Twin Cities Guide to Family Activities This Weekend: August 21-22, 2021

weekend family guide

Things to do in Minneapolis & St Paul this weekend!

This Twin Cities Family Weekend Guide covers the weekend of Aug 21-22, 2021. To find our most recent guide, click here.

Need more inspiration? 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!

Family Festivals this weekend in the twin cities

Huzzah! The MINNESOTA RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL starts this weekend! If you’ve ever considered bringing along the kids, we’ve got some tips for you. Open weekends Aug 21 – Oct 3, 2021: 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.

Lino Lakes: Community Fest

Includes the Blue Heron Days Parade on Aug 21.

Mounds View: Festival in the Park

Parade, family fun fair, car show, music, and fireworks in SILVER VIEW PARK. 11am-Dusk. Aug 20-21.

North Hudson: Pepper Fest

Rides, games, Grand Parade. $4-$5/button for events. Aug 21-22.

Shakopee: Mdewakanton Sioux Community Wacipi

The public is invited to attend a free family-friendly Pow Wow that features hundreds of Native American dancers and drum groups, Native American crafts and foods, as well as fireworks. Aug 20-22.

Wacipi child

St Paul: Food Truck Festival

Music, games & giveaways in MEARS PARK. Noon-10pm, FREE admission, food available to purchase. Aug 21.

Woodbury: Woodbury Days

Kids activities, carnival, parade & fireworks in OJIBWAY PARK. Buttons required for many events. Aug 20-22.

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.


This beautiful park sprawls across almost 5,000 acres, passes through three northwest Twin Cities communities and is the largest in the Three Rivers Park District system. There is so much to do at ELM CREEK PARK RESERVE that you’d be hard-pressed to fit it into one day! If you’re interested in the highlights, here’s what we recommend trying:

  • Your kids will go crazy for the giant, rainbow-hued ELM CREEK PLAY AREA (pictured). Great for all abilities!
  • Spend a summer afternoon swimming at the chlorinated, sandy ELM CREEK SWIM POND ($5/pp).
  • Explore the EASTMAN NATURE CENTER – filled with indoor exhibits and live animals, then head outdoors to find a boardwalk, trails and a sweet little nature playground. Check out free nature exploration materials at the front desk. Each Sunday the free Nature Centers Without Walls program offers activities like animal interactions, outdoor displays, and nature challenges. Aug 22, 1-3pm.

Want to explore more nature centers? Check out the links on our big list of Twin Cities nature & interpretive centers for all the details.

Nature Play Area at Eastman Nature Center
  • Feeling sporty? Elm Creek has an archery range (BYO equipment) & a disc golf course. $6/day pass.
  • Ride the bike trails. They’re very smooth and fairly level with some rolling areas. The park is huge and a little tricky to navigate; study the map well before you ride.
twin cities bike trails
Smooth bike trail at Elm Creek Park Reserve

Featured Twin Cities  Park Events this weekend

Como Park Japanese Garden Lantern Release

The festival and lantern release take place in COMO PARK ZOO & CONSERVATORY’S JAPANESE GARDEN. Tickets are sold in advance only. August 21, 2022.

Saturday Farm Days at Gale Woods

GALE WOODS FARM invites you and your kids to visit the animals and explore the barn, gardens, greenhouses and pastures. Reservations required. Aug 21, 9am-12pm, $5/pp.

Gale Woods Farm, Minnetrista
Meeting Chickens

The bazillions at Teddy Bear Park

The band is performing at 4pm in Stillwater’s sweet TEDDY BEAR PARK as part of the city’s Books to Bridges program (free books and giant teddies!) Event begins at 3pm. Aug 22.

Little girl sitting on giant teddybear lap at Teddybear Park in Stillwater, MinnesotaWhile in Stillwater, make sure to stop by LOWELL PARK downtown, take a stroll across the Lift Bridge and boat watch. It’s always exciting to watch it lift!

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.

Pond Dakota Mission Park: Mystery House Tours

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 21 from 1-4pm.

Weekend at Grimm Farm: Chickens & Chores

Learn about life on an 1870s farm. Meet live animals and try hands-on, free family-friendly activities. Located at CARVER PARK RESERVE in Victoria. Aug 21, 1:30-4pm.

Weekend Movies & Music in the Parks

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:

However, there are still plenty of splash spots open for a few more weeks (especially beaches – typically through Labor Day) so go ahead and browse the finds in our complete TWIN CITIES ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE BEST BEACHES, POOLS, WATERPARKS & SPLASH PADS or continue for more ideas:

  • We include our family favorites in our list of 20+ BEACHES, PARKS & PLAYGROUNDS TO TRY THIS SUMMER. Each week we’re excited to share a new beach one of our FFTC families has discovered – this weekend we’re highlighting SHADY OAK BEACH because we’ve reached its final operating weekend. Unique reasons to visit include a floating dock with high-dive out in the lake and a fun sand-and-water play area on the shore.

  • Swimming pools are always a hit for their slides and fun features. This week we’re featuring GROVE COVE, the pool at MAPLE GROVE COMMUNITY CENTER. Here you have the choice of swimming both indoors & out! Combine your trip to the pool with a visit to the jungle-themed MAPLE MAZE INDOOR PLAYGROUND, also within the community center.

  • Don’t forget that splash pads are a perfect place to cool off without the full commitment and cost of a day at the pool. This week we highlight the splash pad at ANDREWS PARK in Champlin. This one’s a big winner because it pairs the splash pad with a big playground and a pirate ship!
Andrews Park splash pad, Champlin

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

Try a family-friendly museum!

Minnesota Transportation Museum Classic Car Show

Along with all the fun of visiting the interactive train museum, come see classic firetrucks, police cars and other response vehicles. Our kids have loved climbing aboard the rail cars and tinkering with exhibits. Located near downtown St Paul. Family passes are available for $30. Aug 21 only, 12-4pm.

Playing on the trains at Jackson Street Roundhouse

Bluegrass & Lemonade at Gammelgarden Museum

You don’t need to take a formal tour to enjoy the  outdoor GAMMELGARDEN MUSEUM in Scandia (but they’re available if you’d like, free for kids). Instead, roam the grounds and see how many colorful Dala horses your kids can find. Enjoy the music and free lemonade! Aug 22, 2-4pm.

Tech Fest at the Works Museum

Drop-in exploration at THE WORKS MUSEUM with real scientists and engineers. The museum is super hands-on and kid-friendly, plus there’s a Curious George exhibit for the youngest kids. Aug 21, 10am-2pm. $11/pp.

Each Spring, The Works Celebrates Robot Day

Always free to visit weekends:

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