Category - Outings

Delightfully Cozy Independent Bookstores
Take a Kid Fishing Weekend – June 8-10, 2018
Top 10 Family Picks: June in the Twin Cities

Delightfully Cozy Independent Bookstores

With the sad news that Addendum Books will be closing in July, I thought now might be a good time to update our list of Independent Bookstores. Every time an independent bookstore closes, I feel a little like the part in Peter Pan when Tinkerbell is dying. If only we could just believe enough to keep them open.

The Twin Cities area is home to several wonderful bookstores and, although they are not exactly a place to let your children run unchecked, they can be a low pressure, quiet outing when you would prefer to be indoors. We all know the mall stores, and they are definitely good places to take kids, but this is a list of some independently owned stores to check out. Some —  like Red Balloon and Wild Rumpus — specialize in kids books. Others have a more expanded catalog. I know it’s just easier to go to Amazon for our book needs (and if you do, we appreciate you using our affiliate link so we can earn a small commission and keep our site free); however, the experience of these bookstores can’t be beat.

Birchbark Books and Native Arts

Birchbark books specializes in books about indigenous people, including children’s resources spanning from early grades to high school. They also host various events throughout the year. Watch our calendar for family friendly events.

Boneshaker Books

Boneshaker Books has been on my radar for awhile, but I haven’t had a chance to visit it myself. While they were without a store time for awhile, on June 9, Boneshaker started hosting Madeline & Sam’s Magical Story Time weekly on Saturdays. If you get there before us, let us know what you think.


Common Good Books

Common Good Books, like Magers and Quinn, is more geared toward adults — but it does have a children’s section. It is owned by Garrison Keillor.  I’m not sure that would mean anything to our kids, but if you are also taking their grandparents, it could be a really big deal. The staff at Common Good is incredibly friendly and they were really great about me ducking in with my four kids when we found ourselves with several hours to kill in St. Paul on a cold evening after everything else in my arsenal had closed. I will be forever grateful to them for that.

Eat My Words - Independent Bookstores

Eat My Words

Eat My Words Bookstore

Considering this store is in my own neighborhood, it took me altogether too long to get there. Like Common Good Books, it has a very friendly staff. The kids area is tucked in a back corner and kind of feels like a hidden space. You kind of have to wind through stacks of books to find it. This store carries mostly used books, so it is a nice place to discover books you have forgotten from your own childhood that you could now share with your kids.

Excelsior Bay Books

If you don’t want to deal with city traffic and parking, Excelsior Bay Books is an indie bookseller that is not in the heart of Minneapolis or St.Paul. They also happen to host story trolleys that don’t sell out as fast as the Wild Rumpus events. Since I have not personally visited this store, I would love to hear your feedback.

Magers and Quinn Booksellers

If the Red Balloon is Gianna’s magical place, Magers & Quinn is mine. Although it only opened a couple years before I moved to Minnesota, it felt like it had been there forever. It was my favorite place to hide out. The smell and feel of shelves and tables of full of old books just relaxed me. I don’t think of it as a kid’s bookstore, but it does have a nice-szied children’s section, and there are always surprises to be found.

Independent Bookstores

Moon Palace Books

I believe that Moon Palace is the only store on this list with a cafe. Story times are not as consistent as the two exclusively-children’s bookstores, but they do offer them.

red balloonRed Balloon Bookshop

Red Balloon Bookshop is an FFTC favorite.  You can read about why Gianna considers it her magical place here. The Red Balloon offers the most author visits of all the stores and the most options for story hours.  It is a bright roomy space, whereas most independent bookstores I’ve visited are more cluttered and dimly lit (a good thing in my introverted world). When visiting with kids in tow, the bright roomy space may feel easier to take on.

Wild_Rumpus_no_addrss_logoWild Rumpus

Wild Rumpus is the rogue bookstore of the bunch — complete with chickens and chinchillas. The store is staffed with fun people who can make personal recommendations for books, have personal opinions of authors who are visiting (not just the standard press release stuff), and a tiny kid-size door that is just too tempting to not enter. On the downside, their calendar upkeep is inconsistent and often last minute, so it is hard to plan for author events. We highly recommend joining their email list if this is a store you would like to visit often.


