Category - Music

FFTC’s Guide to Family Music Classes
FFTC’s Ultimate Summer Events Guide in the Twin Cities
Twin Cities May Budget Family Events & Activities
Free Twin Cities April Family Events & Activities
Family Fun Ideas: MLK Monday Break
Top Ten Twin Cities’ 2016 Christmas Experiences
10 Free & Air-Conditioned Indoor Family Outings
FFTC’s Guide to FREE Summer Music in the Twin Cities
Zoo-Wee-Mama! The World Premiere of ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid The Musical’ is Sensational!
BookHounds Episode #2: “Punk Skunks”

FFTC’s Guide to Family Music Classes

Family Music classes aren’t simply about introducing your child to music education.  A big part of it is learning how to play with your child.  In the Twin Cities we are blessed to have so many different options. These classes are a great way to get out of the house with a specific purpose – to enjoy an hour together with your little ones.
singing music

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FFTC’s Ultimate Summer Events Guide in the Twin Cities

Everything you need to know about family fun this summer is in the Ultimate Summer Guide to the Twin Cities.

Family Fun Twin Cities' Ultimate Summer Guide

Wheel Fun RentalsThis guide is brought to you by Wheel Fun Rentals.

For over 25 years, Wheel Fun Rentals has offered ways for riders of all ages to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. With seven Minnesota locations, choose from a complete lineup of recreational vehicles like Surreys, specialty cycles, two-wheeled bikes, watercraft and more. Selection may vary; please visit our website for current availability.


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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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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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Family Fun Ideas: MLK Monday Break

MLK Monday – 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:

MLK Monday - Family 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.


Top Ten Twin Cities’ 2016 Christmas Experiences


We wanted to give you a heads up to some of the most exciting Christmas experiences happening this year.  We’ll soon have an all-encompassing list for your family, but here are our Top Ten that you won’t want to miss – get them on your calendar! Read More

10 Free & Air-Conditioned Indoor Family Outings

My kid broke the fan yesterday.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

FFTC’s Guide to FREE Summer Music in the Twin Cities

Find parks at Family Fun Twin Cities

Summer Music at Normandale Lake Bandshell courtesy City of Bloomington

The Twin Cities practically sings in the summer.  Every corner of the metro is full of music and a lot of it is FREE! What could be better?  Not much! Enjoy strains of strings, rhythms of rockers and energy of ethnic music. 

Wheel Fun RentalsThis guide is brought to you by Wheel Fun Rentals.

For over 25 years, Wheel Fun Rentals has offered ways for riders of all ages to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. With seven Minnesota locations, choose from a complete lineup of recreational vehicles like Surreys, specialty cycles, two-wheeled bikes, watercraft and more. Selection may vary; please visit our website for current availability.



Starts Memorial Day Weekend: Music & Entertainment in the Parks | Daily with FREE concerts, family movies, theater productions and more. Check the link for a complete listing of events & locations.

Starts 5/29/17: Minneapolis Music in the Parks, 6 venues presenting music nightly.

Starts 6/7/17: Groovin’ in the Garden | Como Park Zoo & Conservatory | Ongoing Wednesdays with FREE concerts, a climbing wall, bounce house, and lawn games for kids, and food available for purchase.

6/22/-24: Twin Cities Jazz Fest | Mears Park, Lowerton & other St Paul venues

Starts 7/4/17: 9 Nights of Music | Minnesota History Center | Ongoing Tuesdays thru 8/29/17 | Dance lessons, 6:30pm, music begins at 7.

8/11-13: Irish Fair of Minnesota | Harriet Island, St Paul | Free admission & live Irish music

Scroll Down to See More Summer Music


BLAINE: Performance in the Park | Town Square & Aquatore Park | Select dates starting 6/14/17 including Family Fun Night (7/18/17); Summer of Blaine | Village of Blaine Shopping Center | Two free events for the whole family this summer 6/15/17 Teddy Bear Band and 8/12/17 Echoes of Elvis.

