Tag - Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Maple Syruping with Kids in the Twin Cities
10 Things For Kids: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Free Family Weekend Events for January 2-3, 2016
5 Ideas For Free or Low Cost Family Weekend Events – May 30-31, 2015
Fall Family Fun List: Weekend of October 4-5
The Weekend Wish List for April 11 – 13, 2014
Archived: The Weekend Wish List for March 29th and 30th
Archived: March Is Maple Syrup Month!

Maple Syruping with Kids in the Twin Cities

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

10 Things For Kids: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum


Fresh (and exhausted) off a gorgeous summer Saturday at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum with the family. This was the last foreseeable completely free weekend — definitely of the summer and quite possibly the last of 2016 — and we wanted to spend it exploring someplace new. We’d never been out to the Arboretum at the height of summer. The eye-popping colors, space to run free, and hands-and-feet-on exhibits were just what our kids needed with summer slipping away and the schedules of fall beckoning. Here are ten things that get their stamp of approval:

1. Green Play Yard – You may not want to make this your first stop at the Arb. Chances are, you’ll have a hard time dragging your little ones away from the sand-and-water play, dreamy little paths among the plants, playhouses, stumps and logs. It’s designed for ages 0-5 conveniently divided into age-appropriate areas, but don’t be surprised if older ones are just as tempted to dive in and play. Read more about the nature play elements here.

tmarboretum2 Read More

Free Family Weekend Events for January 2-3, 2016

Winter is finally here! Get out and embrace it with these four family fun ideas, or use our Family Fun Calendar for more ideas on getting out and about this weekend.


Free First Saturday: Wintertime Escape
@ Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis

Time: 10am-3pm
Details: Admission is free for all every first Saturday of the month and the galleries abound with arty activities for kids of any age. This month’s theme, Wintertime Escape, will warm you up with an all-day dance party.

Snowflake Wonders
@ Maplewood Nature Center, 2659 E 7th St, St Paul

Time: 1-3pm
Details: Design beautiful snowflakes for your windows. Learn how snowflakes are formed, and peer at preserved snowflake crystals up close on the microcam. Nature Center exhibits and trails will be open for self-guided activities.


Free Admission to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska

Time: Daily 8am-4pm through January 31, 2016
Details: Explore the winter season at the Arboretum free of charge! Play outside, or warm up indoors by taking a stroll through the “please touch” greenhouse and playing with the kid-friendly exhibits in the Marion Andrus Learning Center. Drop into the Plant-Maker Studio weekends between noon and 4pm — this weekend’s theme is “Evergreen Wonders” and will keep kids busy crafting with branches and pine cones.

Wells Fargo WinterSkate
@ Rice Park, St. Paul (map here)

Time: Rink opens 11am daily through
Details: Bring your skates to the Wells Fargo WinterSkate rink in downtown St. Paul. Skating is free and the backdrop of Rice Park is beautiful. Skate rental is available for $4/pair. For more free skating opportunities, use our Skate the Twin Cities list to find your nearest free outdoor ice rink.


5 Ideas For Free or Low Cost Family Weekend Events – May 30-31, 2015

Need some ideas to jump-start the weekend? The forecast calls for lots of free and low-cost family activities around the Metro! As always, check our Family Fun Calendar for more.

tm flint hills Read More



Location: Tamarack Nature Center,
Time: 3-5pm, register for start time of 3pm, 3:20, 3:40, or 4pm. Visit the link above to register for this event. Expect activities to take about 75 minutes to complete.
Ages: Appropriate for preschoolers and younger school-aged children with accompanying adult
Cost: $7.50/child, $3.25/adult, pre-registration required
Details: This non-spooky event includes games, trick-or-treating on the prairie loop trail, and special Halloween activities in the Discovery Hollow Nature Play Area.

Location: Eastman Nature Center, 13351 Elm Creek Rd., Dayton, MN 55369
Time: 10am – 3pm
Ages: Appropriate for all ages
Cost: $7/child ages 2-17 preregistered or $8 day-of, $5/ages 18+ preregistered or $6 day-of. Follow the link above to register.
Details: Trick-or-treat along a woodland trail, go on pumpkin scavenger hunt, and meet costumed animals – plus a puppet show, craft, and refreshments for all ages.

