Tag - Minnesota History Center

FFTC’s Guide to FREE Summer Music in the Twin Cities
Minnesota History Center: Free Tuesday Nights plus 9 Nights of Music
Free Family Weekend Events for May 9 – 10, 2015
Free Family Events List: March 7 – 8, 2015
Flint Hills International Children’s Festival — Excitement Rain or Shine!
Wishlist for November 2 – 3, 2013
Family Halloween Wishlist: 10 Events Around Town
What You Will Experience at the Flint Hills International Children’s Festival

FFTC’s Guide to FREE Summer Music in the Twin Cities

Find parks at Family Fun Twin Cities

Summer Music at Normandale Lake Bandshell courtesy City of Bloomington

This summer music post is sponsored by Open Window Theatre. Enjoy two one-act plays together as a family.

Open Window Youth Theatre
Open Window Theatre
(Metropolis Minneapolis Building)
1313 Chestnut Ave., Ste.#102
Minneapolis, MN 55403

The Twin Cities practically sings in the summer.  Every corner of the metro is full of music and a lot of it is FREE! What could be better?  Not much! Enjoy strains of strings, rhythms of rockers and energy of ethnic music.  Read More

Minnesota History Center: Free Tuesday Nights plus 9 Nights of Music

Here’s something for your summer to-do list: pick a Tuesday night between June 30 and August 25 and pencil in a visit to the Minnesota History Center. What’s so special about Tuesdays? They’re very easy on the pocketbook, that’s what. Between the free gallery admission from 5 – 8 p.m. and the summer “9 Nights of Music” program it’s possible for the family to enjoy a complete evening’s worth of entertainment for only a $5 parking fee. Read More

Free Family Weekend Events for May 9 – 10, 2015

How are you celebrating Mom this weekend?


The Bakken MuseumFINAL Free Second Saturday
@ The Bakken Museum
3537 Zenith Ave. S., Minneapolis, 55416

Time: 10am – 5pm
Ages: All ages welcome, exhibits appeal mainly to kids preschool-aged and up.
Details: This is your last chance to gain free admission to The Bakken before they discontinue their Free Second Saturdays promotion! The museum is a fun space dedicated to exhibits about electricity.

HE6 1B p9Train Day 2015
@ Union Depot
214 Fourth St. E., St. Paul, 55101

Time: 11am – 4pm
Ages: Train lovers of all ages!
Details: Union Depot will host exhibits and displays, live entertainment (including Choo Choo Bob), games and activities all celebrating, you guessed it, TRAINS.

Mother’s Day Storytime & Activities
@ Barnes & Noble Galleria
3225 W 69th St, Edina, MN 55435

Time: 11am
Details: A special Mom School storytime and activity will take place.


PPG150693_FD_BrandingSlide_Spring[1]Family Day: Artscapes
@ Minneapolis Institute of Arts
2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis, 55404

Time: 11am – 5pm
Ages: All ages welcome
Details: Take part in family-friendly art-making activities, workshops, cultural entertainment, gallery activities and more the second Sunday of each month at the MIA.

Minnesota Museums Month Free Day
@ Minnesota History Center
345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, 55102

Time: Noon – 5pm
Ages: All ages
Details: Bring Mom to the History Center to enjoy free admission to interactive history exhibits like the kid-friendly “Then Now Wow” and “Open House”.

PLUS: Moms and grandmothers receive free admission to the Minnesota Children’s Museum and the American Swedish Institute on Sunday, May 10!

Free Family Events List: March 7 – 8, 2015

So much to choose from this weekend! Both the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts are hosting their free family activities this Saturday. And, our very own Gianna Kordatzky will be repping Family Fun Twin Cities at a special children’s literature event at Calhoun Square. Details below. As always, check our Family Fun Calendar for more ideas on where to get out and about with your family.

