babies, help with spring planting and other activities. Eidem Homestead will be open for a variety of special events through Dec 2017.

PicMonkey Collage eidem farm

5/6-7: Grand Opening Celebration | Oliver Kelley Farm, Elk River • Noon-5pm • $6-$12/pp, under 5 & MHS members FREE • Be among the first to see the new visitor center and indoor/outdoor exhibits, participate in make-and-takes, demos and see the animals. Upcoming special events include Mother’s Day Weekend (5/13-14) and come out to meet the farm babies in June.

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Twin Cities May Budget Family Events & Activities

It doesn’t have to break the bank to entertain the family away from home in the Twin Cities! You’ll find seasonal and ongoing events and activities listed here that all cost $5-$6 or less per person to attend.


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Where to Find the Minnesota Farm Babies

As soon as I can smell the wet earth and the sun is still shining at 6pm, I’m ready for a spring farm fix. Come on out and meet the fuzzy new arrivals — lambs, chicks, piglets, goats and all the rest — plus farmhands of all ages can partake in waking up the barns for spring.

I had no idea there were this many places to find Minnesota Farm Babies!

TWIN CITIES AREA FARM ACTIVITIES

Farm Babies | Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley • 3/24-4/30, 9am-4pm • included in Zoo admission of $12-$18/pp + parking • In addition to getting hands-on with the babies, there are tons of other activities to enjoy out at the Wells Fargo Family Farm area of the zoo. Get the full lineup here.

Saturday Mornings on the Farm | Gale Woods Farm, Minnetrista • Ongoing Saturdays 4/1-5/27, 9:30am-noon • $5/pp • Calling all farmhands! Help out with chores, spend time with the animals and participate in other spring farm activities. Closed-toe shoes required. Strollers not allowed in the barn or around animals. Read More

Family Day Trip: National Eagle Center, Wabasha

We were blessed with gorgeous weather for a long weekend camping trip along scenic Highway 61. The first thing we did upon tumbling out of the camper in Wabasha, Minnesota, was spend a good fifteen minutes soaking up the sun along the Mississippi. It’s along these banks that majestic bald eagles winter and build nests to raise their young. You can learn all about these raptors – and get just about nose-to-beak with them – at the adjacent National Eagle Center. Read More

Family Fun: Public Shows at Como Planetarium

To celebrate birthdays in my daughter’s kindergarten class, the birthday child simulated a walk around the sun. One orbit is tread for each year of the child’s life, while the teacher reads aloud personal milestones supplied by parents. It was a fun coincidence that the night before Emily’s birthday walk we attended one of Como Planetarium’s public programs. Right there on the domed ceiling was a visual of the planet Earth marking time by making its tireless orbit around the sun. Read More

Free Twin Cities April Family Events & Activities

Free Twin Cities April


Thanks to this month’s sponsor Rockin’ Jump!  Check them out at FFTC’s Rockin’ Party on April 15.

Click here for more Rockin' Party InformationClick here for more information.


April is literally blooming with free events and activities in the Twin Cities!

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2017 Twin Cities Spring Break Guide

Sticking close to home with your crew this Spring Break? (Same here. Hence all this research.) Craft a fun staycation for your own family in the Twin Cities with the following ideas:


Thanks to our AMAZING March Sponsor Wishing Tree Play Cafe.

We can’t wait for our Pajama Party on March 16!

Pajama Party


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