Free Twin Cities October Family Events & Activities

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 With 12 children between them, the parents of the Family Fun Twin Cities team sure appreciate a good deal. And October is filled with them – from FREE Halloween events and fall festivals without admission fees to ongoing family art programs, special grand openings and open houses. For hundreds more ideas on how to find free Twin Cities events & entertainment in October, visit our Family Fun Calendar.


10/1: Vertical Endeavors Grand Opening, Bloomington • 11am-6pm • Details: Free climbing, live music, scavenger hunt and prizes.

10/1: First Free Saturday: @ Walker Art Center, Minneapolis • 10am-3pm • Details: Activities are geared towards kids ages 6-12, but don’t let that stop you from bringing your littler ones! Free gallery admission for the whole family.

10/1: Home Depot Kids Workshop: Fire Truck @ TC Home Depot locations • 9am-noon • Details: The first Saturday of each month kids get a kit to build, apron and pin while supplies last; adults must accompany children.

10/1: Drop-in Discoveries: Reps & Phibs @ Tamarack Nature Center, White Bear Lake • 10am-12

10/1: Twin Cities Birth & Baby Expo @ St. Paul Central High School • 9:30am-3pm • Details: Speakers, exhibits and many more free resources for birth and parenting.

10/1: Sanctuary Celebration @ Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary, St. Paul • 1-4pm

10/2: Lyra Baroque Family Concert @ The Baroque Room, St. Paul • 3-4pm

10/4: Free Tuesday @ Washington County Parks, SE Metro • find a listing of parks hereDetails: Explore Washington County Parks with no vehicle permit required the first Tuesday of the month (non-holiday).

10/6: Burnsville Fire Department Open House @ Fire Station #1 • 5:30-8pm • Details: Tours of the fire station and vehicles, demos and kids activities.

10/7: Forever Wild Family Friday: Campfire Stories @ Lebanon Hills Regional Park Visitor Center, Eagan • 7-8:30pm • Details: Drop in for smores and stories.

10/8: 40th Anniversary Celebration @ Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Bloomington Visitor Center • 8am-4pm • Details: Engage in family-friendly activities such as birding, exploration, fishing, hiking and more. Cupcake celebration to be held at 1pm.

10/8-9: Highland Park Water Tower Open House, St. Paul • 9am-5pm • Details: One of only two weekends a year the tower is open for viewing! Check out the fall colors and learn about water utility.

10/8 & 10/22: Lowe’s Build and Grow Clinic @ Twin Cities Lowe’s locations, 10am.

10/9: Twin Cities Marathon – Family Activity Tent @ State Capitol • 8am-12pm

10/9: Minneapolis Institute of Art Family Day: Woven Wonders, Minneapolis • 11am-5pm

10/11: Ballet Tuesdays @ Landmark Center, St. Paul • 12-1pm • Details: Excerpts from the classics, perfect for budding ballerinas.

10/14: Friday Family Movie Night: Zootopia @ Edinborough Park, Edina • 6:30pm

10/18: Target Free 3rd Sunday @ Minnesota Children’s Museum, St. Paul • 9am-5pm • Details: Explore the museum free, including the newest exhibit Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails thanks to the generosity of Target. Keep in mind that the museum is currently under renovation and many exhibits are currently closed.

10/29: Free Ink Day @ Highpoint Center for Printmaking, Minneapolis • 12-4pm • Details: An all-ages intro to the art relief printmaking.

10/29: St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Family Concert: Family Forte @ Ordway Concert Hall, St. Paul


Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis • Daily, 11am-5pm

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St. Paul • Daily, 10am-6pm • suggested donation of $2/child & $3/adult, but all welcome whether or not you choose to donate. Details: Seasonal events include the Fall Flower Show in the Conservatory’s sunken garden, storytime at noon, and animal programs throughout the day.

Saturday Live! @ George Latimer Central Library, St. Paul • 11:15am • Details: Fresh entertainment every Saturday including live music, puppetry, magicians and more.

Lakeshore Learning Free Crafts for Kids  @ TC locations • Ongoing Saturdays, 11am-3pm

Nature Rocks! Open House @ Eden Prairie Outdoor Center, Eden Prairie • 9am-noon • Details: Ongoing Saturdays enjoy free family-friendly activities such as hiking, hands-on interaction with live animals, craft projects and more.

Bell Museum of Natural History, Minneapolis • Ongoing Sundays, Noon-5pm • Details: Explore the very kid-friendly Touch and Feel room and the wildlife dioramas free each Sunday.

October Free Family Fun Days @ Three Rivers Parks
Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park (Brooklyn Park side of the river) Sundays, 1-3pm
Richardson Nature Center • Sundays, 3-4pm


Parent/Tot Time & Preschool Open Gym @ Apple Valley Community Center • Ongoing Mon/Wed/ Fri, 9:30-11am • Ages: 5 & under w/ caregiver • Details: Burn off some energy with other kids, develop motor skills and coordination. A special tot time for tykes ages 2 & under is held from 9-9:30am followed by open play for 5 & under until 11.

MOA Toddler Tuesdays, Mall of America RotundaOngoing Tuesdays, 10am – noonDetails: Live entertainment and activities guaranteed to excite the stroller set. Upcoming event schedule here.

Bloom Room Playdates @ Teeny Bee Boutique, St. Paul • Ongoing Wednesdays, 10:30am-noon • Details: Aimed at kids ages 0-3.

