Family Fun Directory

Family Fun Directory of Things To Do with Kids:

NOTICE: Please call ahead during mandated social distancing times. We are trying to keep up, but won’t be able to edit every directory entry for special circumstances.

Search in radius 0 miles

Germanic-American Institute, Saint Paul

301 Summit Avenue • Saint Paul, MN 55102
Admission: $0.00
Some Programs have fees. Deutsche Tag Weekend is Free to Attend
Open for public events and programs

The Germanic-American Institute has a mission to foster appreciation and understanding of German culture, language, arts, and ongoing history. It also has a lending library with German language books, films, CDs, & games available to GAI members.

Image courtesy GAI

Cultural Programming at the Germanic-American Institute

GAI offers a variety of public events throughout the year. The second weekend of June is Deutsche Tage Weekend. They also offer a Holiday Open Haus, and a Karneval Tanzparty in conjunction with Winter Carnival. Families may also enjoy author talks, speakers, film screenings, and performers from across the U.S. and Europe.

Germanic-American Institute

Image Credit: Germanic-American Institute

German Language Summer Camps at GAI

GAI offers summer German language camps for kids between the ages of 5 years old and 13 years old. They offer both half and full day camps plus extended care options. Learn more in our annual summer camp guide.

History of the Germanic-American Institute

The following information has been reprinted courtesy of MNopedia and its author Jonah Lemkins under a Creative Commons License and may be reprinted under the same license.

In 1957, a group of German clubs based in the Twin Cities came together to form the Volksfest Association, which represented German Minnesotans at that year’s centennial statehood celebration. After the centennial, eager to obtain an official building, it raised money through selling bonds and organizing fundraising events. In 1965, it purchased a home on Summit Avenue for $57,500 and refurbished the interior to accommodate large social gatherings.

Originally built in 1906 for the family of George W. Gardner and his wife, Claribel, the 301 Summit Avenue home had four stories, including a third-floor ballroom and Rathskeller (cellar pub). After George and Claribel’s deaths in 1934 and 1938, respectively, the house was owned by their son, Truman. In 1948, Truman sold the house to the Sisters of St. Benedict, and it became known as St. Paul’s Priory. By the 1960s the Sisters of St. Benedict had outgrown the property, and in 1965 they sold it to the Volksfest Association before moving to Maplewood.

Later that year, the Volksfest Association moved into the Gardner home and began to use it as its headquarters. They called it the Volksfest Kulturhaus—German for culture center. The building also served as a community hub where German Americans, Minnesotans of German heritage, and anyone interested in German culture could come to learn and celebrate.

During the 1980s and 1990s, the Volksfest Association board of directors underwent a generational shift as younger members replaced older ones. In 1994 members decide to transform the organization from a social club into a non-profit institute and rename it the Germanic-American Institute, or GAI for short. The organization’s shift in focus was also precipitated by an influx of non-Germanic immigrants to the Minneapolis area, as well as the perceived disconnect between newer generations and their German heritage. The GAI’s revised mission statement read “to foster appreciation and understanding of the culture, language, arts, and ongoing history of the German speaking peoples through public educational and cultural programs.”

In the 1990s, many public schools in the Metro area began to drop German-language classes from their curricula. In response, the GAI founded the Twin Cities German Immersion School in 2005. Among other programs, the GAI offers a summer language camps for kids, provides comprehensive German language instruction to adults ranging from new to fluent speakers, and hosts events and speakers that celebrate and promote understanding of German culture, traditions, and history.

In the 2010s, the GAI board of directors anticipated another generational shift. It recognized that although German American millennials had grown up in a globally connected world, they were further removed from their German heritage than ever before. To adapt to this change, the GAI began restoration projects for the house and parking lot and planned new programs to attract younger generations of visitors.

  • Lemkins, Jonah. "Germanic-American Institute." MNopedia, Minnesota Historical Society. (accessed March 28, 2019)



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Send message to moderator


In Minnesota, family fun outdoors means embracing all four seasons. If you are on this page because you are looking for a new Twin Cities-area park, playground or nature center to explore, hundreds of entries can be found through our Parks & Playgrounds Search feature. Or, continue searching hundreds more ideas of things to do with kids in the Twin Cities through our Family Directory, including family outings, services, classes, camps, birthday parties and more.

What is the Family Fun Twin Directory?

This is the most extensive collection of companies, organizations, activities and places to find things to do with kids in the Twin Cities. Find things to do this weekend, things to do today, things to do with toddlers, things to do with teens. We have it all. Sort by indoor things to do with kids or outdoor things to do with kids. Find theater, music, water parks, aquariums, zoos, museums, seasonal fun.

Find the Answers to Your Questions. How much does it cost? What are the hours? Where can I find discount tickets? Where did my favorite store go?

We share Family Friendly Businesses. We work hard to keep it the most current and accurate parenting resource in the Twin Cities. Not just a blog for moms, we are a informational resource for families. This parent to parent list is perfect for dads, moms and grandparents to find fun things to do with kids year round.

This directory was made for families who live in the Twin Cities metro to connect with local businesses. However, visitors to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area will find our directory useful to learn more about venues with insider tips and details. Use this directory to find the best things to do with families in Minnesota's largest metropolitan area.

Connect With Us:


© 2020 Family Fun Twin Cities LLC. All Rights Reserved. PO Box 120034 New Brighton, MN 55112, USA