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
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
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
Why oh why did I wait until I was on my fourth preschooler to visit Farmyard Fun Days at Gale Woods Farm? The distance from my home, out past Lake Minnetonka all the way to Minnetrista may have had something to do with it. Let me assure all those who don’t reside in the western suburbs: it was worth every mile to see my 3-year-old delight in exploring the working farm.
First stop, the animals. Springtime on the farm means babies, babies, babies. Erin was able to climb right into the chicken coop and the lamb pen to get up close to the fuzzy offspring. There’s also a mock cow to try your hand at “milking”.
There’s plenty to do at Gale Woods besides the animals: In the kitchen, Erin loved grinding corn and mixing farm fresh ingredients for cornbread (and she enjoyed sampling the cornbread even more, drizzled with maple syrup harvested right from the farm). We also hiked out to the syrup shack to watch the spring’s sap being boiled onsite.
In the greenhouse, Erin helped scoop soil and prepare it for spring planting. There were also opportunities to craft with felted wool from the resident sheep and a chill-out room filled with books, coloring sheets, and small farm toys.
Farmyard Fun Days is designed especially for kids ages 2-7 and participants are welcome to explore as long as they like between 9:30am and 2:30pm (tip: bring snacks or a picnic lunch). Activities may change weekly; the cost is $6/pp, caregivers included.
Whether it feels like it outside or not (and we all know in Minnesota it can change on any given April day), spring has arrived at Gale Woods Farm.
Gale Woods Farm
7210 County Road 110 W
Minnetrista, MN 55364
Hours: The barn is open only for scheduled events (such as Farmyard Fun Days, Spring Into Farming and Saturday Mornings on the Farm). The visitor center is open Monday–Saturday, 9:00 AM–5:00 PM
Sunday, 12:00–5:00 PM.
We hosted a giveaway the other week and asked readers to leave a comment sharing one family activity they hoped to squeeze in before summer’s end. There were so many good suggestions it seemed fitting to incorporate them into a post. Need a little inspiration for that last summer hurrah? Here’s what our readers had to say:
Mini-golfing – which was appropriate, as the readers were vying for tickets to play the Walker on the Green course at Walker Art Center. The cost of 9 holes ($12/adults, $9/kids ages 7-12) or 18 holes ($18/adults, $13.50/kids) is probably the priciest you’ll find around town, but consider this — children under 6 are free with a paid adult, and each ticket includes admission to the Walker galleries. The Walker’s course is also artist-designed and very entertaining for kids. Read more about our family golf night at the Walker here. Keep in mind the course is open through Labor Day, September 1.
For more places to putt before the weather turns, check out this Star Tribune article published back in June.
Elm Creek Swimming Pond – at Elm Creek Park Reserve, the largest parcel in the Three Rivers Park District. The pond has chlorinated water, a sandy beach, concessions, changing facilities and a giant playground nearby. The pond is open 9am – 8pm daily through Labor Day and levies a fee of $4/pp (kids under 1 yr. free) or $12 season pass/pp. There is no charge to enter the park or play on the equipment. 12420 James Deane Parkway, Maple Grove, MN 55369.
Como Town – Filled with rides and attractions to suit the 2 to 12-year-old, Como Town Amusement Park is the ideal size to make a day of it. Don’t miss Hodge Podge Park’s Splash Zone if the weather is steamy, or the Soaring Eagle Zip Ride! Convenient ticket options include purchasing an unlimited ride wristband ($21.95 or $14.95 after 4pm and only $7.95 for adults) or buying a point package (see all options here). Admission to the park itself is free, as is the adjacent and immensely popular Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. Como Town is open weekends through September 28. 1301 Midway Parkway
St Paul, MN 55103.
Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum – I loved this suggestion and wished I’d made it out to Walnut Grove myself this summer. The annual Wilder Pageant days are over for the season, but the museum dedicated to the beloved author of the Little House books is open through October. You can find the museum hours here, as well as information about seeking out other landmarks from Laura’s days in the Plum Creek area. 330 8th St., Walnut Grove, MN, 56180.
Surrey bikes at Minnehaha Falls – Pedal through scenic Minnehaha Park, past the Falls made famous by Longfellow, on surrey bikes operated by Wheel Fun Rentals. For a complete list of the contraptions available and their hourly charge, click here. The bikes rent daily through Labor Day and fall weekends through October 19, 11am – 6pm. A second location to rent in Minneapolis is at Lake Nokomis. 4801 S. Minnehaha Park Dr., Minneapolis, MN 55417.
