Category - Music

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

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

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

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 2016: 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

This summer music post is sponsored by Open Window Theatre. Enjoy two one-act plays together as a family.

Open Window Youth Theatre
Open Window Theatre
(Metropolis Minneapolis Building)
1313 Chestnut Ave., Ste.#102
Minneapolis, MN 55403

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.  Read More

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.

Read More

Twin Cities Budget Events & Activities in May

Budget May

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 or less per person to attend.

5/4: Schubert Club KidsJam: Lau Hawaiian Collective @ Schubert Club Museum, St. Paul • 10:30-11:45am • $5/child advanced registration, $7/door • Details: During this hands-on workshop kids will listen to Hawaiian music, explore instruments, and craft a lei.

5/14: Brickmania Toyworks Open House, Brickmania Toyworks, Minneapolis • 10am-4pm • $5/pp or $10/group of 4, under age 4 FREE • Details: Intricate LEGO train layouts, hands-on LEGO activities and displays. This popular event is held the 2nd Saturday of each month. Read about a trip to the open house here.

tm brickmania (2) Read More

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.  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

Sights and Sounds of Christmas

ChristmastimeintheCitiesOne way to feel especially  in the holiday spirit is to listen the sounds of the season or see the beauty of the season.  One of my favorite ways to accomplish this is  by attending a Christmas-y performance.

The Twin Cities has a bevy of performances to enjoy and it can get very confusing. We’ve narrowed down the selections for those that are especially family friendly. Read More

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