Even though we live in an amazing metropolis, Greater Minnesota is bursting with places to explore and discover. FFTC was invited by Robin Russell of Russell’s Adventures and the Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau to enjoy a day in Albert Lea. I packed my kids in the van, took a road trip, and had a low key, perfect summer day in Albert Lea.
This post is sponsored by Bookology Magazine’s
With a population of 17,871 and sporting two significant lakes, Albert Lea is the Land Between the Lakes. It is a beautiful city you can enjoy with your family and, for those of you with antsy little ones, only about an hour and a half’s drive from the Twin Cities. Downtown Albert Lea is full of fun shops and the rest of the community has a deluge of other family fun ideas. Here are 10 of them:
Enjoy public Sunday cruises on Albert Lea Lake. Departing from the Frank Hall Park Boat Landing, 1:30pm, $10/pp & Friday night pizza cruises, 6pm, $20/pp.
The collage shows all the fun we had with Captain Joel and his First Mate Lenore.
Very affordable, splashy fun with zero-depth entry for the tots, interactive water features, and a slide for the big kids! 321 James Ave | Open daily, $1-$3.50/pp
Bring a picnic, take a gentle, self-guided hike, or, if you’ve brought bikes, it’s possible to bike to the park from the city of Albert Lea via the Blazing Star State Trail. Albert Lea itself has more than 40 parks and recreation areas to get outside and have fun in. 19499 780th Ave | Open daily, $7 daily pass per vehicle
Live music, food, craft vendors and a pop-up splash pad converge on downtown Albert Lea! Once again, I will let the pictures do the talking. It was a fun event with lots of different vendors (thanks to the Albert Lea CVB for providing us a $10 gift certificate to use!). Broadway Avenue | July 20 & August 17, FREE admission
Check the link for the most up-to-date information on showtimes and ticket information. At least one performance will be appropriate for younger theater-goers. Marion Ross Performing Arts Center, 147 N Broadway.
Grab a blanket or lawn chair and get ready for FREE public shows ongoing Thursdays, 7pm. Special shows July 4 & Labor Day, 2pm. Edgewater Bay on Fountain Lake, Memorial Day-Labor Day.
7) Summer family festivals
Family favorites include the mid-June Just Play Festival, 4th of July Parade & Fireworks in Downtown Albert Lea, and the Annual Big Island Rendezvous and Festival in October, an event locals take particular pride in and that features living history displays and reenactments.
Got an active family with teens or tweens? Tackle open climbing at the Rock Gym Fri & Sat, 6-9pm, $10/pp and the Boathouse offers archery, geocaching, canoes and kayaks for rent. 211 W. Richway Drive, open seasonally.
9) Search for pelicans! Loads and loads of pelicans. We had just watched A Dolphin’s Tale and had a blast because an important character in that movie is Roofus, resident pelican. These birds are very large. A lot bigger than I thought. Look for the males on Albert Lea Lake.
If you’re hoping to include a visit to the county fair in your trip to Albert Lea, plan for the last week of July into early August. General admission includes the Kiddie Farm Yard, Kids Zone, a tractor pedal pull, and many more family-friendly exhibits. 1031 Bridge Ave, $10/ages 10+, under 10 FREE plus additional discounts.