Fort Snelling – Explore life on the fort in the early 1800s– before the Twin Cities existed! Peek inside barracks, talk to costumed interpreters, and listen for the roar of the cannon. Labor Day Weekend at Fort Snelling hosts “Minnesota and the First World War”, a new special event that delves into the Fort’s role in training soldiers for World War 1. Hours: Saturday, August 30 – Monday, September 1 from 10am – 5pm. Admission: $11/adults, $9/seniors & active military with ID, $6/kids 6-17, free/children under 5 and MHS members. Fort Snelling is open Saturdays 10am – 5pm, Sept. – Oct. 200 Tower Ave, St Paul, MN 55111.
Gale Woods Farm – There are plenty of opportunities left to experience Saturday Mornings on the Farm at Gale Woods. The barn will be open, the animals ready for their close-ups, and your help will be appreciated for seasonal chores. Cost is $5/pp with a 20% discount on groups of 4 or more. Hours: Saturdays through September 27, 9:30am – 12pm. 7210 County Road 110 W., Minnetrista, MN 55364.
Paddleboarding – Great idea! Try Wheel Fun Rentals at Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet, and Lake Nokomis (through Labor Day!) in Minneapolis or keep Lake Phalen in St. Paul in mind for next summer (as rentals are now closed).
Drive-in movies – I’d keep Vali-Hi Drive-In in mind for a date night, though you can’t beat the price of a kid’s ticket – only a buck for children 6 – 12 and free for kids under 5. $8.50 per adult is good for three movies, cash only. Box office opens at 7pm Fri-Sat and 7:30pm Sun-Thurs. Movies start at dusk at the last remaining drive-in theater in the Twin Cities. 11260 Hudson Blvd. N., Lake Elmo, MN, 55042.
The Minnesota State Fair – We’d be remiss not to mention the final bash of the summer, but since we’ve been yammering on about it nearly nonstop lately, I thought I’d hide it here at the bottom. Last, but definitely NOT least! Head out to the Minnesota State Fair August 21 – September 1 and be sure to check out some of our tips before you go.
Thanks to all the readers who sent in their suggestions; we’re happy to pass them along! Enjoy the final days of the season.
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
When you blog for FFTC, you never have an excuse not to know what’s going on for the family-minded in the Twin Cities. Our Family Fun Calendar is such a handy little tool – I can plan weekend activities days in advance (thanks to my cohorts the admins) or whip it out for a spur-of-the-moment outing. The calendar is also my constant reminder of some wonderful opportunities in the metro for family fun that I haven’t gotten to yet. A year after merging activity arsenals with Gianna and Joy, my to-do list is as long as ever. Here are some of the places I can’t wait to get to in our second year as a team:
1. Highpoint Center for Printmaking – Part gallery, part hands-on creative space, Highpoint strives to make the art of printmaking accessible to all. My artsy daughters would love the Free Ink Days (drop-in events held four times yearly) or one of the family classes. (Registration for the upcoming Playdate at the Press has been extended to Friday, April 25, for the class on May 3!)
2. Gale Woods Farm – Part of the Three Rivers Park District, this is a working farm that invites kids and families to get hands-on with animals and agriculture. My kids would love to experience one of the Saturday Mornings on the Farm ($5/pp through August 30). Visitors are also welcome to explore on their own. Gianna details an outing to Gale Woods Farm here.
3. SteppingStone Theatre – Theater can be so incredible for kids to experience, yet a larger family might balk at the expense of tickets. SteppingStone strives to offer affordable ticket options for their audience. I’d like to check out one of their “Pay What You Can” performances — held the first Saturday of each production. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis; arrive an hour prior to showtime.
4. Silverwood Park – The first and only time I’ve been to Silverwood I was in that rarest of states: alone. Next time I vow to bring my kids along to enjoy one of the park’s awesome events designed just for them! Let’s Get stARTed is a monthly free drop-in art class. When you Walk with an Artist, you’ll explore the park’s intriguing sculptures. Gianna tells us more about her love for Silverwood Park here.
5. In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre – Every spring I resolve to attend HOTB’s MayDay celebration in Powderhorn Park. And every spring I then fail to do so (or, occasionally, the weather won’t cooperate). HOTB invites the public to come help create the parade floats and decorations! You can find out more about these free workshops — including your last opportunity to be involved — here. Heart of the Beast also presents Saturday Shows for Kids nicely priced at $4/pp.
