1
Twin Cities Apple Orchards: Eastern Metro
2
Twin Cities Apple Orchards — Southeastern Fun
3
Family Fun Twin Cities Guide to Apple Orchards
4
FFTC’s Guide to Family Music Classes
5
10 Best Bets for Live Family Entertainment at the 2017 Minnesota State Fair
6
Where To View the Solar Eclipse in the Twin Cities – Plus Other Fun Events
7
FFTC’s Guide to Dance Studios in the Twin Cities
8
30 Things To Do in the Twin Cities Before Labor Day
9
Tot Time Open Swim at Twin Cities Pools & Aquatic Centers
10
Get Your FREE 2017 Museum Day Tickets

Twin Cities Apple Orchards: Eastern Metro

Apple Orchards East Metro

For a list of orchards spanning the four corners of the Twin Cities metro area, visit our FFTC Guide to Twin Cities Apple Orchards.

TWIN CITIES EAST METRO APPLE ORCHARDS

Our first installment of the Family Fun Twin Cities Apple Orchard Guide looks to the East. There are some heavy hitters out there: Aamodt’s Apple Farm in Stillwater has been open close to 70 years. Pine Tree Apple Orchard of White Bear Lake is well-known for its bakery menu. And Afton Apple Orchard of Hastings sprawls over 190 acres into the pastoral country. Read on to find out how they stack up – and why visiting an apple orchard is one of my family’s favorite ways to spend a fall day.

afton apple orchardAamodt’s Apple Farm

Choosing to head to Aamodt’s on a gorgeous fall weekend is also agreeing to spend that day shouldered up against half the Metro. Plus a bus tour or three. At least, this was our experience a few years ago. Part of the popularity of the orchard is due to the winery on property. Personally, I would have loved to explore St. Croix Vineyards, but the children in the party had other ideas. They made a break for the toddler-sized John Deere trikes and giant hay bales. But wait! Don’t forget to bring cash for the activities: Aamodt’s charges small fees for the trikes, hay maze, a tractor-pulled kiddie train, and hayrides into the orchard. (The fees don’t seem quite so small when you’ve got a larger-than-average family, however.) Admission to the orchard itself is free as is the small goat petting farm. Read More

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.

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

Orchard Notes
Location:
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.


Family Fun Twin Cities Guide to Apple Orchards

Family Fun Twin Cities Guide to Apple Orchards

Twin Cities-area apple orchards have already begun throwing their doors open to usher in the picking season! Find an old favorite or a new destination to spend a fall day from our Guide below.

Come join us at our 3rd Annual Orchard Crawl, hosted by Fischer’s Croix Farm Orchard, on Sunday, September 24, 2017!

Read More

FFTC’s Guide to Family Music Classes

Family Music classes aren’t simply about introducing your child to music education.  A big part of it is learning how to play with your child.  In the Twin Cities we are blessed to have so many different options. These classes are a great way to get out of the house with a specific purpose – to enjoy an hour together with your little ones.
singing music

Advertorial Article

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10 Best Bets for Live Family Entertainment at the 2017 Minnesota State Fair

We’re just over two weeks out from opening day of the 2017 Minnesota State Fair and I’m in my element writing about my most favorite time of the year. I love the planning and the anticipation, the scouting out of new foods and attractions, and the pulling together of a list I’ll check off with my family over the many days we’ll spend together. Because for us, the State Fair is truly a family affair. I’ve been bringing my four children along since their infancy (for better or for worse.). And that is why I feel confident in sharing this list of 10 of our favorite live entertainment options at the Fair to enjoy together.

10 FAMILY-FRIENDLY LIVE ACTS Read More

Where To View the Solar Eclipse in the Twin Cities – Plus Other Fun Events

On August 21st, the U.S. is going to see the biggest solar eclipse since I was in early grade school. A lot of parents are young enough that they don’t remember the last one, so this can be an exciting family event for everyone. It will run from approximately 11:45 to 1:00 p.m. While we won’t get a total eclipse here in Minnesota, we’ll still get enough to make it interesting. If you won’t be traveling to see the total eclipse but still want to get in on the fun, we do have a few places to view in the Twin Cities. This is what we’ve found so far. Leave us a comment if you know of other viewing areas

Where View the Solar Eclipse in the Twin Cities - Plus Other Fun Events

Standard Disclaimer: Don’t Look Directly at the Sun! Check with your local library. Some are giving out eclipse viewing glasses for free. Supplies are limited.

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FFTC’s Guide to Dance Studios in the Twin Cities

There must be hundreds of dance studios in the Twin Cities.  Family Fun Twin Cities has collected some of the most unique ones, and we’re excited to share these with you.

Dance Studios

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30 Things To Do in the Twin Cities Before Labor Day

30D

Ideas to help you make the most of what’s left of summer! One each day through Labor Day. Read More

Tot Time Open Swim at Twin Cities Pools & Aquatic Centers

tot time open swim

Como Regional Pool

So you’ve got a little one who’d prefer to become accustomed to the pool without those periodic (and unintentional) slaps of water in the face from sharing space with the big kids? The following Twin Cities pools are offering special tot times this summer solely for the purpose of helping youngsters get comfortable in the water: Read More

Get Your FREE 2017 Museum Day Tickets

In 2017, Smithsonian Museum Day is Saturday, September 23rd. On this day, visitors can get two free tickets to participating museums. Tickets are available while supplies last starting August 25th through the Smithsonian website. Minnesota always has several participating museum (not always the same museums). Some of these museums are cheap year round and many require a road trip. Each year, we lay them all out for you here, listing the museum and its address, an approximate drive-time from the Twin Cities, and the prices you would pay any other day.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday/venues/museum-day-live-2017/?state=MN&zip_code=&name=

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