Saturday, March 7

Family Fun Twin Cities at Calhoun Square
3001 Hennepin Ave. S., Ste 301A Minneapolis, MN 55408

Time: 11:30am – 1:30pm
Ages: All ages welcome!
Details: Please join us in a celebration of children’s lit at Calhoun Square’s indoor farmers market. Gianna has selected some of her favorite locally-written stories to bring to life – and she needs your help!

Start the Music! Serenading Strings: Meet the String Family
@ St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Historic Hamm Building, 3rd floor
408 Saint Peter Street, St. Paul, MN 55102

Time: Concerts at 10:15 & 11:15am, pre-concert activities begin 45 min. prior
Ages: Designed for kids ages 3-6
Details: This program is a wonderful way to introduce young children to classical music. I brought my three girls (ages 3, 5,& 7) last month and they enjoyed the short classical pieces, “meeting” the stringed instruments, and a classic children’s story set to music. Don’t miss out on the games and crafts available only before the concert. Secure your free tickets here, then pick them up at will call.

First Free Saturday: Kids’ Film Festival
@ Walker Art Center
1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55403

Time:  10am – 3pm
Ages: Designed for kids ages 6-12, but all ages are welcome
Details: Free gallery admission for the whole family every first Saturday of the month at the Walker! This month features a collection of animated short films and an art project experimenting with animation.

We Are Hmong Minnesota Family Day & Exhibit Opening
@ Minnesota History Center
345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102

Time: 11am – 4pm
Ages: Appropriate for all ages
Details: Immerse your family in Hmong culture through craft projects, a community artwork puzzle, traditional music and dance, and the new We Are Hmong Minnesota exhibit (running through November 2015). Free admission for all ages.

Sunday, March 8

Family Day: Kings, Queens and Castles
@ Minneapolis Institute of Arts
2400 3rd Ave. S., Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404

Time: 11am – 5pm
Ages: Appropriate for all ages
Details: It’s a royal affair at the MIA as families take part in activities based around the new exhibit The Habsburgs. Help construct a giant cardboard castle, do some royal role play with Children’s Theatre Company, meet a knight in shining armor and much more.

Flint Hills International Children’s Festival — Excitement Rain or Shine!

The Flint Hills International Children’s Festival 2014 is full of entertainment for children of every size! Read More

Wishlist for November 2 – 3, 2013

Are you sensing a theme this Saturday?

Live it up because we’ve got an extra hour to sleep in Sunday morning! (Parents can dream, right?) Daylight savings kicks in Sunday, November 3. Plan accordingly in the event you’re looking for something fun to do with the family this weekend!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Dia de los Muertos: Sugar and Skulls
Kroening Interpretive Center, North Mississippi Regional Park
10am – 4pm, $5 per participant
Reservations required: 763-559-6700

Celebrate the Mexican holiday “Day of the Dead” while learning about animal skulls and skeletons, then decorating your own candy skulls. Traditional crafts, mask-making and more.

Dia de los Muertos: Day of the Dead
Minnesota History Center
345 W. Kellogg Blvd. St. Paul
Noon-4pm; $11/adults, $9/students, $6/children 6-17
Free ages 5 & under

Mexican cultures observe this “Day of Dead” to better connect with ancestors. The History Center will offer dancing, music, crafts, food and a traditional Ofrenda (offerings) display.

Saturday Matinees for Kids: Skeletons in the Closet
Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theatre
1500 East Lake Street, Minneapolis
Showtimes: 10am & noon; Make-and-take: 11am
Cost: $2-$4 suggested donation for show, $5 per craft & $3 per accompanying adult

This bilingual puppet show is a tale of children discovering their ancestors while learning about El Dia de lost Muertos. Stay after the show for a themed family craft workshop. Get the complete Saturday Matinee schedule here.

