Category - Places

“Pre-K Mondays” at The Works Museum in Bloomington
Twin Cities Apple Orchards: Go West, Young Man (and Women)
Twin Cities Apple Orchards: Southern Hospitality
Twin Cities Apple Orchards — Southeastern Fun
‘The Science Behind Pixar’ @Science Museum This Summer
10 Things for Kids: Pinwheel Play in Chanhassen
Family Day Trip: 10 Things To Do in Zimmerman, MN
Family Fun: Big Back Yard at the Science Museum of Minnesota
Cool Off at Twin Cities Area Splash Pads & Wading Pools
Lynn’s Cake and Candy Supply, Monster Bash Sponsor

“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

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.


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.


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.


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

Orchard Notes
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 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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Family Day Trip: 10 Things To Do in Zimmerman, MN


zimmermanZimmerman is a lovely small town, just north of Elk River on Highway 169.  Most people drive straight through on the way to their cabins without realizing what they are missing.

Stacey of Ramshackled Treasures and Samara of Simplicity in the Suburbs invited FFTC  to check out this cute little village with a gang of bloggers (it was an extremely busy week for us). My favorite comment of the night was from Ashley Sears.  She kept repeating to herself, “Oh, boy.  I’m in trouble. I’m in so much trouble.”  She is moving to Zimmerman and fell more in love with the town with each stop–as did we all.


Here are 10 things you don’t want to miss when heading through Zimmerman. Read More

Family Fun: Big Back Yard at the Science Museum of Minnesota

science museum mn big back yard

Big Back Yard at the
Science Museum of
Open June 18-September 5, 2016
Included with museum admission

Tucked between the towering buildings on Kellogg Boulevard above and the Mississippi riverfront development below is one of the city’s best splash pads and sandboxes. This endorsement comes courtesy of my four children, who never fail to have a blast when we make our annual summer trip to the Science Museum of Minnesota’s Big Back Yard. Now, the museum doesn’t tout itself as featuring a splash pad and sandbox on property, so you’ll have to keep in mind that the Big Back Yard might not be your destination if you don’t want the kids coming out sandy and soaked.

science museum of mn big back yard

The first culprit is the nine-hole mini golf course. Designed to teach about the flow of water and how it shapes the land, it consists of tempting waterways, a hydraulic jump, and a braided stream. My son takes his golf pretty seriously, but his younger sisters quickly abandon their clubs and start splashing away. (Note: this is not necessarily allowed and probably not courteous if there are other golfers on the course. We try to visit when we’ll have the place to ourselves.)

science museum of mn big back yardIf the kids aren’t damp enough after the putting, the Ground Water Plaza might guarantee there isn’t a dry patch left on them. The kids can pump buckets full of water from the Museum’s deep artisan well and pour it over a variety of surfaces to learn how groundwater can move through rock. Plenty of the water did end up on the rock, but much of it was aimed at each other.

science museum mn big back yardAn adjacent native prairie maze is helpful for drying off after the waterworks. My kids usually play tag through the native grasses and gardens and perhaps learn a thing or two about prairies and their role in cleaning the environment. A second (somewhat) drier activity available is panning for gemstones and fossils in a giant sluice.

So pick a nice, hot summer day to enjoy all the Science Museum’s Big Back Yard has to offer. If I can add one tip: let the kids wear swimsuits under their clothes! Exploring the gardens and ground water plaza is included in museum admission; a charge of $3.50 is levied for kids to play a round of golf, $4.00 for adults. The Back Yard is open Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day and September weekends, weather permitting.

Science Museum of Minnesota’s Big Back Yard
120 W. Kellogg Boulevard
St. Paul, MN 55102

Museum Admission:
Adults: $13 ($20 w/ Omnitheater ticket)
Child (4 – 12): $10 ($17 w/ Omnitheater ticket)

Minnesota Children’s Museum members receive free admission each Tuesday 9:30 a.m. to noon as part of the Preschool Playdates program!

Big Back Yard mini golf: $4/member, $5/non-member, ages 3 & under golf free
$5.00 per person after 5 p.m. Thursday – Saturday without museum admission!

Cool Off at Twin Cities Area Splash Pads & Wading Pools

If you’re looking for a few new places to cool off this summer, we’ve put together a master list of all the Twin Cities Metro-area splash pads we could find. The pads are organized by region for your convenience and nearly all are free of charge (except where noted). With a few more elaborate exceptions, these aren’t so much swimming holes as simple spots where you might beat the heat with your youngsters. Stay cool! Please feel free to leave a comment if you know of any other great places to splash in the Metro.


Waite Park Wading Pool & Splash Pad | Open during park hours | Cool off at the newly-renovated Waite Park wading pool and check out its zero-depth entry, new shade structure and interactive water features.

Lake Hiawatha Wading Pool | Daily 10am-9pm (10pm if temp is 85 degrees at 6pm) | Lake Hiawatha Park’s water play space could be more accurately called a wading pool, but there is a zero-depth entry end lined with water jets. The water is about two feet at its deepest and features spraying cattails. There is also a sandy playground with a tot lot onsite.

PicMonkey Collage lake hiawatha

Wabun Park Wading Pool | Open daily during park hours | Similar to Lake Hiawatha’s pool, Wabun also has a zero-depth entry and maxes out at 2 feet — perfect for toddlers, preschoolers, and even those kids just learning to swim. A pair of short bubblers in the shallow end and a spraying arched rock structure keep everyone cool. There’s also a great playground adjacent that’s easy to keep an eye on older kids from and shaded picnic pavilions.

Emerald Park Splash Deck | St Anthony Village | Open during park hours | This pad’s got dumping buckets and colorful arches that dispense cooling sprays. A small playground with a pirate ship to climb and shaded picnic pavilion are conveniently adjacent.

Central Park Splash Deck | St Anthony Village | Less than a mile from Emerald Park is Central Park with a less elaborate splash deck and a smaller playground.

Find a directory of all Minneapolis Parks wading pools here. Pools will be open 10am-9pm daily, May 27-early September, 2017.


Conway Recreation Center | Daily 9am-9pm | This  pad opened June 2013. Enjoy the fountains and new playground equipment.

Lewis Park | Daily 9am-9pm | St. Paul’s first splash pad features fountains and jets plus fun new playground equipment. We love the synthetic turf surfacing on the playground, but I’d advise you to keep your shoes on.

Phalen Park | Daily 9am-9pm | New in 2017! Kids can make a quick dash from the splash pad fountains to the adjacent Phalen Park beach.

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Lynn’s Cake and Candy Supply, Monster Bash Sponsor

Lynn’s Cake & Candy Supplies has been open for over 30 years. When the current owner, Lynn, acquired the business, she ran it from inside her home. Holding business hours in your home can be difficult, and soon it was time to move. The store has been in 4 different locations since the decision to move. Currently, Lynn’s is located at the corner of University Avenue and Mississippi in Fridley, Minnesota. It’s approximately a mile and a half north of 694.



We are so thrilled to have this one of a kind business support our Monster Bash. Let me show you what Lynn’s offers. It’s my favorite birthday party go-to store.


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