It’s summer! The birds are chirping, the beaches are beckoning, the kids are home and it’s time to get outside together. Want to fill up your summer fun bucket list but don’t know where to start?
Not a problem – we’ve got you covered. 101 Ideas for Kids this Summer and a Free Printable Bucket List for you to fill out.
Twin Cities Summer Fun Ideas – On Your Schedule
- Register to attend a Humane Society Furry Tales Story Time | 2 locations: Golden Valley, 2nd Wednesday, 10-10:45am OR Woodbury, 1st Thursday, 10-10:45 am. Reservations are absolutely necessary for this popular story time. FREE.
- Join FFTC at GoodKids in White Bear Lake when the BookHounds Clubhouse is open | Each Wednesday in June from 10-11.
- Explore Como Zoo | St Paul | Don’t forget to check out the new snow leopards and Blooming Butterflies. FREE.
- Be a guest of Safe Summer Nights | St Paul Parks | Barbecue and fun with St. Paul Police officers select evenings from 5-7pm. FREE.
- Drop by Indian Mounds Park | St Paul | See the goats that were brought in to control invasive weeds. FREE.
- Tour Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary | Minneapolis | Borrow an adventure backpack and binoculars to spot some wildlife. FREE.
- Play Games Galore at Union Depot | St Paul | Drop in and play giant versions of board games Wednesdays from 10am-8pm. FREE.
- Make a morning of it at one of these 10 Twin Cities Farmer’s Markets | FREE admission and often free activities for kids.
- Get your nose in a Summer Reading Program | We recommend BookHounds, of course, but each of 8 metro-area library systems participate in a summer program and are busy all summer long with free programs for kids.
- Visit Pond-Dakota Mission House during an Open House | Bloomington | Take a guided tour or try out a historic pastime. Ongoing Sundays, 1:30-4 pm. FREE, donation of $2/pp appreciated.
- Attend a Puppet Wagon performance | Golden Valley, Roseville, Woodbury, Shoreview & Eagan parks offer mobile puppet theaters. Bring a picnic! FREE.
- Fly through the air at Minnesota Zip Lines and Adventures | Henderson, Minn.
- Get a little bit lost at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts | Admission is always FREE, plus enjoy a day geared for families every 2nd Sunday of the month.
- Tour the St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam | Minneapolis | Tours run daily Memorial Day-Labor Day at 11am, 1 & 3 pm. FREE.
- Discover (or rediscover) the Minneapolis Toy Library at one of their bi-weekly lending event. Make good on your resolution to clean up your kids’ rooms!
- Take a Road Trip to a Universe in the Park event | Hosted by Minnesota State Parks and the Three Rivers Park District | Friday & Saturday evenings, 8:30 pm. FREE.
- Check out the Luxton Park Book Exchange for new summer reads | Summer hours: Mon-Thurs 12-8pm, Fri 12-6pm | FREE.
- Get your Groovin’ in the Garden on at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory | St Paul | Music and lawn games to keep kids occupied. Another great picnic opportunity. Wednesdays, 6-8pm. FREE.
- Take advantage of a Free Tuesday Night at the super kid-friendly Minnesota History Center | St Paul | 3pm-8 pm, plus Bands on the Boulevard runs each Tuesday night in July.
- Catch a Saints Game | CHS Field, St Paul | Tickets are available for under $10 apiece.
- Play on the brand-spanking new equipment at French Regional Park | Go early in the morning before the crowds arrive
- Explore summertime in the city with 10 Free Things To Do with Kids in Downtown Minneapolis.
- Climb around Hyland Lake Park Reserve Play Area (aka Chutes and Ladders to the initiated) FREE
- Grab a basket and pick-your-own berries at one of these Twin Cities PYO Produce Farms.
- Attend a $4 Sunday at the Great River Waterpark.
- Head back in time at the Grimm Farmhouse Open House and explore the Lowry Nature Center, both a part of Carver Park Reserve | Victoria | Summer Saturdays 1-4pm | FREE
- Take in a summertime Story Hour at one of the Twin Cities’ independent bookshops.
- Rent a surrey from Wheel Fun Rentals and take a spin around the lake. Locations at: Calhoun, Harriet, Nokomis, Como, Minnehaha Falls & Veterans Memorial Park in Richfield.
- Discover a new beach with this list of 10 Beaches and Playgrounds to Try This Summer or 10 MORE beach ideas to try.
