The MELSA Libraries (Anoka County, Carver County, Dakota County, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Saint Paul, Scott County, Washington County), that the smARTpass Program will be extended another year, beginning September 1, 2017. Library patrons will continue to have this option for free or reduced-price tickets to arts activities and museums. Like the Museum Adventure Pass that went before it, this program is not guaranteed to be around forever. We recommend taking advantage of it but also thanking the venues for their support. It would be sad to lose this resource.
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.
Do you look at our calendar of events and our December round ups and just wonder, “How do I choose?” I do. There are so many choices. Three things stand out because they will not be returning in 2017. Like the (still missed) Holidazzle Parade, these Twin Cities staples will cease to exist (at least for the indefinite future) after the 2016 season. Okay, it’s not actually “now or never” for two of them, but definitely, “now or not for awhile”. If you are having trouble choosing your holiday outings, consider these three “Now or Never” events:
Feel like taking a little drive this weekend? About 45 minutes from the Twin Cities, the town of Scandia has a wonderful Swedish heritage museum and this Saturday is their 25th Annual Fiddle Festival with free activities, music and dancing for all ages. A similar distance from the Metro, in the Taylors Falls area, is the quirky Franconia Sculpture Park with climb-on art and free guided tours every Sunday at 2pm. Or, if you feel like sticking closer to home, we have ideas galore on our Family Fun Calendar. Happy exploring!
SATURDAY, AUGUST 15
Spelmanstamma – Gammelgarden Museum’s 25th Annual Fiddle Festival
@ Gammelgarden Museum
20880 Olinda Trail North, Scandia, MN 55073
Details: About a 45-minute drive from the middle of the Metro is the charming Gammelgarden Museum, a collection of historic buildings that tells the story of Swedish immigrants to the Scandia area. Take a drive up for their annual Fiddle Festival where you can enjoy touring the exhibits for free, immigrant-inspired children’s activities and a whole lot of fiddling and folk dancing. Plus, one of our f
Richfield Farmers Market: Family Activities
@ Veterans Memorial Park
6335 Portland Ave S, Richfield, 55423
Time: Market open 7am-noon
Details: Read-a-Story live performances for families will take place in the community arts building next to the market from 10-11am this Saturday, and the Richfield Historical Society will demonstrate how to make homemade butter from 9am-noon, an easy recipe to make with kids.
40th Annual Vadnais Heights Heritage Days
Most events @ Community Park (641 County Road F) and
Vadnais Heights Commons (655 County Rd F), Vadnais Heights, 55127
Time: Saturday, Aug. 15 • all day & Sunday, Aug. 16 • events until 5pm
Details: Of special interest to kids and their families are the children’s games, held 10:30am-2pm on the Community Park soccer field. Enjoy carnival games, a cake walk, watermelon-eating contest, races and more. Get the full schedule here. All activities are free.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 16Target Free Third Sunday
@ Minnesota Children’s Museum
10 7th St W, St Paul, 55102
Time: 9am – 5pm
Ages: All ages attend free!
Details: Explore the museum, including the new exhibit Arthur’s World thanks to the generosity of Target.
Free Sundays at the Bell Museum
@ Bell Museum of Natural History
10 Church Street SE, Minneapolis
Details: Admission is free every Sunday at The Bell – take the kids into the Touch & See Discovery Room to get hands-on with natural artifacts or take a scavenger hunt through the dioramas. Read about our take on the Bell Museum here.
Free Guided Tour at Franconia
@ Franconia Sculpture Park
29836 Saint Croix Trail, Shafer, MN 55074
Time: 2pm ongoing Sundays through October 25, 2015
Details: An hour-long guided tour throughout the 43-acre sculpture park gives you the inside story on the 100+ sculpture collection – and if the kids aren’t up to an organized tour, much of the art is climbable and interactive so you can let them have at it!
Ready to put the holidays behind you? Read on for some ideas on how to spend the first weekend of the new year on the cheap! And as always, check our Family Fun Calendar for a complete list of what’s going on for families in the Twin Cities this weekend and beyond.
Saturday, January 3, 2014
Walker First Free Saturday: Birthday Bash
@ Walker Art Center
1750 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Time: 10am – 3pm
Details: Come help celebrate the Walker’s 75 years as a public art center with time-traveling performances, artful cupcakes, photo portraits, and special activities designed for kids ages 6-12 (though don’t let that scare you away from bringing your littler ones – all ages will have fun!).
Nature Rocks! Outdoor Center Open House
@ Staring Lake Outdoor Center
13765 Staring Lake Parkway, Eden Prairie, Minnesota 55347
Time: 9am – noon
Details: Enjoy free family-friendly activities such as hiking, interactions with live animals, craft projects and more. The event is held the first Saturday of each month.
