The FFTC Team’s city kids love the opportunity to visit farms not much further than their urban backyards! Browse the favorites below for ideas on where your own little ones can get up close to animals, play at farm chores, pick their own produce, and learn through living history activities: Read More
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
Nature Playgrounds are a growing trend for good reason; scientists keep finding connections between nature to child development and well-being.
It used to be, according to my children, that in order for a park to be authentic, it needed at least a slide and a set of swings. I was less enthusiastic about taking them to places like state parks simply because I felt I’d have to go the extra mile to “prove” that playing and exploring in a natural environment could be just as fun as clambering around a commercially manufactured jungle gym. Don’t get me wrong – the local playgrounds can be a lot of fun, too. And some are really inventive! But I have to say that I get a deeper satisfaction from watching them play in a more natural setting: digging, figuring out how to climb that tree, following paths, building forts. They become immersed in tossing rocks into the water, scouting frogs, collecting wildflowers. They also gradually forget that “playing at the park” requires a plastic treehouse.
So here’s what I find really cool: incorporating natural elements into new playground designs seems to be the trend. More places are popping up where kids get the opportunity to interact with the landscape and, perhaps, develop a greater appreciation for it. Here are
seven places I’ve discovered that have those goals in mind:
As soon as I can smell the wet earth and the sun is still shining at 6pm, I’m ready for a spring farm fix. Come on out and meet the fuzzy new arrivals — lambs, chicks, piglets, goats and all the rest — plus farmhands of all ages can partake in waking up the barns for spring.
TWIN CITIES AREA FARM ACTIVITIES
Farm Babies | Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley • 3/24-4/30, 9am-4pm • included in Zoo admission of $12-$18/pp + parking • In addition to getting hands-on with the babies, there are tons of other activities to enjoy out at the Wells Fargo Family Farm area of the zoo. Get the full lineup here.
Saturday Mornings on the Farm | Gale Woods Farm, Minnetrista • Ongoing Saturdays 4/1-5/27, 9:30am-noon • $5/pp • Calling all farmhands! Help out with chores, spend time with the animals and participate in other spring farm activities. Closed-toe shoes required. Strollers not allowed in the barn or around animals. Read More
Earth Day Network’s first Earth Day was in 1970. It’s continuing mission — “to broaden and diversify the environmental movement worldwide and to mobilize it as the most effective vehicle to build a healthy, sustainable environment, address climate change, and protect the Earth for future generations.”
For us, it’s a chance to teach our children about good stewardship of our planet, while getting out and enjoying the long-awaited spring. I think the spring thing may be why the Twin Cities Metro does not skimp on Earth Day activities and events. We have a sampling of Earth Day family events to get out with your kids and celebrate our environment this month.
Thanks to this month’s sponsor Rockin’ Jump! Check them out at FFTC’s Rockin’ Party on April 15.
Click here for more Rockin' Party InformationClick here for more information.
March is maple syrup month in Minnesota, and with an abundance of nature centers around the Twin Cities, we have ample opportunities to learn about and participate in the maple syruping process. Maple syrup events usually contain one or more of the following activities: tapping the maple trees, collecting the sap, boiling it into syrup, and the best part — according to my kids, anyway — a sample of the finished product.
Click through for a list of upcoming maple syrup events across the Twin Cities Metro. Read More
Bundle up and head outside for these classic fall family events, heavy on the apples and autumn colors. All of these activities come with a fee attached, but we tried to pick ones that we thought were reasonable for families. For our list of FREE weekend events, check over here and for our complete Family Fun Calendar for this weekend and beyond, head over here. Thanks for stopping by!
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 4
Fall on the Farm
Where: Eidem Homestead, 4345 101st Ave N., Brooklyn Park, MN , 55444
When: 12 – 3pm
Cost: $6/adults, $4/kids 4-12
Ages: Appropriate for all ages
Details: It’s harvest time on the historic Eidem Homestead! Join in for harvesting activities, cider pressing and pumpkin carving.
Where: Dodge Nature Center, Farm Entrance at 1701 Charlton Street, West St. Paul, MN
When: 1 – 2:30pm
Cost: $7/pp or $20/family (non-member), $5/pp or $15/family (member)
Ages: Designed for all ages
Details: Hike to the apple orchard for tastings and press them for fresh juice. Educational for all ages. Pre-registration is required.
SATURDAY & SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4 – 5
Where: The Landing – Minnesota River Heritage Park, 2187 Highway 101 East
Shakopee, MN 55379
When: October 4 – 5 • 10am – 5pm
Cost: $5/adults, $3/ages 2 – 17, 65+
Ages: Appropriate for all ages
Details: Learn how German immigrants harvested and processed apples, play games and ride a horse-drawn trolley.
