Free Twin Cities September Family Events & Activities

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9/2: Forever Wild Family Friday: Scavenger Hunt  @ Lebanon Hills Regional Park Visitor Center, Eagan • 7-8:30pm • Details: Get out as a family and hike the fall trails.

FFTC is proudly sponsored by

9/3: First Free Saturday Stage & Screen: Folk Tail @ 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.

9/3: Home Depot Kids Workshop: Back to School Whiteboard @ 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.

9/3: Nature Rocks! Open House @ Eden Prairie Outdoor Center, Eden Prairie • 9am-noon • Details: The first Saturday of each month enjoy free family-friendly activities such as hiking, hands-on interaction with live animals, craft projects and more.

9/3: Starlight Cinema: The Avengers @ Ojibway Park, Woodbury • Activities start at 6pm, movie at 8:15pm.

9/6: Free Tuesday @ Washington County Parks • find a listing of parks hereDetails: Explore Washington County Parks free on the first Tuesday of every month (non-holiday). No vehicle permit required.

9/10: KIDSTOCK! @ MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis • 10am-12pm open house w/ performances at 10 & 11am • Details: Designed for kids 8 & under, the musical open house features sample classes, crafts, snacks and live performances.

9/10: Minneapolis Monarch Festival @ Lake Nokomis, 49th & Woodlawn • 10am-4pm • Family highlights: Art-making activities, guided nature walks, music and monarch exhibits.

9/10 & 9/24: Lowe’s Build and Grow Clinic @ Twin Cities Lowe’s locations, 10am.

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

9/11: Camouflage Challenge @ Eastman Nature Center, Dayton • 1-3pm

9/17: Field Trip Art Fair @ Silverwood Park, St. Anthony • 11am-5pm • Details: A full day of art-making activities, live music, lawn games, canoeing and more.

9/17: Storytelling Hour @ Mississippi Market, E. 7th St. Paul • 10-11am • Details: Stories, snacks and crafts.

9/17: Curiosity Day Storytime with Curious George @ Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul • 10:30am Details: A fun meet-and-greet, crafts, stories and songs.

9/17-18: Free Introduction to Hockey @ Community Activity Center, Brooklyn Park • Sat: 1:30-2:30pm, Sun: 5-6pm • Details: For ages 4-10; skates, helmet and gloves required.

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

9/19: Free 3rd Mondays @ Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska • 12-6pm • Details: For family-time inspiration at the Arb, check out 10 Things For Kids: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

9/24: Public Lands Day @ Hidden Falls Regional Park, St. Paul • 11am-3pm • Details: Bring the family for free canoeing, archery, fishing, a climbing wall and outdoor games.


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.

Free Family Flicks: @ Theatres at Mall of America • Ongoing Saturdays, 10am

Lakeshore Learning Free Crafts for Kids  @ TC locations • Ongoing Saturdays, 10am-3pm.

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

Drop-in Discoveries @ Tamarack Nature Center, White Bear Lake • Ongoing Saturdays, 10am-12pm. Stay to play in the amazing outdoor nature playground Discovery Hollow!

Discovery Hollow - Bald Eagle-Otter Lakes Regional Park

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.

September 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


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.

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.

Free Tuesday Nights @ Minnesota History Center, St. Paul • Ongoing Tuesdays, 3-8pm

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.

Parent Mixer & Playdate @ Pacifier North Loop, Minneapolis • Ongoing Wednesdays, 10:15am • Details: Meet other new moms, swap advice and get feedback, plus baby weigh-ins. Free; registration requested.

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 • Ongoing Thursdays starting 9/15, 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.

Coffee Shop Collage

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”.



9/7-11: Burnsville Fire MusterFamily highlights: Don’t miss the fire truck water display (9/9), annual community and fire truck parade and fireworks (9/10).

9/9-11: James J. Hill Days, Downtown Wayzata • Family highlights: $5 cruises on the Steamboat Minnehaha, a carnival, parade (9/11, 2pm) and fireworks (9/10, dusk).

9/9-11: Inver Grove Heights DaysFamily highlights: Community Family Fun Night (9/9, 5:30pm), kids treasure hunt, grand parade and fireworks (9/10).

9/10: Otsego Prairie Festival @ Prairie Park, Otsego • Family highlights: Catch firetruck displays, a carnival and fireworks at dusk.

9/16-17: Bloomington Heritage Days @ Nativity of Mary Catholic Church grounds • Family highlights: Live music and performing arts, parade (9/17, 10:30am).

9/17: Excelsior Apple Day, Downtown Excelsior • 9am-10pm • Family highlights: Tots will love the Happy Apple Kids Corner, parents may like the artisan vendors, music and street dance.

