Category - Reviews

1
‘Sam’s Son’ — A New Play in Town
2
“Pre-K Mondays” at The Works Museum in Bloomington
3
Family Fun: Home Depot’s Kids Workshops
4
Meet “Shelly Bean, The Sports Queen” — Book Review
5
Twin Cities Apple Orchards: Go West, Young Man (and Women)
6
Twin Cities Apple Orchards: Southern Hospitality
7
Twin Cities Apple Orchards — Southeastern Fun
8
‘The Science Behind Pixar’ @Science Museum This Summer
9
10 Things for Parents in “Moana” Disney’s New Animated Feature Movie
10
10 Things for Kids: Pinwheel Play in Chanhassen

‘Sam’s Son’ — A New Play in Town

Loosely based on the Biblical story of Samson, the book, music, and lyrics of Sam’s Son were written by our very own Jeremiah and Vanessa Gamble the founders of Bucket Brigade. The music was arranged by  Michael Pearce Donley (Triple Espresso, anyone?), and the whole she-bang was directed by Sean Byrd.

photo courtesy of Bonnie Allen photography

 

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“Pre-K Mondays” at The Works Museum in Bloomington

Attention parents who love to save a few bucks and find a cool new place to take the kids that will keep them occupied (educationally!) for hours: it’s time to pay a visit to Pre-K Mondays at The Works, a hands-on engineering museum for kids in Bloomington.

Pre-K Monday at the Works Museum

engineer girl!

First, the savings bit: The Works hosts select “Pre-K Mondays” during the school year where your kids (any age over 2) are admitted for just $4.25. Regular price admission – $8.50 – still applies for adults. Kids under 3 are free. Read More

Family Fun: Home Depot’s Kids Workshops

Home Depot Kids Workshop
First Saturday of the month
9:00 am-12:00 pm

Registration is encouraged. Find the next workshop here.

Home Depot Kids WorkshopOn the bright first Saturday morning in March, Chris–the husband and daddy–packed up the girls and drove to Menards, Lowe’s, and Home Depot.  They were on a mission to buy the supplies needed to redo our bathroom.  What they ran into was the opportunity to build.  They all came home extremely excited and chitty-chatty.  Meanwhile, the boys were beside themselves with envy having to wait until the following month. Read More

Meet “Shelly Bean, The Sports Queen” — Book Review

Shelly Boyum Breen–the author, creator, and prototype of Shelly Bean–grew up in Brainerd, Minnesota as a girl who like to play.

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Twin Cities Apple Orchards: Go West, Young Man (and Women)

Apple Orchards Go West

For a list of orchards spanning the four corners of the Twin Cities metro area, visit our FFTC Guide to Twin Cities Apple Orchards.

TWIN CITIES WEST METRO APPLE ORCHARDS

Apple Jack Orchards | Delano

apple jack orchards

Apple Jack Orchards in Delano, Minnesota, could be one of those day-long fall destinations. There’s just that much going on there. And perhaps that’s what you’re looking for – an orchard packed with activities to appeal to every age in your family. Or, if slipping away from the hubbub and wandering among the apple trees sounds more up your alley, we’ve had that experience there, too. Read More

Twin Cities Apple Orchards: Southern Hospitality

For a list of orchards spanning the four corners of the Twin Cities metro area, visit our FFTC Guide to Twin Cities Apple Orchards.

TWIN CITIES SOUTH METRO APPLE ORCHARDS

Sponsel’s Minnesota Harvest | Jordan

Driving into Sponsel’s Minnesota Harvest Apple Orchard is driving into Apple Land. I know there is no such place as Apple Land, but I just created it in my head.

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Twin Cities Apple Orchards — Southeastern Fun

Southeast Metro Apple Orchard

For a list of orchards spanning the four corners of the Twin Cities metro area, visit our FFTC Guide to Twin Cities Apple Orchards.

TWIN CITIES SOUTHEAST METRO APPLE ORCHARDS

Whistling Well Farm | Hastings

Southeast Metro Apple OrchardThis is a quaint orchard that welcomes you to enjoy farm life. Named for the whistling well on their property, Whistling Well Farm is run by Charlie and Carol Johnson — and sons Chad and Neal. With no entrance fee, you are welcome to roam around the farm at your leisure.

Whistling Well Farm has all the basic amenities of a typical orchard: gift barn, food barn, and animals. They have a donkey and a goat. While the animals didn’t do much when we were there, they were still fun for the kids to see.

Whistling Well Farm is maintained with the help of a springer spaniel named Emmy. In fact, she has her own picture book for sale (written by Charlie). They also sell small stuffed replicas of her.

But the best part of Whistling Well Farms? The chickens!