COON RAPIDS: Summer Concert Series | Coon Rapids Regional Park performance pavilion | Ongoing Thursdays starting 6/8/17 – FREE

MAPLE GROVE: Sounds of Summer | Town Green Maple Grove | Includes Celebrate the Family, ongoing Thursdays starting 6/15/17

NORTH ST. PAUL: Music in the Parks Summer Concert Series | Casey Lake Park | starts 6/22/17

PLYMOUTH: Entertainment in the Park | Hilde Performance Center | Starts June 2017

ROSEVILLE: Live @ The Rog! Performance Series | Frank Rog Amphitheater| Ongoing Sundays starting 6/11/17

SHOREVIEW: Concerts in the Commons | Shoreview Commons at Shoreview Community Center | Ongoing Wednesdays starting 6/14/17

ST ANTHONY: Sounds of Silverwood | Silverwood Park | Ongoing Wednesdays starting 6/7/17


APPLE VALLEY: Music in Kelley Park | Ongoing Fridays starting 6/16/17 with FREE music 6-9pm, food available for purchase, prizes and a splash pad for the kids to cool off in.

BURNSVILLE: Thursday Rockin’ Lunch Hour Concerts & Thursday Rockin’ Readers | Nicollet Commons Park | Ongoing Thursdays starting 6/15/17, plus enjoy the landscaped splash.

CHASKA: Kids Entertainment Series, 6/13 & 6/27 & Wednesday Night Concerts, ongoing Wednesdays starting 6/14/17.

EAGAN: Eagan Market Fest | Eagan Central Park Festival Grounds | Ongoing Wednesdays, 4-8pm starting 6/7/17. FREE family fun: The grounds buzz with weekly concerts and themed nights including one devoted solely to families.

MENDOTA HEIGHTS: Market Square Concert Series | The Village at Mendota Heights | Ongoing Wednesdays starting 6/7/17, 6:30pm

SHAKOPEE: Performance & Event Series | Huber Park | Ongoing Thursdays starting 6/1/17, 7pm



BLOOMINGTON: Arts in the Parks includes the Monday Morning Kids Series at Moir Park starting 6/12/17 & Tuesday Evening Performance Series at Normandale Bandshell starting 6/13/17.

EDEN PRAIRIE: Eden Prairie Park Players Presents: Honk!, 6/16-18/17 & 6/22-25 at the Staring Lake Amphitheater • Kidstock kicks off 6/20 with entertainment ongoing Tuesdays.

EDINA: Centennial Lakes Park is a haven for FREE summer entertainment! Events are held daily Sun-Thurs and include family-friendly concerts at the outdoor amphitheater.

EXCELSIOR: Excelsior Concerts in the Park | The Commons | Dates: 5/24, 6/21, 7/19 & 8/16

GOLDEN VALLEY: Golden Valley Concerts in the Parks | Brookview Park | Ongoing Mondays starting 6/5/17, 7pm

HOPKINS: Hopkins Summerfest | Downtown Park | Ongoing Thursdays starting 6/15/17, 7pm

MINNETONKA: Arts in the Park | Minnetonka Civic Center Amphitheater include  Music in the Park ongoing Tuesdays starting 6/13/17.

RICHFIELD: Kids Entertainment in Augsburg Park | Ongoing Tuesdays at noon starting 6/13/17.

ST LOUIS PARK: St. Louis Park Creative Kidstuff Concerts | The Shops at West End | Ongoing Wednesdays starting 6/14/17, 10am

WAYZATA: Wayzata Summer Concert Series | Depot Park | Ongoing Wed in July, 7pm


STILLWATER: Stillwater Summer Tuesdays | Lowell Park | Ongoing Tuesdays starting 7/11, 6pm

TAYLORS FALLS: Music at Franconia | Franconia Sculpture Park | Saturdays: 6/24, 7/22 & 8/26

WHITE BEAR LAKE: White Bear Lake Marketfest | Downtown White Bear Lake | Ongoing Thursdays starting 6/15/17, 6pm


WOODBURY: Summer Concert Series at Woodbury Lake | Woodbury Lakes Shopping Center | Wednesday Kids Concerts 10am-11am; and Thursday All Ages 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm |  7/5-8/3





Zoo-Wee-Mama! The World Premiere of ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid The Musical’ is Sensational!

“Hold EVERYTHING! It is NOT a diary! I specifically told my mom not to get me a diary.

diary of a wimpy kid



DIary of a Wimpy Kid

photo credit Dan Norman

Diary of a Wimpy Kid the musical is the story of Greg Heffley and his buddy Rowley Jefferson as they navigate through middle school.  A middle school experience just like yours and mine.

Only instead of the gut-wrenching, emotional heartache of middle school, you experience gasping-for-breath belly laughs.