Saturday & Sunday, November 3, 2013

ExploraDome Show at the Bell Museum of Natural History
University Ave. & 17th Ave. SE, Minneapolis (U of M campus)

2 p.m.  Andromeda’s Treasure

3 p.m.  Zoom! From Earth to the Edge of the Universe
4 p.m.  Andromeda’s Treasure

Admission: ExploraDome tickets are sold separately from Bell Museum admission.
Show admission: $6/adults & seniors, $4 UMN students & children 3-17, free under 3.
Museum + Show package: $11/adults, $9/seniors, $7 students and children ages 3-17

Remember: The Bell Museum is free every Sunday!


Family Halloween Wishlist: 10 Events Around Town

Get a jump-start on Halloween with all kinds of fun family activities this weekend (plus one really cool option for the Big Night itself)! I combed through the interwebs and came up with ten events that I wish I had enough time, energy and cash to bring the whole family to:

October 25

Halloween Extravaganza, Dodge Nature Center, West St. Paul. Both a friendly and a spooky trick-or-treat trail are offered at this Friday-night party. Plus nature programs, wagon rides, storytelling and more. 5:30-10pm; $9/person or $6/member; 1701 Charlton St., W. St. Paul.

credit caponi art park

October 26

Halloween at the Caponi Art Park. Trick-or-treat along a guided tour of some of the park’s spookier sculptures (ages 5+ with adult). All ages can enjoy a giant pile of leaves to jump in, crafts, cider and an obstacle course. 1-4pm; Free (suggested donation $5/person); 1220 Diffley Road, Eagan.

Dia de los Muertos, Minnesota History Center. Mexican cultures observe this “Day of Dead” to better connect with ancestors. The History Center will offer dancing, music, crafts, food and a traditional Ofrenda (offerings) display. Noon-4pm; $11/adults, $9/students, $6/children 6-17, free ages 5 & under; 345 W. Kellogg Blvd. St. Paul.

Como Zoo Boo, Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. Como’s 26th annual Halloween fundraiser runs Oct. 25-27 with costumed characters and a themed trick-or-treat path. Nothing scary about this one! 4:30-7:30pm; $6/online or $7/door; 1225 Estabrook Drive, St. Paul.

bare bones puppets

Bare Bones Halloween ExtravaganzaHidden Falls Regional Park. I have long wanted to get to this outdoor spectacle of puppetry, stilting, fire and music. Over 250 souls contribute to this local arts event and it grows every year. Oct. 26-27, 31, Nov. 1-2; free with suggested donation; 1305 S. Mississippi River Blvd., St. Paul.

Anoka’s Grand Day Parade. Curious as to why Anoka, Minnesota, calls itself the Halloween Capital of the World? Maybe you’ll find out at the Grand Day Parade, or one of the dozens of other events scheduled during Anoka’s Halloween celebration. Ongoing events through Oct. 31. Parade starts at 1pm, Main Street, Anoka.

Family Halloween Camp-in at the Science Museum, Science Museum of Minnesota. You might not find time to sleep with all the activities going on at this camp-in: Omnitheater shows, museum galleries, science workshops, trick-or-treating, meals and more. 3pm Sat. Oct. 26-8am Sun. Oct. 27; ages 4-16 w/ adult, $45; 120 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul.

Minnehaha Falls of Fun, Minnehaha Falls Park. Fun fall outdoor activities offered including hayrides, trick-or-treating, a “haunted” cave and music courtesy of Kids Dance. 1-4pm; $3/resident, $4.50/non-resident at door; Minnehaha Regional Park, Minneapolis.

October 27

Great Pumpkin Festival, Landmark Center. Get ready for a costume fashion show, face painting, a craft project, and, of course, the candy. Part of the Sundays at Landmark series. 1-3pm; free; 75 West 5th St., St. Paul.

October 31

Trick-Art-Treat, Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Sounds like a cool (and warm, at the same time) alternative to ringing doorbells up and down the block! Treats, a Halloween art activity and gallery hunt, plus a photobooth sponsored by Children’s Theatre Company to show off your Halloween costume! 5-8pm; free; 2400 Third Avenue S., Minneapolis.