I can guarantee that your children will spend the rest of your visit in the chicken coop coaxing the non-hungry chickens into eating more corn from their hands. I must admit, it was lots of fun to have the chickens actually eat out of your hands!

Or, if your children have no interest in actually feeding the chickens, they may take corn kernel by corn kernel out of the cob and make a pile of feed for the chickens.

For its unique farm experience, I recommend Whistling Well Farm.  It is worth the drive.

Orchard notes
Open: Picking season begins around Labor Day, check their website or call to confirm.
Hours: Daily, 9am-6pm
Cost: Free admission and limited children’s activities
Picking & details: Stop by the farm and pick up some apples, visit with the goats and chickens, and make a wish at the whistling well with all donations going to local charities. The orchard’s Apple Festival runs the first three weekends in October.

Fischer’s Croix Farm Orchard | Hastings

Open: Mid-Sept-Oct
Hours: Tues-Sun, 9:30am-5pm
Cost: Free admission, fees for additional activities
Picking & details: Enjoy the fall season at this beautiful orchard on the St. Croix River. Pick-your-own apples and pumpkins and, for more family fun, take a tractor pulled wagon ride to the corn maze (weekends only) mid-September to October. Straw Mountain and the Apple Express are popular with kids and all ages will enjoy a visit to the barnyard. The Food Wagon is open on weekends, from late September through late October. Catch the Annual Apple Festival with fun family activities running the first two weekends of October.

McDougall’s Apple Junction | Hastings

Please note: This orchard is now permanently closed.

This is the perfect Mom-and-Pop apple orchard. It’s a fairly sizable orchard with more than fifteen varieties of apples, and admission into the orchard is free on weekdays!

As you drive into the property, a fun atmosphere welcomes you. The Apple House and Outdoor Market supply you with many different opportunities for purchasing their own honey roasted peanut butter, apple paraphernalia, already picked apples, pumpkins, chrysanthemums,  and the ultimate favorite for everyone in our family: Pick Your Own Apples. While we were visiting, the Haralson apples and Honeygold were available for PYO.

The apple trees at McDougall’s are well tended. They are small which makes it possible for you to reach almost all the way to the top. And full of apples. They are pruned for maximum fruit bearing.

The Apple Junction Playland at the back of the yard has a $3 admission fee for kids. There is also a suggested 50 cent donation to climb the newly constructed Observation tower just outside the playland.

The playland is intended for children ages 10 and under and contains a children’s maze, all terrain trikes, slides, swings, a climbing wall, sand box, a thirty-two foot wooden train, milking a (pretend) cow, and a small prize.

Apple Junction also has a goat mountain (read: goat pen that has a mountain of straw for the goats to play on!), a straw mountain for humans to play on, new duck races, a calf named Cupcake, and some bunnies. There are also plenty of picture stops.

If you want to, you can take a wagon ride to the pumpkin patch and come back with pumpkins for the season. Each fall they host a Pumpkin Festival and an Apple Festival. This is a dynamite orchard and is definitely worth the trip!

Orchard Notes
Location:
14325 110th St S., Hastings, MN, 55033
Hours:
Open daily from 10am – 6pm
Picking:
Click here for an update on what varieties are currently being picked in the orchard.

Orchard Notes
Location:
8973 St. Croix Trail South, Hastings, MN 55033
Hours: Open daily 9am – 6pm through November.
Picking: Click here to see what’s currently pickin’ at Whistling Well Farm.


‘The Science Behind Pixar’ @Science Museum This Summer

This summer, the Science Museum of Minnesota hosts The Science Behind Pixar opening June 9, 2017. As all things developed by Pixar and The Walt Disney Company, you will be blown away by this exhibit.
science museum pixar

Developed at the Museum of Science, Boston, The Science of Pixar is an all-encompassing tour through the steps of how a Pixar movie is made.  There is a reason that these movies are magical.

And it’s all based on science.

 

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10 Things for Parents in “Moana” Disney’s New Animated Feature Movie

Disney does it again with Moana.  We have been singing “How Far I’ll Go” non-stop for three days now.

Kids are going to love this film, but that’s to be expected.  I know you want to know if you will.  Here are 10 Things for Parents to Enjoy.

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10 Things for Kids: Pinwheel Play in Chanhassen

Pinwheel PlayThere’s a new play space in town! Located off of Highway 5 in Chanhassen, Pinwheel Play is an incredibly fun modern destination.

Pinwheel Play let us check out their space for free.  All opinions are mine.

Lisa Perkins Smith, with her husband Bryon, opened Pinwheel Play because they couldn’t find a play space that fit their needs.  They wanted a place that was clean, welcoming and catered to many types of open-ended play for the younger set.

It was hard to whittle this list down to 10 things; I was very impressed with this well-planned space.

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