TWIN CITIES SPECIAL EVENTS – FREE
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: 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.
10/2: 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 here • Details: 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.
10/18: 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: St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Family Concert: Family Forte @ Ordway Concert Hall, St. Paul
ONGOING OCTOBER WEEKENDS – FREE
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.
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.
ONGOING OCTOBER WEEKDAYS – FREE
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.
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, Minneapolis • Ongoing 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.
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.
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.
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”.
FREE TWIN CITIES FAMILY HALLOWEEN EVENTS & ACTIVITIES
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:
10/8: PunkinMania @ Triangle Park, Mahtomedi
10/13-10/23: Waconia Scarecrow Tour, Waconia
10/22: Pumpkin Fest 2016 @ 50th & France, Edina
10/22: Coloring Contest & Halloween Fun @ Rumriver Art Center, Anoka
10/22-23 & 10/28-31: BareBones Halloween Extravaganza @ Hidden Falls Park, St. Paul
10/29: 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: Anoka’s Grand Day Parade @ Main Street & Fifth Ave, Anoka
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
10/31: Halloween Party @ Bloomington Ice Garden
10/31: Vadnais Heights Community Halloween Party @ Vadnais Heights Commons
OCTOBER FAMILY FALL FESTIVAL CALENDAR – FREE ADMISSION
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: 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.