What You Will Experience at the Flint Hills International Children’s Festival

International Children's Festival

The first weekend of June, the Ordway in  St. Paul hosts the Flint Hills International Children’s Festival in Rice Park, the Landmark Plaza, Hamm Plaza, and, of course, the Ordway.  For 5 years, I have wanted to go and finally, last year (2012), we did it.  We parked for $5 in the Science Museum of Minnesota’s parking ramp (which was an experience all of its own), slathered on the sunscreen, and made our way to Rice Park. 
The first thing we heard–rather than saw–was the Block Party.  The Dance Theatre of Ireland hosted this event.  And it was a blast.

They built things out of the blocks:  a house or furniture or pathways.  It was pretty cool.  But even better was the way they danced around or inside their creations to the beat of their rhythm band that beat out exciting rhythms.  It was fantastic!  After the performance, they invited all the kids to come and climb all over the blocks and play.  And THEN, they utilized the children and had them each participate in cleaning up!


The Dance Theatre of Ireland is based in Ireland and comprised of dancers and musicians from Ireland, the UK, and a random Italian. And their accents? Totally cool! They come to the US specifically for this event.

Let me say it again.  They are AMAZING!



Meanwhile, Rice Park was full of activity tents. As was the Landmark Center Plaza! We got there early in the day so that could miss most of the crowd.  It worked out pretty well.


International Children's Festival

Tents were full of different crafts and activities.  They were sponsored by many different organizations and companies such as:

  • Flint Hills Resources
  • Ordway Center
  • Science Museum of Minnesota & Children’s Theatre Company
  • St. Paul Public Schools
  • Minnesota Children’s Museum
  • Minnesota History Center
  • ArtiCulture
  • Young Artists Initiative & History Theatre
  • Steppingstone Theatre
  • Child Reach Uganda
  • Bell Museum & Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary.

There was face painting, hair coloring, henna art, roaming artists, food trucks and tents, some different outdoor stages for musical performances, and a story garden with storytellers (in Hamm Plaza–we didn’t make it that far).

International Children's Festival

Irish dancing that was deemed live Tinkerbell music.

International Children's Festival

This is the eccentric St. Paul Ice Cream Man.  He is known as the Leprechaun Dreamcycle because he has an ice cream tricycle!

International Children's Festival

The balloon man. There was a line to see him 1/2 block long. We didn’t see the line for 10 minutes. And after waiting and watching (which was fascinating), he finally told us where the line was.  When I looked, I almost choked and had to tell the kids we couldn’t wait that long.  But he was AMAZING!

Watching the block party!  It was so exciting!

International Children's Festival

Her paper bag windsock!  She worked hard on this.

International Children's Festival

The Children’s Museum had this creative play area.  My boys completely enjoyed being in the shade and playing with the balls and large foam tinker toys.

International Children's Festival

The balloon man gave this to JackJack to keep him occupied while we watched the balloon creations!

Every staff member and every volunteer and every tent knew kids and made this a perfect kid experience.  While the shows and exhibits were awesome for the adults, the kids were the target audience.  This is the perfect kid experience.

  1. Everything was at kid level.
  2. There was stroller parking that was guarded so you could leave your stuff and feel like it was safe (safer than in your car).  I would suggest utilizing the stroller parking and just walking with your kids.  There are a lot of people and the stroller was hard to manuever.
  3. Free!!!!  (minus the food tents and the performance inside the Ordway and Landmark Center).
  4. There was a lot of shade to get out of the sun.
  5. Constant activity with quieter spots to regroup.
  6. Staff everywhere was helpful.  They were all eager to make sure you were involved and having fun.
  7. I would suggest this to anyone. Go early in the morning to avoid the massive crowds, but expect to be there for a while!

The weekend is a blast. I highly recommend going. Just put on your busy hat, know it’s going to be a little crazy, pack a lunch, and plan for an entire day of fun! I can’t wait for Saturday! Hope to see you there!


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