Farewell to Summer: Readers’ Suggestions for Family Fun

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We hosted a giveaway the other week and asked readers to leave a comment sharing one family activity they hoped to squeeze in before summer’s end. There were so many good suggestions it seemed fitting to incorporate them into a post. Need a little inspiration for that last summer hurrah? Here’s what our readers had to say:

Walker on the Green – artist designed mini-golf

Mini-golfing – which was appropriate, as the readers were vying for tickets to play the Walker on the Green course at Walker Art Center. The cost of 9 holes ($12/adults, $9/kids ages 7-12) or 18 holes ($18/adults, $13.50/kids) is probably the priciest you’ll find around town, but consider this — children under 6 are free with a paid adult, and each ticket includes admission to the Walker galleries. The Walker’s course is also artist-designed and very entertaining for kids. Read more about our family golf night at the Walker here. Keep in mind the course is open through Labor Day, September 1.

For more places to putt before the weather turns, check out this Star Tribune article published back in June.

photo credit: Three Rivers Park District

Elm Creek Swimming Pond – at Elm Creek Park Reserve, the largest parcel in the Three Rivers Park District. The pond has chlorinated water, a sandy beach, concessions, changing facilities and a giant playground nearby. The pond is open 9am – 8pm daily through Labor Day and levies a fee of $4/pp (kids under 1 yr. free) or $12 season pass/pp. There is no charge to enter the park or play on the equipment. 12420 James Deane Parkway, Maple Grove, MN 55369.

Como Town Splash Zone!

Como Town – Filled with rides and attractions to suit the 2 to 12-year-old, Como Town Amusement Park is the ideal size to make a day of it. Don’t miss Hodge Podge Park’s Splash Zone if the weather is steamy, or the Soaring Eagle Zip Ride! Convenient ticket options include purchasing an unlimited ride wristband ($21.95 or $14.95 after 4pm and only $7.95 for adults) or buying a point package (see all options here). Admission to the park itself is free, as is the adjacent and immensely popular Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. Como Town is open weekends through September 28. 1301 Midway Parkway
St Paul, MN 55103

Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum – I loved this suggestion and wished I’d made it out to Walnut Grove myself this summer. The annual Wilder Pageant days are over for the season, but the museum dedicated to the beloved author of the Little House books is open through October. You can find the museum hours here, as well as information about seeking out other landmarks from Laura’s days in the Plum Creek area. 330 8th St., Walnut Grove, MN, 56180.

Surrey bikes at Minnehaha Falls – Pedal through scenic Minnehaha Park, past the Falls made famous by Longfellow, on surrey bikes operated by Wheel Fun Rentals. For a complete list of the contraptions available and their hourly charge, click here. The bikes rent daily through Labor Day and fall weekends through October 19, 11am – 6pm. A second location to rent in Minneapolis is at Lake Nokomis. 4801 S. Minnehaha Park Dr., Minneapolis, MN 55417.

Fort Snelling

Fort Snelling – Explore life on the fort in the early 1800s– before the Twin Cities existed! Peek inside barracks, talk to costumed interpreters, and listen for the roar of the cannon. Labor Day Weekend at Fort Snelling hosts “Minnesota and the First World War”, a new special event that delves into the Fort’s role in training soldiers for World War 1. Hours: Saturday, August 30 – Monday, September 1 from 10am – 5pm. Admission: $11/adults, $9/seniors & active military with ID, $6/kids 6-17, free/children under 5 and MHS members. Fort Snelling is open Saturdays 10am – 5pm, Sept. – Oct. 200 Tower Ave, St Paul, MN 55111.

photo credit: Three Rivers Park District

Gale Woods Farm – There are plenty of opportunities left to experience Saturday Mornings on the Farm at Gale Woods. The barn will be open, the animals ready for their close-ups, and your help will be appreciated for seasonal chores. Cost is $5/pp with a 20% discount on groups of 4 or more. Hours: Saturdays through September 27, 9:30am – 12pm. 7210 County Road 110 W., Minnetrista, MN 55364.

Paddleboarding – Great idea! Try Wheel Fun Rentals at Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet, and Lake Nokomis (through Labor Day!) in Minneapolis or keep Lake Phalen in St. Paul in mind for next summer (as rentals are now closed).

Drive-in movies – I’d keep Vali-Hi Drive-In in mind for a date night, though you can’t beat the price of a kid’s ticket – only a buck for children 6 – 12 and free for kids under 5. $8.50 per adult is good for three movies, cash only. Box office opens at 7pm Fri-Sat and 7:30pm Sun-Thurs. Movies start at dusk at the last remaining drive-in theater in the Twin Cities. 11260 Hudson Blvd. N., Lake Elmo, MN, 55042.


The Minnesota State Fair – We’d be remiss not to mention the final bash of the summer, but since we’ve been yammering on about it nearly nonstop lately, I thought I’d hide it here at the bottom. Last, but definitely NOT least! Head out to the Minnesota State Fair August 21 – September 1 and be sure to check out some of our tips before you go.

Thanks to all the readers who sent in their suggestions; we’re happy to pass them along! Enjoy the final days of the season.

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About the author

Anne Kingston

If we left it up to Anne to write her own bio, it would never get posted. She doesn't enjoy talking about herself, but Anne does love exploring the Twin Cities with her family and sharing her finds here. She, her husband and their four kids are lifelong residents of St. Paul.


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