It doesn’t have to break the bank to entertain the family away from home in the Twin Cities! You’ll find July’s seasonal and ongoing events and activities listed here that all cost $5-$6 or less per person to attend. For more ideas on budget and FREE family outings, check our Family Fun Calendar or hop over to our Free Twin Cities July Family Events & Activities page. Read More
How will you be celebrating Mom this Mother’s Day? If your plans include time spent together, here are some ideas around town to make her day extra special.
We also have some simple DIY gifts and cards the kids can make.
MOTHER’S DAY EVENTS – FREE FOR THE FAMILY
5/2 & 5/4: MayDay Build Workshops | In the Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theatre, Minneapolis • 7-9pm • Come help create floats for the annual MayDay celebration in Powderhorn Park. Artists will guide volunteers in creating a piece of their own or a contribution to a parade float.
I think, like a lot of parents, I dream of having a home that is more of a cozy little landing pad for our adventures than a storage facility for our stuff. So I have been collecting up ideas for clutter-free gifts of adventure through membership to museums and other fun places.
If you are an out-of-town grandparent, membership gifts are ideal. Your grandchildren will look forward to your visits so you can enjoy your gift together; plus they will enjoy it with their parents the rest of the year. Furthermore, your children will tell all their friends that you are so much cooler than the grandparents who bought loud, battery-powered, plastic toys that end up in the garbage heap we call a toy box. Trust me on this. Read More
Want to go to a Christmas concert? There is a plethora for you to choose from from Instrumental, Choral, Rock, Classical, Dance, etc. Read More
When: Ongoing Sat Nov 5-Feb 25, 2017 • 6-9pm
Cost: $15/pp, family rates available, children 4 & under FREE
Details: A special holiday tradition at the Twin City Model Railroad Museum, Night Trains season magically transforms the museum layouts. Buildings and street lights glow, and throughout the museum the layouts are adorned with Christmas lights.
Nature Arts & Crafts Fair @ Richardson Nature Center, Bloomington
When: Saturday, Nov 5 • 10am-3pm
Cost: Free admission
Details: Local artisans of jewelry, felting, painting and more display their wares; afterward enjoy the park reserve. All vendor fees donated to the VEAP-Bloomington Food Shelf.
Santa’s Arrival Ceremony @ Mall of America
Details: The holiday season officially kicks off at Mall of America with Santa’s Arrival Ceremony. Santa will be greeted in holiday style with live performances.
When: Sunday, Nov 13 • noon-5pm
Details: Explore Nordic holiday traditions, see the historic Turnblad Mansion decked out for the season, and join in family craft activities. Included with museum admission.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical @ Stages Theatre Company, Hopkins
When: Runs Nov 18-Dec 28, 2016
Cost: $25/pp, $5/lap passes for children ages 3-4, under 3 are free. Nov 20 is pay-what-you can day for this particular performance. These special accessible tickets are available at the box office only.
Holiday Open House featuring Santa & Albert’s Arrival and Annual Holiday Play
@ Bachman’s on Lyndale, Minneapolis
When: Saturday, Nov 19 • 9am-4pm
Details: Join us as we welcome Santa and his sleigh Saturday morning and kick off the holiday season! Visit Bachman’s on Lyndale for treats, shopping, and season’s greetings during store hours. Kids can visit the live reindeer corral and stop by the craft counter for crafts and activities. Cookies, juice, and coffee available for snacking! And of course, see the annual Santa & Albert holiday play at 10am, 11:30am, 1pm and 3:30pm.
Rice Park Tree Lighting Ceremony, St. Paul
When: Nov 19 • 5pm
Details: Rice Park sparkles with thousands of twinkling lights! The tree will be up through January 1, 2017. The other lights will stay up and illuminate the park through the end of the Winter Carnival.
Holiday Lights in the Park @ Phalen Regional Park, St. Paul
When: Runs nightly Nov 22-Jan 1, 2017 • 5-10pm
Cost: $10 cash per vehicle at gate or $8 online ticket only
Details: All of the net proceeds from the event will be distributed to a community non-profit. 60 holiday light sculptures and animated displays entertain guests as they cruise through the park in the evening hours.
When: Wednesday, Nov 23 • 6-6:45pm
Details: Making an appearance are local choirs, refreshments, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, 200,000+ lights, and a 30-foot-tall tree.
Holidazzle begins @ Loring Park, Minneapolis
When: Begins Friday, Nov 25 • 5-9m
Details: Holidazzle has moved to Loring Park, is offering free admission to all, and there will be vendors, activities, food, and fireworks for all. Holidazzle will run Thurs-Sun from 5-9pm on Thursdays & Fridays and 11am-9pm Saturdays & Sundays through Dec. 22, 2016.