Location: Carl Kroening Interpretive Center, 4900 Mississippi Court, Minneapolis, MN 55430
Time: 10am – 12pm
Ages: Appropriate for preschoolers and up
Cost: $6/pp all ages, reservations required – follow the link above.
Details: Turn a mini pumpkin into a boat and float it down the Mississippi with a message for someone downstream.

Location: Lowry Nature Center, 7025 Victoria Dr., Victoria, MN 55386
Time: 5 – 9pm
Ages: Non-spooky and appropriate for all ages, note this is a nighttime event.
Cost: $9/pp all ages, children under 2 admitted free. Register by following the link above.
Details: Trick-or-treat along a character trail, warm up with stories around the bonfire, and enjoy games, crafts, and cookie-decorating. Concessions will be available for purchase.

Location: Caponi Art Park, 1220 Diffley Rd., Eagan, MN 55123
Time: 1 – 4pm
Ages: Appropriate for all ages
Cost: Free, suggested donation of $5/pp to support the Art Park
Details: Trick-or-treat along a guided tour of Caponi’s sculpture garden. Make a craft, jump in the giant leaf pile, and enjoy refreshments during Caponi Art Park’s last open weekend of the season. Read More

Fall Family Fun List: Weekend of October 4-5

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!


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.

Apples Galore
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.


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.


Wood Lake Sunday Special: Apple Cidering
Where: Wood Lake Nature Center, 6710 Lakeshore Dr, Richfield, MN
When: 1 – 4pm
Cost: $3/pp
Ages: Appropriate for all ages
Details: Mill and press apples into cider.

The Weekend Wish List for April 11 – 13, 2014

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.

Archived: The Weekend Wish List for March 29th and 30th

This past weekend, I ordered my families summer farm share.  Now I’m just counting down the days until June when the vegetables start arriving.  In the meantime, last year, in a fit of overzealous optimism my husband and I marked off about a quarter of our yard for our own vegetable garden.  It was a little more than we could handle.  This year we are thinking smaller scale — maybe popcorn or something that takes up a lot of space, but is easy to grow.  We’ll see how that goes.  My list is a little soil heavy this week.  I’ve just had enough winter and I’m ready for spring.  I’ve also included a roadtrip and a couple stage productions.


The Scarecrow and his Servant and Ballonacy
Children’s Theatre Company, 2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55404
Prices Vary: Order Tickets Here or Learn How to Score $10 Tickets Here

 No matter the age of your kids, this is a good weekend for Children’s Theatre Tickets.  My grade schooler really enjoyed our outing to see the The Scarecrow and his Servant. However, after we saw The Very Hungry Caterpillar, my 4-year-old also thinks he should be my guest every time I review a play.  CTC has a new offering for the preschool crowd opening this week and Gianna has the preview of Balloonacy here.  We haven’t seen it yet, but we haven’t been let down by CTC yet.

Get Started Gardening with Gale Woods Farm on Saturday

Get Started Gardening with Gale Woods Farm on Saturday


Get Started Vegetable Gardening
Gale Woods Farm, 210 County Road 110 W. ,  Minnetrista, MN 55364
Cost: $8.00 per person (Reservations Required)

This is a gardening class for the fmaily with older children.  The program is designed for ages 12+.  If you have younger kids, scroll down a bit to see another suggestion.  In this program, you and your family can learn to grow your own vegetables in your backyard (a class we probably should have taken last year).  Gale Woods Farm will inspire you to get started and offer you some go-to resources for later use. Registration for this event ends Wednesday, March 26th. Call 763-559-6700 or click the reservation link above.  This is activity #237409-00.



RTrain_Cartoon_2andolph Railroad Days
Randolph High School, Railyards, and Museum, 29110 Davisson Avenue, Randolph, MN 55065
Saturday, March 29, 2014 & Sunday, March 30, 2014; 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Admission $5/adults; Children Under 12 free

I’m sure you didn’t get enough trains last weekend at the Great Minnesota Train Expo.  So this weekend, how about a roadtrip to Randolph, Minnesota (about 45 minutes from Minneapolis and half an hour from St. Paul).  Engineer Paul from Choo Choo Bob’s will be there.  Plus they offer tours, sales of collectibles and toys and an opportunity for the public to view operating layouts and displays and more. This sounds like an ideal outing for a family that loves trains.  There will be plenty of locomotive fun for the adult as well as the child.