9/17: Golden Valley Arts & Music Festival @ City Hall Campus • Family highlights: Family-friendly live entertainment, games, art activities and artist vendors to browse.

9/17: Wild Rice Festival @ Harriet Alexander Nature Center, Roseville • Family highlights: Games for all, activities with Gibbs Farm, Native American dancing and drumming, hands-on demos and much more.

9/17-18: Lakeville Art Festival, Downtown Lakeville • Family highlights: 70+ exhibitors and a “Young at Art” tent for youth.

9/24: Fall Raptor Release @ Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center, Hastings • Family highlights: The Raptor Center releases rehabbed birds at 11am & 2pm plus wagon rides, kids activities and educational displays.

9/24: Taste of Northeast @ St. Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral, Minneapolis • 11am-9pm • Family highlights: Live music, children’s activities and entertainment.

9/24-25: Afton Art in the Park, Town Square Park • Family highlights: Art vendors and Franconia Sculpture Park’s free art pavilion for kids with fall crafts and spin art.

9/24-25: Lone Oak Days Fall Festival @ Holz Farm, Eagan • Family highlights: Old fashioned fun farm includes pedal tractors, kids coin hunt, animals in the barn, fun farm chores & more.


apple orchard banner

Aamodt’s Apple Farm, Stillwater • July 30-Oct., 2016
Hours: 10am-6pm daily, PYO 10am-5pm daily • Notes: Limited free kids activities, fees for additional activities and PYO apples.

Applecrest Orchards, Hugo • Sept.-Nov., 2016
Hours: Daily, 9am-7pm • Notes: Additional fee for pre-picked apples only, no PYO.

Applewood Orchard, Lakeville • Aug. 27-Oct., 2016
Hours: Daily, 10am-6pm • Notes: Limited free kids activities, additional fees for activities and PYO apples.

Apple Jack Orchards, Delano • Aug. 15-Oct., 2016
Hours: August, Mon-Sat 10am-5pm; Sept-Oct, daily 10am-6pm • Notes: Admission and a limited amount of activities (small playground, petting farm and hay bales) are free; most additional activities require a fee. PYO apples are not available this year.

Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center Orchard, Hastings
Open: Daily, 8am-4:30pm (nature center hours) • Notes: Pre-picked apples only.

Deardorff Orchards & Vineyard, Waconia • Aug. 27-Oct. 31, 2016
Hours: Orchard, Tues-Sun, 10am-6pm & Winery Tasting Room, Winery hours: Friday 12-6pm, Saturday 11-6pm, Sunday 12-6pm. • Notes: Free family activities, food and PYO apples available for purchase.

PicMonkey Collage deardorff orchards

Fall Harvest Orchard, Montrose • Aug. 20-Oct. 30, 2016
Hours: Thurs-Sun, 10am-6pm • Notes: Many children’s activities, small fee for additional activities and PYO apples.

Fisher’s Croix Farm Orchard, Hastings • Sept.-Nov., 2016
Hours: Tues-Sun, 9:30am-5pm • Notes: Fees for additional family activities.

LuceLine Orchard, Watertown • Sept. 3-Oct., 2016
Weekends, 10am-4pm • Notes: some free children’s activities, fees for additional activities.

Minnetonka Orchards, Minnetrista • Aug. 20-Oct., 2016
Hours: Daily, 10am-7pm • Notes: Admission is free on weekdays, additional small fee for activities.

PicMonkey Collage minnetonka orchards

Pine Tree Apple Orchard, White Bear Lake • Salesroom open Aug. 19-Feb., 2017
Hours: Click here for current hours • Notes: Free admission, additional fees for activities. Apples are pre-picked only.

Pleasant Valley Orchard, Taylors Falls • Sept. 3-Oct., 2016
Hours: Daily, 10am-6pm • Notes: limited free children’s activities, extra fee for PYO apples available on select weekends only.

Sponsel’s Minnesota Harvest, Jordan • Aug. 20-Oct., 2016
Hours: Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm & Sat-Sun, 9am-6pm • Notes: Limited free children’s activities, additional fee for PYO apples.

Sunrise River Farm, Wyoming • Sept.-Oct., 2016
Hours: Tues-Sun, 10am-6pm • Notes: Free admission and kids activities, additional fee for PYO.

Victoria Valley Orchard, Shoreview • Sept. 9-Oct., 2016
Hours: 9am-6pm • Notes: Pre-picked apples only.

Whistling Well Farm, Hastings • Sept. 3-Oct., 2016
Hours: Daily, 9am-6pm • Notes: Limited free children’s activities.

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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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