Wee Wednesdays @ Midtown Global Market, MinneapolisOngoing Wednesdays, 10:30am – 1pm Details: In the past, MGM has offered dance troupes, cooking lessons, and live animals to entertain kids. Stay for lunch — there are many tasty ethnic vendors to choose from, and several offer specials on Wednesdays. Park in the adjacent Midtown Exchange Ramp up to 1.5 hrs. free with validation.

Games Galore @ Union Depot, St Paul • Ongoing Wednesdays, 10am-8pm • Details: Play giant-sized versions of classic games including chess, checkers, Connect Four, Dominoes and more.

Lil Explorer Thursdays @ Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St. Paul • Ongoing Thursdays starting 9/8 through April 27, 2017, 10am-noon • Details: The hall between the Visitor Center and the Conservatory is filled with hands-on activities, manipulatives, art projects and games perfect for the 4 & under set. Explore a different theme each week.

Free Children’s Entertainment @ Edinborough Park Amphitheater, Edina • Thursdays, noon.

Drop-in Playtime @ Amma Parenting Center, Edina • Ongoing Fridays, 11:45am-12:45pm • Details: Drop-in play for newborns through walking age.

Top Preschool Storytimes in the Twin Cities – many local bookstores, libraries and other businesses offer FREE storytimes during the week. Click the link to read our picks.

Story Time Any Time

Kid-friendly Twin Cities coffee shops and cafes with dedicated FREE play spaces.

Twin Cities Nature Centers offer FREE admission and hands-on exhibits and outdoor play opportunities most days of the week.

St. Paul Recreation Centers offer free open gym Tot Times at 16 sites across the city.

Minneapolis Recreation Centers also offer free options. Click this link and search “parent tot”.



Dozens of FREE Halloween events have made their way into our Twin Cities Family Halloween Guide. Find our quick list here or click on the graphic below to get all the details:

9/24-10/31: Pumpkin Patch @ Anoka County Farms, Ham Lake • FREE weekday admission

10/8: PunkinMania @ Triangle Park, Mahtomedi

10/13-10/23: Waconia Scarecrow Tour, Waconia

10/15: Great Pumpkin Giveaway @ Richfield Fairwood Park

10/16: Family Art Sunday @ Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts, Fridley

10/22: Pumpkin Fest 2016 @ 50th & France, Edina

10/22: Halloween Storytime @ Barnes & Noble, Rosedale

10/22: Coloring Contest & Halloween Fun @ Rumriver Art Center, Anoka

10/22-23 & 10/28-31: BareBones Halloween Extravaganza @ Hidden Falls Park, St. Paul

10/23: Great Pumpkin Giveaway @ National Sports Center, Blaine
10/23: BooFest on Grand @ Grand Avenue, St. Paul

10/25: Who Haunts Here @ Roseville Library (RCL)

10/25: Who Haunts Here in St. Paul @ George Latimer Library (SPPL)

10/29: Jerry’s Halloween Creepy Crawly @ Jerry’s Foods, Edina

10/29: Jerry’s Halloween Creepy Crawly @ Jerry’s Foods, Woodbury

10/29: Afton’s Annual Trick-or-Treat Trail, St. Croix Trail through Afton

10/29: Harry Potter Halloween Celebration @ Roseville Barnes & Noble

10/29: Anoka’s Grand Day Parade @ Main Street & Fifth Ave, Anoka

10/29: Halloween at the Art Park @ Caponi Art Park, Eagan

10/29: Halloween Comic Fest

10/29 & 31: Halloween Spooktacular at America Girl, Mall of America

10/30: Jerry’s Halloween Creepy Crawly @ Jerry’s Foods, Eden Prairie

10/30: Free Family Fun Days: Halloween HidersRichardson Nature Center, Bloomington

10/30: Great Pumpkin Halloween Festival @ Landmark Center, St. Paul

10/30: Halloween Skating Party @ Burnsville Ice Center

10/31: Halloween Party @ Bloomington Ice Garden

10/31:  Vadnais Heights Community Halloween Party @ Vadnais Heights Commons

10/31:  Frankenstein Read-A-Thon @ Minnesota Center for Book Arts




10/1: Family Fun Saturdays @ Barten Pumpkins, New Prague • 10am-2pm • Family highlights: Play free pumpkin bowling and and take the kids for free pony rides, hay rides, and caricature drawings. FREE admission, also held 10/8.

10/1-2: Pahl’s Market Fall Festival @ Pahl’s Market, Apple Valley • 9am-5pm • Family highlights: Pick a pumpkin, send the kids through the straw maze and corn box, enjoy storytime, face painting and more.

10/3-4: Annual Apple Festival @ Fischer’s Croix Farm Orchard, Hastings • 9:30am-5pm • Family highlights: Activities at the orchard including their wagon rides, straw mountain, farm animals and family-friendly corn maze.

10/8-9: Apple Fest @ Carpenter St. Croix Nature Center, Hastings • 10am-5pm • FREE admission

10/8-9: Stillwater Harvest Fest, Downtown Stillwater • 10am-6pm • Family highlights: Kids activities all day both days, plus don’t miss the pumpkin regatta & giant pumpkin drop (10/11)

10/15: Prospect Park 2nd Annual Harvest Festival @ Prospect Park Garden, Minneapolis • 5-8:30pm • Family highlights: Food fresh from the garden and live entertainment! FREE.

10/16: Wargo Fall Festival @ Wargo Nature Center, Lino Lakes • 2-4pm • Details: Play pioneer games, try cider pressing and take nature walks.

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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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