Take a Kid Fishing Weekend – June 8-10, 2018

Minnesotans 15-years-old or younger and their grown up companion can fish without licenses on Friday, June 8, through Sunday, June 10, during the Minnesota DNR’s “Take a Kid Fishing Weekend”. You don’t even need to own fishing gear, because it is available for loan from Minnesota State Parks. We have borrowed fishing gear at William O’Brien State Park. It was very easy to do and a park ranger stopped by to give the girls pointers. Note that if you can’t make it to Take a Kid Fishing Weekend, Minnesota residents generally can fish in state parks without a fishing license, unless the body of water requires a trout stamp.Take a Kid Fishing Weekend Read More

Top 10 Family Picks: June in the Twin Cities

The June Family Picks have a little bit of something for everyone.  Browse the post and see what looks interesting to you. If you have it in your budget to splurge on some activities to do with your kids, you may not want to miss some of these. Even with that, we have some free things on June’s Top 10!

This article is brought to you by  participating local businesses.

Blue Sun Soda1) 6/2: Free Whistler Factory Tour and Giveaway Party | 10 am-6 pm, Tours at 11 am, Noon, 1 pm
See a 1952 Dixie Bottling machine in action making Minnesota’s ONLY returnable bottle soda
Included in the day: Free Whistler Soda Tastings,  Tour the OPERATING Bottling Line for FREE and learn about making soda, Come play on the 16 Pinball machines, 2 SKEE BALL Machines, Free Popcorn
PRIZE GIVE AWAY! For Every 8 Whistler Bottles you return you will get an entry into the Give Away!
1st Place- A Free Case of Whistler Soda Every Month for a Year. (Bottle deposit still applies)
2nd Place- 4 pack of Twins vs Boston Tickets.
3rd Place- A Free Case Of Whistler Soda. (Bottle deposit still applies)
4th and 5th Place- Free Whistler T- Shirt.


Snapology Minnesota

Image courtesy Snapology

2) Sundays in June: Lattes & LEGOS® | Snapology Discovery Center (2649 Lyndale Avenue South, Mpls, MN 55408)  | 9-11am | $8 | Enjoy a delicious beverage from Bob’s Java Hut (next door to Snapology) while your kiddo plays at Snapology for a reduced price!  
Click here to Register for 6/03/18

Click here to Register for 6/10/2018
Click here to Register for 6/17/2018

Click here to Register fo 6/24/2018

3) 6/8: Go to Opening Day at Bunker Beach Water Park
701 County Parkway A, Coon Rapids| 11 am| $12-$15, under age 1 is free| WCCO voted Bunker Beach Water Park the best water park of 2017.

Photo by Dan Norman

4) Now-6/10: Catch The Lorax at Children’s Theatre Company
2400 3rd Ave. S, Minneapolis| $10+ | Read Gianna’s review here to see  if this may be something you want to see.

5) Throughout early June: Go Strawberry Picking!
Anne has all the farms you can choose from in this article.

6) 6/18-6/21/18: Send your princess to camp at Moore Than Dance
Princess Promenade Summer Camp – Morning 
| Moore Than Dance, 1220 E. Moore Lake Dr., Fridley, MN | 10:00am-12:00pm | $120 | Princesses know their power comes not from their beauty, but from the virtues and qualities they possess.  Dance, sing, make crafts and learn how you can be a princess too! Ages 4-8

6/18-6/21/18: Princess Promenade Summer Camp -Afternoon | Moore Than Dance, 1220 E. Moore Lake Dr., Fridley, MN | 5:00-7:00pm | $120 | Princesses know their power comes not from their beauty, but from the virtues and qualities they possess.  Dance, sing, make crafts and learn how you can be a princess too! Ages 4-8

Summer Camp

7) 6/22/18: Have a Date Night
Parent’s Night Out | Snapology Discovery Center (2649 Lyndale Avenue South, Mpls, MN 55408  | 5:30-8:30pm | $20 | See a movie or enjoy a meal while your children are.

The Twin Cities with Kids8) Throughout June: Join a Summer Book Club at Red Balloon Bookshop 
891 Grand Ave, St. Paul| Various Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursday| Free | So many different options throughout the summer for you to enjoy.

Kerfoot Adventure Park


9) Throughout June: Crawl around Kerfoot Canopy Tours’ brand-spanking new Adventure Park 
30200 Scenic Byway, Henderson, MN | By Appointment Only | $25-$29 | This extreme adventure is for  kids and adults ages 7+.  After going through Ground School, you graduate and explore all over a 50 foot tall structure that scares me to death.  But my kids?  They love it!  Check out our adventure in this video.

10) Wednesdays in June: The BookHounds ClubHouse is OPEN
4760 Banning Ave, White Bear Lake | 10 am-11 am | FREE | This summer the BookHounds ClubHouse is open in downtown White Bear Lake at GoodKids.  The ClubHouse is full of the best stories, the grooviest people, and most fun activities for you.

Summer Reading with Bookhounds

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