There’s my list! Isn’t there research that suggests you’re way more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down? I’m halfway here! Thanks for joining us during our first year of Family Fun Twin Cities. We hope you’ll stick around!
I was bowled over when I took a look at our Family Fun Calendar for this upcoming weekend! The list below is just a sampling of some of the family activities offered that caught my eye. There are also numerous springtime events going on at local parks and nature centers as well as more theater and concert options. All activities listed here have a fee attached; look for our Free List of weekend events later this week.
Leos Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen (The Adventures of Vixen Sharp Ears)
Ted Mann Concert Hall (University of Minnesota Opera Theatre)
2128 Fourth Street S., Minneapolis, MN 55455
Showtimes: Friday, April 11 at 7:30pm; Saturday, April 12 at 7:30pm; Sunday, April 13 at 1:30pm
Tickets: $20/adults, $5/students & children. Buy tickets online, by box office (612-624-2345) or at the Rarig Ticket Center Office.
Inspired by cartoons the composer had seen in the newspaper, this all-ages opera combines music and dance with themes of “nature, the life cycle, and the spiritual side of life”. A discussion of the opera will begin in the lobby 45 minutes prior to the show.
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs
Stages Theatre Company
1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins, MN 55343
Showtimes: Friday, April 11 at 7:00pm; Saturday, April 12 at 1:00 & 7:00pm; Sunday, April 13 at 2:00 & 4:30pm
Tickets: $15/all seats
Catch the opening weekend of this new show at Stages! The Big Bad Wolf is set to stand trial for his supposed role in that whole mess with the Three Little Pigs. You, the audience, gets to decide his fate. Based on the book of the same name but set to music, it’s sure to be good for some laughs.
Saturday Mornings on the Farm
Gale Woods Farm
7210 County Road 110 W., Minnetrista, MN 55364
Hours: Saturday, April 12, 9:30am – 12pm
Admission: $5 per participant, 20% discount for groups of 4 or more.
Spend Saturday mornings through August assisting a farmer with chores and other seasonal activities on this real, working farm. Springtime at Gale Woods means the arrival of the Farm Babies! Gianna has more details on meeting the animals and other events at Gale Woods Farm here.
Robot Day at The Works Museum
9740 Grand Avenue, Bloomington, MN 55420
Hours: Saturday, April 12, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $8/all ages
In honor of National Robotics Week, The Works is hosting their annual Robot Day this Saturday! The usual $8 admission fee will cover all of this hands-on museum’s fun exhibits plus special robotics demos from FIRST Robotics and FIRST LEGO League among others. A great opportunity for kids interesting in joining one of the FIRST programs.
Squish of Spring – Weekend Family Fun
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska MN 55318
Hours: Saturdays & Sundays in April, 12:00 – 4pm
Admission: $12/person ages 13+, under 13 are free
Get ready to play in the mud weekends at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. April’s family program Squish of Spring gets hands-on with soil and includes a take-home planting experiment.
FRIDAY – SUNDAY:here, or by calling 612-721-2535
In the Heart of the Beast’s Puppet Lab is showcasing emerging artists for the next two weekends. I have my reservations about calling this a family outing, but definately a fun date night. You can read more of my thoughts HERE. Image Credit: In The Heart of the Beast Puppet Theatre.
I’m pretty sure my neighbors hate me, and it is probably because something like this appeals to me. If you are like minded, there is still time to sign up for Chickens in the Backyard at Galewoods Farm and learn how to keep chickens in your backyard. Get some practical advice and I bet your kids will get to see some chickens. The picture to the right is of the first egg laid by one of my sister’s backyard chickens next to a store-bought egg.
Image Credit: Michelle Rohl
Children’s Theatre has their big fundraiser on Saturday – Shrek’s Fairytale Fundraiser. Gianna has written about it in more detail here. We are also offering a giveaway for one free ticket to the event.
See the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony play Antonín Dvořák’s Concerto in B Minor of Cello and Orchestra, 1st Mvt. Allegro. Nora Doyle will be featured on cello.
They will also play Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 in D Minor. For more information, visit www.gtcys.org.
Note: Parking is available at the 21st Avenue and 19th Avenue parking ramps on the West Bank at the University of Minnesota. There is a fee to park in these ramps. For more information go to: www.pts.umn.edu.