Hands Holding a Seedling and Soil ca. 2000 via Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Hands Holding a Seedling and Soil ca. 2000 via Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Weekend Family Fun
Minnesota Landscape Arboreteum, Learning Center, 3675 Arboretum Dr., Chaska, MN 55318
Saturday, March 29, 2014 & Sunday, March 30, 2014; Noon. to 4:00 p.m.
Admission $13/adults; Children 12 and under free

As promised, here is something to inspire gardening in the younger family.  This program is less instruction and more fun.  However, your kids can learn something, too.  Drop in activities include:

  • A look into a microscope to see shoots with baby leaves and roots;
  • A chance to make a snack out of sprouts;
  • An art project made with seeds; and
  • The opportunity to start seeds to watch grow at home.



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Archived: March Is Maple Syrup Month!

I nearly forgot that my 4-year-old’s maple syruping field trip is tomorrow. Can you blame me? My body – and the thermometer on the garage – are still telling me it’s the dead middle of winter! But despite the chill, my daughter and her class will be off to the Dodge Nature Center to learn how sap is collected from sugar maple trees and then boiled until it is closer to the stuff we pour over pancakes.

It’s a pretty interesting – and fairly DIY – process. If you can find the time, there are a host of places around the Twin Cities that offer maple syruping events. Some are fancy affairs complete with pancake breakfasts. Others are more casual demos down at your local Minnesota State Park. Family Fun Twin Cities is currently putting together a list of family-friendly venues to learn about maple syruping this spring. Sweet syrup fact: the sap flows best from mid-March to mid-April when temps are close to 40 during the day and below freezing at night. Those temps sound pretty good right now!

To get you started (and planning ahead because some of these events require advance registration), here are some places set to tap their trees in the next couple of weeks:

Dodge Nature Center: It’s Maple Syrup Time!
365 Marie Avenue West, West St. Paul
March 22 & 29, 2014
1 – 2:30pm
Adults & children over 2 yrs/$7 or $20 per family
Reservations required – class will fill!

Event includes a tree tapping demonstration, a visit to the evaporator, and a chance to sample. Special pancake breakfasts will also be held at Dodge Nature Center on March 15 only. Six time slots are available to enjoy breakfast and a maple syruping demonstration. The cost is $5 per adult and $2.50 per child with advance reservations required. For more details, visit this link.

Fort Snelling State Park: Maple Syruping in Your Backyard
101 Snelling Lake Road, West St. Paul
March 9, 15, 16, 22, 29, 30, 2014
1 – 2:30pm
Program is free; a $5 State Park day pass is required to enter the park. Reservations are not necessary.

We have personally attended this program at Fort Snelling State Park a couple times as a family. It starts with an indoor lecture that might make the little ones antsy, but the hike outside is easy, the sap demonstration is fun, and we poured our syrup over ice cream afterwards!

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum: Maple Syrup at the Arboretum
3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska
Maple Syrup Tours – March 22, 2014 (9am – 2pm)
Sugar House Open House – March 29 & April 5, 2014 (noon – 4pm)
Program included with $12 Arboretum admission ages 13 & up.

Visit the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Sugar House for a look at sap being cooked into syrup and get a taste of the fresh product. The Arboretum will also be hosting a Sugarbush Pancake Brunch on March 22 from 9am – 1pm in the Visitor Center. Tickets include the meal plus Arboretum admission and cost $11.50 ages 8 & older, $6 ages 4 – 7, and those under 4 eat free.

Stay tuned for more maple syrup events posted throughout the week. And in the meantime, think spring!



Saturday, October 12, 2013

Perhaps one of these events is a fall tradition for your family? Be sure to sign up for our monthly Family Fun Twin Cities newsletter for oodles more ideas on how to spend Halloween in the Twin Cities.

credit three rivers parksHyland’s Spooks and Ladders Trick-or-Treat Trail
Hyland Lake Park Reserve
10145 Bush Lake Road, Bloomington, MN
5 – 6:20pm
$5/pre-registered, $6 at door

Get a jump on the Halloween fun with this event at Hyland Lake Park Reserve. Come in costume and bring a bag for treats. Prepare for some mildly spooky fun with puppets, games, a “junior Fear Factor maze” and campfire.

Saturday & Sunday, October 12-13, 2013


Minnesota Landscape Arboretum: Weekend Family Fun
3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska MN
12 – 4pm $12/person ages 13+

Joy included this event last weekend on her Wishlist and I thought it deserved a second mention. Saturdays and Sundays in October focus on putting a healthy rainbow of plants into your diet.



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