Twin Cities Guide to Family Activities This Weekend: August 28-29, 2021

weekend family guide

Things to do in Minneapolis & St Paul this weekend!

This Twin Cities Family Weekend Guide covers the weekend of Aug 28-29, 2021. To find our most recent guide, click here

This weekend, the MINNESOTA STATE FAIR is upon us! If you choose to go, we have some ideas for having a great time with the family. If you’re waiting until next year, we hope you’ll check back with us when it rolls around again. And if you’ve never been a fan of the Fair, we have plenty of other ideas for this weekend. You can always consult our AUGUST FAMILY GUIDE or our fully-stocked FAMILY FUN CALENDAR for more last-chance summer fun ideas on what to do this weekend in the Twin Cities with your kids!

Going to the Minnesota State Fair?

The Minnesota State Fair starts Thursday, Aug 26 and we’ve got a family guide for you bursting with tips and our picks for the best FREE family entertainment on the Fairgrounds. Discount admission and ride tickets are still available through Wednesday, Aug 25. Skip to our quicklinks:

More Family Festivals this weekend in the twin cities

An alternative to the State Fair? Try the Minnesota Renaissance Festivalthere’s more for families to enjoy there together than you may think. Open weekends Aug 21 – Oct 3: Explore the Fairy Wing Forest and Mermaid Cove, take in a maypole dance, craft a wand or pirate hat, learn to juggle and much more. 9am-7pm, $13.50-$24.95/pp.
Minnesota Renaissance Festival

And another alternatives before the line is officially drawn between summer fetes and the beginning of fall festivals:

Maplewood: Johnny Appleseed Day

Hosted by the BRUENTRUP HERITAGE FARM, the autumn-like activities include haywagon rides, cider-making, crafts, butter making and face painting. Aug 29, 12-4pm, FREE.

fun outdoor activities in the parks this weekend

How to sort out all this summertime family fun?

Featured here for the weekend is just a taste of all that’s going on across the incredible Twin Cities park systems. You can get more ideas on our FAMILY FUN CALENDAR or browse the links below to search for local fun events & things to do with kids this weekend in the parks.


It’s only natural that, as the largest park in the Minneapolis system, we would include THEODORE WIRTH PARK in our series of weekend featured parks. We recommend not missing a single piece of it if possible, but if you must pick and choose between parcels, here are some highlights we’ve enjoyed:

    • Wirth Lake beach – Sandy, smooth and clean, this beach is one of our favorites in Minneapolis. There’s a large playground and Park & Rec often drops by with activities for kids.
    • Quaking Bog – The boardwalk loop hike through a tamarack bog gives you the feeling of being far from the urban hustle.
    • Eloise Butler Wildflower & Bird Sanctuary – A lovely, peaceful respite located near the south end of the park. It hosts family wildflower walks, children’s programs and other self-guided activities during the temperate months.
Quaking Bog in Theodore Wirth Park, Minneapolis, MN
Quaking Bog
THEODORE WIRTH PARK is just one on our list of the 10 Best Picnic Spots in Minneapolis!

Featured Twin Cities  Park Events this weekend

Cycle the summer party at Boom Island Park

As summer comes to an end, MPRB will host a party complete with a bike parade, food trucks, beer tent, BMX Big Air Show, live music and more in BOOM ISLAND PARK on the Mississippi. Aug 28, 1-5pm, FREE.

Boom Island Lighthouse

Corn dogs & crop art at Lowry Nature Center

Skipping the State Fair? Try your hand at making your own crop art, then hand dip and fry your own hand-battered corn dog over a campfire. Cost is $5 and reservations are required by four days prior. Learn more about LOWRY NATURE CENTER, including the sweet nature playgrounds! Aug 28, 2-3pm.

Collage of children playing on the outdoor nature playground at Lowry Nature Center in Victoria, Minnesota
Lowry’s Nature Playground

Family Fundays at North Mississippi Regional Park

Explore seasonal themes through self-directed scavenger hunts, nature walks, and interactive skills development such as bird watching or animal tracking. Pre-registration is REQUIRED. Search keyword “family funday” to register on MPRB website. Aug 28, 1-3pm, FREE.

Nature Centers Without WallS

Activities may include animal interactions, outdoor displays, nature challenges and checking out free exploration materials. Held at RICHARDSON NATURE CENTER (Bloomington), MISSISSIPPI GATEWAY REGIONAL PARK (Brooklyn Park), LOWRY NATURE CENTER (Victoria) & EASTMAN NATURE CENTER (Maple Grove). Aug 29, 1-3pm, FREE.

Pond Dakota Mission Park: Prairies & Pollinators

Hands-on living history programs fun and free of charge located in POND DAKOTA MISSION PARK in Bloomington. New themes each Saturday. Drop in Aug 28 from 1-4pm.

Cool off this weekend in the twin cities (some last chances!)

We don’t want to be the ones to make the call that swimming season is over in Minnesota so we’ll let these beaches & pools do that instead. It’s LAST CHANCE WEEKEND for the following:

There is still a good assortment of swimming beaches open through Labor Day weekend. We include most of our own family favorites in our list of 20+ BEACHES, PARKS & PLAYGROUNDS TO TRY THIS SUMMER. Each weekend this season we’ve tried to highlight a suggestion to try, such as SCHULZE LAKE BEACH in Eagan. Located within LEBANON HILLS REGIONAL PARK, it has the feel of being woodsy without also being far from the metro.

Kids playing in water at Lebanon Hills Park in Minnesota
Lebanon Hills Park

There are still a few swimming pools open if the weekend is warm enough (imagine that – after the summer we’ve had!) BUNKER BEACH WATERPARK in Coon Rapids may be just the place to close out the season (kind of a splurge at $16/pp but it’s Minnesota’s largest outdoor waterpark with tons to do.

Finally, we’ve been spotlighting a new splash pad each weekend this season as well. These are ideal for cooling off without the full commitment and cost of a day at the pool. This week we feature the splash pad at HARMON PARK in West St Paul. It’s trim, tidy and lots of fun.

Harmon Park splash pad

more ideas for things to do this weekend in the twin cities with kids

 Apples & flowers weekend

Pick your own at Afton Orchard

The apples are ripening and the fields are nodding with sunflowers. Come pick your own! There is an admission charge of $5-$7/pp to enter the orchard; this covers the giant playground, hayrides, the barnyard and lots more activities.

Get started planning your fall trip to the apple orchard with our GUIDE TO THE BEST APPLE ORCHARDS IN THE TWIN CITIES.

Visit the Minnesota Landscape Arborteum 

Eye-popping colors, space to run free, and hands-and-feet-on exhibits are just what kids might need with summer slipping away and the schedules of fall beckoning. And kids are always admitted FREE (adults $15). Check out our list of 10 Things for Kids at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

Always free to visit weekends:

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