Archive - May 2014

The Free List – Top Five Free Family Events This Weekend
Finding Fun in St. Paul: Grand Old Day, WaterFest & tpt Family Fun Day at Como (May 31 – June 1)
“Kids Bowl Free” All Summer Long

The Free List – Top Five Free Family Events This Weekend

Oh, it is summer, finally!  I took Gianna’s advice on her 5-Step Summer Planning this year, and my family’s dance card is full from now until school starts.  It’s amazing how much the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota have to offer.  I would like to do everything on the Free List this weekend, but we have to be reasonable.  We’re going to the Cat In The Hat on Friday night (see my review next week) and a school party on Saturday.  If we get to Flint Hills on Sunday, we won’t leave time for errand running or (God forbid) housework.  Not that I’m complaining.  If you don’t have a plan for the weekend, below are five great options and there is plenty more on The Calendar. Read More

Finding Fun in St. Paul: Grand Old Day, WaterFest & tpt Family Fun Day at Como (May 31 – June 1)

Real quick: three ways to entertain the family this weekend, May 31 – June 1, in St. Paul — and on a budget!

Grand Old Day
Grand Avenue between Dale Street & Wheeler Avenue (map)
Sunday, June 1 • 8am – 6pm
Free to attend, extra cost for some children’s activities

Parking can be a hassle and, in our opinion, the activities in the Family Fun District can be a drain on the wallet, but there will be free live music on the Family Stage and interactive games in the Sports District. Free Metro Transit bus passes can be downloaded here. Get more details at the Grand Old Day website.

Phalen Lake Park, north of Phalen Drive & Wheelock Pkwy
Saturday, May 31 • 11am – 4pm
Free to attend

The fun, and completely free, activities at WaterFest (minus the food, natch) will keep you busy for hours. There are watercraft rides and fishing lessons on Lake Phalen, booths of hands-on exhibits, the Park & Rec portable climbing wall, archery, and lots more. Those are my kids, at right, learning about life down in the sewers from the Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District.

tpt Family Fun Day
Como Town & Como Park Zoo
Saturday, May 31 • 10am – 4pm
Free to attend, Como Town wristbands discounted

Join tpt for their annual Family Fun Day at Como. Special activities include: songwriting for kids with Steven Sanders of Snapdragon Seeds (take it from me – this can be a fun keepsake), TV character appearances on the Sparky Stage, and discounted Como Town ride wristbands ($12/tpt member, $14/non-member).

“Kids Bowl Free” All Summer Long

kids bowl free mnKids Bowl Free*
34 locations in Minnesota
Now – Labor Day, 2015 (may vary by site)
*Kids bowl up to 2 games free, shoe rental fees apply for all ages!
Note: This article was originally published on FFTC in 2013 and has been updated for 2015.

Yes, it’s budget entertainment and a fun way to keep cool in the summer, but before you register the children for Kids Bowl Free know that the name of the program is a bit misleading. The two-games-per-day-per-kid deal is definitely free. But, at least according to the lanes I went to last summer, shoe rental is required for each bowler (this included my under-three-year-old). I was aware of the conditions when I registered, so I was prepared to pay the $3 shoe rental fee – which made the outing certainly not free, but nevertheless a relatively budget outing for under $10.

kids bowl free mnThe kids had a great time, too. Bumpers popped up at the touch of a button. Computerized scoring helped this math-challenged mom. There was even a ramp to help the youngest start her ball down the right track – but still let her feel independent. Two games provided just the right amount of fun before weariness and whining for snacks set in.

Registering for the program is simple. This handy link will help you find the closest of 30 bowling locales in Minnesota. Once you’ve found it, fill out the online form and your weekly vouchers will arrive via email. Print vouchers ahead of time and bring them only to the location you’ve registered for (it is possible to register at more than one alley, but separate accounts are required for each).

Have fun hitting the lanes this summer!

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