Author - Joy Peters

Twin Cities Summer Reading Programs – 2018
Universe in the Park 2018
Twin Cities Fun for Car Crazy Kids

Twin Cities Summer Reading Programs – 2018

Where do your kids fall in the summer reading spectrum? Whether they love to read or hate it or are somewhere in between, there is probably a program out there for them. If they are ambitious, they can participate in several. There is no rule that kids can’t use the same books for several programs.

2017 Summer Reading Programs

A couple years ago, I did some research on the reality of the income-based achievement gap and how parents can Increase their Child’s Chances in School with a few Simple, Budget-Friendly Habits. Summer reading is another place where the achievement gap grows. However, the fix is offering your kids easy access to a lot of books and empowering them to select their own reading materials.This is where summer reading programs can come in handy.

The following are few programs we found plus our own:

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Universe in the Park 2018

Looking for an astronomy fix? During the summer months, we don’t have the Friday night Public Viewings at the UofM’s Institute for Astrophysics, instead there is the Universe in the Park program on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the summer. These events are held in various parks — some close, some not so close. The program starts with a 20-30 minute presentation at 8:30 p.m. and then, weather permitting, an opportunity to view the sky through telescopes until 10 or 11 p.m. Participants can learn how to use a star map and go home with a free one. This program is free, but a vehicle permit are required at the State Parks ($25 annual/$5 daily). Don’t forget to dress appropriately for Minnesota summer evenings (You know the drill — layers and insect repellent.) Since it IS a park, and you are paying for a days worth of parking, you might as well arrive early with a picnic and have some playtime.

Universe in the Park

Participating 2018 Universe In the Park locations are listed below:

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Twin Cities Fun for Car Crazy Kids

Do you feel vibrations coming off your kid every time she sees a cool car? Your not alone. Summer is the time to indulge those car crazy kids. While some of our ideas are available year round, summer is NASCAR season, vintage car season and festival season – all great times to get up close with automobiles. Here are some of our favorite ways to indulge your car crazy kids this year.

Twin Cities Fun for Car Crazy Kids

Car Crazy “Driving” Opportunities

When your kids wants to be the driver and you are not to keen on handing them the keys, we have a few other choices:

  • Driving School! at Como Town  There are several car rides at Como Town, and if your car lover is under age 4, you’ll have to pick one of the others, but Driving School is the most exciting of the car rides. Kids get to drive their own cars navigating their way through the streets of the driving school. Just like with a real car, they steer, brake and accelerate their vehicles.  •  Driving School costs 6 points, which translates to $3.00 per ride.
  • Minnesota Children’s Museum • Kids can pretend to drive a Fire Truck or a City Bus in the Our World Exhibit. • Admission is $12.95/pp.
  • Minnesota History Center The History Center actually has a few cars in the museum – some you can touch, some you can’t. But the Then Now Wow Exhibit has a Model T that your Car Crazy Kid can actually crank up. • Admission is $6-$12/pp (FREE on Tuesday nights)
  • Carl Kroening Interpretive Center “Drive” down Interstate 94 (See the photo above). FREE.
Learn about Hwy 94 at Carl Kroening Interpretive Center

Learn about Hwy 94 and pretend to drive at Carl Kroening Interpretive Center

Visit the Speedway

  • Elko Speedway has NASCAR racing all summer, but the best time to go is for Kids Night (June 16th in 2018). • Kids are free and adults tickets are $15.00.
  • Deer Creek Speedway is kind of a road-trip 2 hours south of the Twin Cities, but the facility includes a campground, so it could be a fun weekend adventure.

Image Courtesy Deer Creek Speedway FB

Family-Friendly Car Crazy Events

Museums With Cars Just to Look At.

  • Walker Art Center • When my teen was a tot, we had a Walker membership and they still offered the much missed Arty Pants program, so we would visit often. She had her favorite pieces that we had to visit each time, culminating with “Unpainted Sculpture” (the real name for the crashed car). • Admission is $14/adults; children are FREE.
  • Minneapolis Institute of Art • Now we tend to get to the MIA more often.  Did you know that you can type any word into the MIA website’s search engine to design your own personal tour? This is what I found when I searched “Car”.  If you have a kid how loves cars, you can take an art break the next time you visit the MIA Block Room and see how many of these cars you can find! • FREE Admission.
  • Minnesota History Center • As I mentioned above, the Model-T is not the only car at the history center. You can also take a walk through the Greatest Generation Exhibit to See an M-8 armored vehicle and a 1955 Ford sedan, both produced at the St. Paul Ford plant.


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