Greg is trying to navigate through the murky waters of school while being a middle child.  He has a brother in high school (Rodrick who incidentally has a band, Loded Diper) and a “baby” brother who has his own embarrassing nickname for Greg.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

photo credit Dan Norman

He learns pretty quickly that he wants to be a cool kid in school or at least rise in his ranking in the eyes of his peers.  So he sets out to make a name for himself.


And his faithful friend, Rowley, cheers him on all the way.  Because Rowley’s main objective?  To be Greg’s best friend.

Therein lies the rub.  “I know you will do the right thing,” Greg’s mom tells him.

What Makes Diary of a Wimpy Kid Amazing

Diary of a Wimpy Kid the musical is a STRONG theatrical experience.  (I’m not the only one who thinks so.  Check out Simplicity in the Suburbs author Samara’s Review here)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Children's Theatre Co

Photo credit Dan Norman

Rachel Rockwell, the director, casted the characters perfectly.  Here are my four favorite. (I would add Rodrick played by Brandon Brooks, but that somehow seems disloyal to Greg)

  • Greg, played by Ricky Falbo from Chicago, is the perfect straight man. His exagerrated emotional expressions, let alone his oratory, communicate the entire flavor of the show.  Throughout the whole show, the entire audience is cheering for him.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid

    photo credit Dan Norman

    Rowley, played by David Rosenthal, could not be a better funny man.  His supreme naivety and dorky innocence makes every mom want to sit down and  explain the world to him.  And the next moment you are laughing so hard at his dancing and singing, your face hurts.

  • Charig is played by Om Angarkar.  OH, MY WORD!  He is hysterical.  He had both my 3rd-grader and me rolling on the floor. Greg’s interactions with Charig and Charig’s reactions were so delightfully written, I felt I was back in middle school.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid

    Photo credit Dan Norman

    Fregley is played by Soren Thayne Miller and honestly I don’t know where they found this guy.  Fregley is the gross kid no one wants to sit by, walk past or even look at.  He adores Greg, and he let’s everyone know it.

Simplistic sets taken straight from the books focus your attention on the characters, and basic props punctuate the story.  I am sure the sets are not simple to manuever especially with 54 scene changes. From home to school to Rowley’s house to school to his own bedroom to the street to neighbors’ front doors to school, etc.  It takes perfect precision, timing, and organization to be able to keep the moving parts from distracting from the story.  So three cheers for the Run Crew backstage.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Chidlren's Theatre Co

Photo credit Dan Norman

Diary of a Wimpy Kid the musical would be nothing if not for strong writing and music.  Much of the story is in song peppered with narration by Greg and some dialogue throughout. Many genres (written by Alan Schmuckler and Michael Mahler) are represented including Rap, Pop, Heavy Metal, Gospel, and of course Broadway.  With songs like “Stuck in the Middle” and “I’ve Got an Animal Heart,” “Joshie Says” and many more, you will be humming all the way home.

Who Should See Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Musical

This show is perfect for kids of any age who love the book.  It’s also perfect for middle schoolers and high schoolers.  It’s fun for everyone.

diary of a wimpy kidI brought my 3rd grader who has read the books.  I even splurged and bought her a new one just because it seemed like the right thing to do.  

As she sat in the lobby reading her new book, an adorable young man (we soon learned he was a second grader) from New Jersey sat down next her and showed her his book asking who her favorite diary of a wimpy kidcharacter is.  They exchanged names and we learned that my daughter shares her name with his sister.  They were fast friends.  

After chatting with his dad about the theatre and Minneapolis, we were soon ready to find our seats. We were seated in the second row.  Dead center.

diary of a wimpy kid“Mom.  We couldn’t have done anything better.  It blew my mind.” She also stated that she hadn’t understood all the jokes, but it didn’t matter at all.

When I suggested that I should have brought her older sister, she shrieked, “NO!  I needed to come to this. I’m the one who read the books.”  

We walked to our car and smiled all the way home.

Free Tickets DisclosureDiary of a Wimpy KidFamily Fun Twin Cities received tickets to review the show, but all opinions are our own.


BookHounds Episode #2: “Punk Skunks”

We were thrilled to have Stephen Shaskan and Trisha Speed Shaskan on our second BookHounds Show to share Punk Skunks.  If you missed the episode, you can watch it here.  If you want to catch our shows live, download the periscope app on your phone and follow us at @FamilyFunTC.


(Disclosure:  we have a bit of technical difficulty.  Hang in there.  I promise meeting the Shaskans is worth it!)

For the show notes  Read More

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