When: Friday, Nov 25 – Sunday, Nov 27
Details: Family highlights include the Grand Lighting & Santa Parade (11/26), Christmas at the Folsom House (11/25-27), storytime with Mrs. Claus and wagon rides.
Tree Lighting Ceremony @ 50th & France, Edina
When: Saturday, Nov 26
Details: Holiday Market is open 12-5pm followed by tree lighting, carolers and visits with Santa.
One way to feel especially in the holiday spirit is to listen the sounds of the season or see the beauty of the season. One of my favorite ways to accomplish this is by attending a Christmas-y performance.
The Twin Cities has a bevy of performances to enjoy and it can get very confusing. We’ve narrowed down the selections for those that are especially family friendly. Read More
This is exactly how my kids refer to the American Swedish Institute: “Going to play in the castle!” And while on the facade it’s more imposing stone fortress than Disney fantasy, this castle has got plenty for children to enjoy.
Such as the aptly-named Kids at the Castle program. Hosted the third Friday of each month, the program is aimed at kids ages 2-5 and involves simple activities that typically tie into ASI’s current exhibitions. I was pleasantly surprised the day I visited that the program, which is held before the museum opens to the public, also included a structured circle time with music and movement, and a themed storytime.
After the event, we were free to explore the nooks and crannies of the Turnblad Mansion. On the don’t-miss list for families with kids:
- the play nook high in the turrets of the castle. Stocked with a pretend café, picture books and an art project, we could easily have spent hour in that room alone.
- Interactive, family-friendly exhibits. Click here for the latest.
- ASI’s Outdoor Playcart – props for outdoor play and discovery on the lawn. Pack a lunch to bring along and eat outside while the kids play or purchase food from the FIKA cafe. (Seasonal.)
- Find Tomte’s mailbox and write the Swedish Christmas elf a letter.
- When my son was 6, I purchased ($2 at the time) a special children’s tour booklet, available in the gift shop, to make the most of his visit.
Location: American Swedish Institute
2600 Park Avenue Minneapolis, 55407
Next Kids at the Castle: 3rd Friday of the month through 2017, 9-10am
Tomte, the Swedish Christmas Elf, lives part time at the American Swedish Institute! Visit him for story time at ASI’s Julmarknad (Christmas Market) on Saturday, Dec. 6.
Guest Post by Laura Cederberg from the American Swedish Institute.
Christmas is a magical time in Sweden and the Nordic region. There’s no place on earth that’s more of a winter wonderland and the darkest months are filled with light and joy thanks to many special traditions. Read More
Not that we’re necessarily suggesting you go cheap for Mother’s Day – but we’re pleased to provide you with a list of places that are saluting moms this weekend with free admission and/or activities:
- Minnesota Zoo: Moms receive free admission Saturday & Sunday sponsored by Macy’s (May 10 & 11).
- Minnesota Children’s Museum: Moms (and grandmothers!) admitted free on Sunday, May 11. The fun exhibit Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice is currently in its final weeks.
- Science Museum of Minnesota: Celebrate Mother’s Day with free admission to the Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibit and Omnitheater with any paid admission (available in person at the box office or by calling 651-221-9444) OR free admission to the museum with reservations to the Science Museum’s Mother’s Day Brunch (prices here).
- American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis: Moms (and grandmothers!) are admitted free on Sunday, May 11. Check out the Papercut! exhibit or enjoy a special Mother’s Day smorgasboard ($20-$50).
- Oliver Kelley Farm, Elk River: This 1860’s-era working farm grants free admission to mothers with accompanying child on Saturday & Sunday (May 10 & 11).
Venues that are always free:
- Minneapolis Institute of Arts: Family Day, Sunday, May 11. Make a paper flower bouquet for someone special, start a mini-garden and hunt for garden scenes in the MIA’s galleries.
- Landmark Center: St. Paul Civic Symphony presents a free Mother’s Day concert, 1pm.
- Como Park Zoo & Conservatory: The annual Mother’s Day Bonsai Show takes place Saturday & Sunday (May 10 & 11). Read Joy’s review of it here.
Other ideas for Mother’s Day fun:
- The Bakken Museum, Minneapolis: This month’s Free Second Saturday is all about Wind & Weather. 11am – 4pm.
- Creative Kidstuff: Make-and-take thumbprint necklace keepsake craft scheduled for all locations Saturday, May 10, 10am – 1pm.
- Wild Rumpus Books: Project Kid Craft Day – paper carnations for someone special! Saturday, May 11, 11am.
- Craftstravaganza, Minnesota State Fairgrounds: 100% handmade goods plus free workshops and activities throughout the day. 10am – 5pm.
And remember, the entire month of May is Minnesota Museum Month so keep in mind all of our state’s engaging museums and the special events that have been scheduled to celebrate it. Check back on Family Fun Twin Cities for updates!