Weekend Family Fun: Fantastic Foliage
Where: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum‘s Learning Center
When: October 4 – 5 • 12 – 4pm
Cost: $13/ages 13+
Ages: Appropriate for all ages
Details: Learn about leaves and why they turn those gorgeous colors in fall, participate in leafy crafts and complete a scavenger hunt. Take time to explore the Arboretum grounds and, kids, spend some time in the Green Play Yard.
Fall Color Tram Tour
Where: Eastman Nature Center at Elm Creek Park Reserve, 12400 James Deane Pkwy, Maple Grove, MN 55369
When: October 4 – 5 • Tours run on the hour from 1 – 5pm.
Cost: $5/pp, 20% discount for groups of 4+
Ages: Best for kids who can tolerate a decent ride.
Details: Registration required (763.559.6700 only). Enjoy the fall foliage from the comfort of a tram. Take in an apple cidering demonstration Sunday only from 1 – 4pm.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 5
Wood Lake Sunday Special: Apple Cidering
Where: Wood Lake Nature Center, 6710 Lakeshore Dr, Richfield, MN
When: 1 – 4pm
Ages: Appropriate for all ages
Details: Mill and press apples into cider.
Farm life is foreign and exotic to my kids. They, like probably most other children of parents reading this post, have spent their entire (albeit young) lives within the confines of city blocks. And they never tire of opportunities to take a break from the traffic and get a little more rural. Luckily, you don’t have to travel too far to get a taste of the farm in our cities. In some cases, the farm might even be in your own neighborhood. Try visiting one of these spots to play farmer (or pioneer) for the day: Read More
American Swedish Institute, Park Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN, United States Saturday, January 25, 2014; 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m Admission: $9 adults, $7 ages 62 +, $5 ages 6-18 and full-time students with ID. Free for ASI members and kids ages 5 and under
This is the opening weekend of ASI’s exhibit “Papercut! The Incredible Psaligraphy of Karen Bit Vejle”; and on Saturday, the artist herself will be leading tours at 10:00 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. These are 30 minute tours which is kind
of a nice length for kids. Tours are included with museum admission and don’t require reservations – which means, if you are reading this on Saturday morning, you can still go check this out. It might be fun to come home and cut up the junk mail when you are done viewing this exhibit. Image Credit: American Swedish Institute.
Dodge Nature Center, 365 Marie Ave, West St. Paul, MN 55118 Saturday, January 25, 2014; 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Admission: Adults $5.00; Children $5.00; Families $20.00; Members; FREE for children ages 2 and under Pre-Register Here
Winter isn’t over yet and here’s another chance to enjoy it as a family. Frosty Fun Festival activities include ice skating (but bring your own skates), sledding and kick-sledding, ice bowling, ice mini-golf, and snowshoeing, sledding hill and boot hockey, a bonfire and concessions for sale with hot beverages, hot dogs, and snacks, a medallion hunt with prizes, winter art activities, puppet theater, the Dodge Olympics and Reindeer led sleigh ride ($5/family).
Image Credit: Dodge Nature Center
Saints North Inline & Roller Skating Center, 1818 Gervais Court, Maplewood, MN 55109 Saturday, January 25, 2014; 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Admission: $6.00 or $5.00 with a Winter Carnival Button (Skate Rental is extra)
Sick of all the outdoor activities I’ve been posting about? How about a summer-themed Family Roller Skating Night? To go with the theme, there will be special summer themed games and prizes. But, since it is part of Winter Carnival, there will be a visit from the Junior Royalty.
James J. Hill House, 240 Summit Avenue,St. Paul, MN 55102 Saturday, January 25, 2014 and Sunday, Januar 26, 2014; 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday; 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday Fee: $9 adults, $7 seniors and college students, $6 children ages 6-17, free for MNHS members. $1 discount with a Winter Carnival button. Reservations: recommended, call 651-297-2555
Celebrate Winter Carnival historically by visiting the James J. Hill House. You can participate and learn about both the indoor and outdoor winter indoor activities of the Hill family as well as view displays of Winter Carnival memorabilia. Some of the indoor activities include jigsaw puzzles and games; knitting, crocheting, small quilting projects in the Art Gallery and Drawing Room.
Children’s Theatre Company, 2400 3rd Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55404 Now through February 23, 2014 Tickets: $37-$47/pp
We have been anxiously awaiting The Very Hungry Caterpillar at the Children’s Theatre. I’ll be going on Friday and can’t wait to tell you all about it. In addition to the story of our favorite gluttonous larvae, we will also see Eric Carle’s Little Cloud and The Mixed-up Chameleon.