Saturday Drop-in Discoveries: Cockatoo Corner
@ Tamarack Nature Center
5287 Otter Lake Road, White Bear Township, MN 55110
Time: 10am – noon
Details: The ongoing program (held the first Saturday of the month now through February 2015) features up-close visits with live animals, including Tamarack’s resident owls, snakes and salamanders. Kids can get hands-on with touchable artifacts, and sample edible treats from the Discovery Hollow garden.
Sunday, January 4, 2014
Free on-going Sunday activities:
Bell Museum Free Sundays
@ The Bell Museum of Natural History
10 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455
Time: Noon – 5pm
Details: Admission is free every Sunday at The Bell – take the kids into the Touch & See Discovery Room to get hands-on with natural artifacts or take a scavenger hunt through the dioramas.
Free Family Fun Days: Feed Me!
@ Carl Kroening Interpretive Center in North Mississippi Regional Park
4900 North Mississippi Drive, Minneapolis, MN 55430
Time: 1 – 3pm
Details: Drop in throughout the afternoon for hands-on family activities. Stay to explore the kid-friendly exhibits and the live animal room.
Time: 1 & 3:30pm
Details: Featuring Allegro, Cantabile, Cantando, and Cantar. A freewill donation will be collected. Note: The Sundays at Landmark program will be held January 4 & January 18.
Don’t forget to check our extensive Family Fun Calendar for a complete listing of events going on this weekend in the Twin Cities! If it’s seasonal events you’re searching for, try our Family Fun Twin Cities Holiday Guide.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 20
Childish Films: Wind in the Willows
at Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN • 10am – 12pm
Ages: Most films are best enjoyed by kids ages 3+ but all ages are welcome.
Details: Doors open at 10am for snacks and hands-on activities, pre-show entertainment begins at 10:30 and films begin closer to 11am.
Live Animals @ Maplewood Nature Center
Maplewood Nature Center, 2659 E 7th St, Maplewood, MN 55119 • 1 – 2:15pm
Ages: Ages 3 & up with an adult present
Details: Touch and see the nature center’s live snake, toad and salamander. Watch them slurp up a treat! No registration necessary. Stay to explore and play with the indoor exhibits.
STEM Saturday @ Ramsey County Library Roseville: Stop Motion Animation
2180 Hamline Ave N, Roseville, MN 55113 • 10:30-11:30am
Details: Try your hand at creating a movie using stop-motion animation and the library’s iPad Lab. Instructors will walk you through the process and be available to help anyone with their film creation.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21
Target Free Third Sunday
at Minnesota Children’s Musem, 10 West 7th Street, St. Paul MN • 9am-5pm
Ages: Appropriate for all ages.
Details: Roam the museum free of charge every third Sunday of each month – take note, it will most likely be crowded. Current visiting exhibits include Adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog and Healthyville.
This week winter is starting to wear on me a little, but I’ve still included two options for getting outside for some winter fun with your family. Both are outdoor celebrations at parks on Saturday evening. You can choose between Minneapolis and St. Paul. If you would rather be indoors, we have some options for that, too. This is also the second and final weekend of Winter Carnival. There are even more activities on our Free Calendar.
Let’s take two of our favorite local shops and make one of the best story times ever! The Red Balloon will be hosting Choo Choo Bob, who will be reading Holy Smokestacks! Here Comes A Steam Engine! — written by one of his very own writers, Brandon Terrell. If you have children who love trains, want to hear a story read by Choo Choo Bob and sing songs, then the Red Balloon is the place to be Saturday morning.
Back in October, I shared this article about Audubon and the Art of Birds. You may recall that only half of the collection was on display. This weekend, the exhibit re-opens with new portions of the collection available to view. As always, the Bell is free on Sundays.
Music Under Glass – Urban Hillbilly QuartetMarjorie McNeely Conservatory, 225 Estabrook Drive, Saint Paul, MN 55103 Sunday February 2, 2014; 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm
This week’s Music Under Glass concert is the Urban Hillbilly Quartet. Their blend of bluegrass and country creates a nice backdrop to stroll the gardens with your family. This is just such a great way to get out of the cold and enjoy a little bit of summer for a couple hours. If you want to come a little early, the zoo closes at 4:00. That will give you just enough time to find a space in the conservatory.
Saturday, February 1, 2014; 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Pre-Registration Available.
The Fire & Ice Festival at Luxton Park celebrates Winter Solstice. I’m not sure why they waited until February for this — maybe because December 21st is too close to Christmas? Or maybe we just need a celebration that incorporates “reflection, renewal, peace, and a time for the glistening snow to purify our air and leave a clean slate” right about now. Whatever the reason for the scheduling, it sounds like a lot of fun with activities that include a recreational fire, horse drawn hayrides, music, crafts, and concessions.
Winter Lock OutBattle Creek Recreational Center, 75 Winthrop Street, St. Paul, MN Saturday, February 1, 2014 6:00 p.m.to 8:00 p.m.
I think the flyer below says it all. Accept you can call 651-501-6347 or for more information.