- Check out the updated Minneapolis Sculpture Garden | Minneapolis
- Go on a family camping trip.
- Seek out one of these 12 Twin Cities Picnic Spots from Dining with Alice.
- Take the family out to play disc golf on one of the Twin Cities’ many courses. FREE.
- Stroll down Summit Avenue in St Paul past the James J. Hill House and maybe stop in at the gallery ($2/pp).
- Walk on the boardwalk at Harriet Alexander Nature Center.
- Take a day trip to the nearby National Eagle Center, Wabasha.
- Discover indoor-outdoor fun at one of these beautiful Twin Cities Nature Centers.
- Eat lunch at food truck! (Find them here.) Bonus points if the kids will try something new.
- Read One North Star by Phyllis Root, then explore your own Minnesota habitat and find the North Star.
- Need AC? Try one of these 10 Free Air-Conditioned Family Outings.
- Go fishing at Fort Snelling State Park | St Paul | Fishing gear is always free to use and a license is not required in state parks. A daily vehicle permit of $7 is charged to enter the park.
- Try a new food at a local Farmers Market
- Keep a Nature Journal or do another science activity together.
- Eat an ice cream cone from a local scoop shop.
- Visit Gale Woods Farm, Minnetrista.
- Be a pioneer for a day at Gibbs Farm – Go on an Ice Cream Sunday for a treat.
- Celebrate the sun by being creative with summer crafts.
- Bike the trail from Fort Snelling State Park to Minnehaha Falls | FREE
- Visit one of these imaginative Twin Cities Nature Playgrounds | FREE
Gina talks to WCCO This Morning about how to plan your family’s perfect summer bucket list – June 11, 2018.
Twin Cities Summer Fun Ideas in June
6/2/18: Bring the family to Flint Hills International Children’s Festival, St Paul | Fri 5-9pm, Sat 10am-8pm
6/3/18: Have a Grand Old Day along Grand Avenue, St Paul | Family Fun District open 10am-5pm plus the traditional parade, vendors and food.
6/4/18: Storytime with Mama Ray at Moon Palace Books | 3032 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis | 10:30 am-11 am
6/5/18: Washington County Parks offer FREE admission each first Tuesday of the month. Explore a new-to-you one such as Lake Elmo Park Reserve with its sand-bottomed swim pond.
6/6/18: Drop in for creative play at Snapology Minneapolis, one of the more unique indoor play spaces in the Twin Cities | 10am-5pm, $8 for unlimited play.
6/7/18: Twin Cities River Rats water ski shows begin tonight – catch one ongoing Thursdays on West River Road south of Broadway Avenue, Minneapolis | 6:30pm. FREE.
6/8/18: A baker’s dozen of our Twin Cities outdoor swimming spots are opening this weekend! Find out 2018 pool hours, admissions and other details here.
6/9/18: FREE admission to all Minnesota State Parks on National Get Outdoors Day.
6/11/18: Beat Monday blues with the Monday Morning Kids Series | Moir Park, Bloomington, 10:30am
6/12/18: Bubble Storytime at the Red Balloon Bookshop includes a bubble dance party on the patio | St Paul, 6:30pm.
6/13/18: BookHounds Family Book Club welcomes local author Nina Crittenden to the Clubhouse at GoodKids | White Bear Lake, 10-11am.
6/14/18: Thursday Rockin’ Lunch Hour concerts begin in Burnsville’s Nicollet Commons Park. Bring your swimsuits to take a dip in the best splash pad in the Twin Cities!
6/15/18: Eden Prairie Park Players present a FREE performance of “Beauty and the Beast” at Staring Lake Amphitheater | Staring Lake Park, 7pm.
6/16/18: Head back in time on the farm at Eidem Homestead Open House | Brooklyn Park, 10am-2pm. FREE admission.
6/17/18: Spend some quality time with Dad at one of these Twin Cities Father’s Day Events.
6/18/18: Admission is FREE each 3rd Monday of the month at Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and here are 10 things kids will love about the place. | Chaska, 8am-8pm.
6/19/18: Attend Eden Prairie Kidstock and listen to the Teddy Bear Band | Staring Lake Ampitheatre, 14800 Pioneer Trail, Eden Prairie | 10:30 am-11:15 am
6/20/18: Get a little guidance on your art projects at Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts Open Art Studio | 6666 East River Road, Fridley | 1 pm-4 pm
6/21/18: Como Park Zoo & Conservatory’s Lil Explorer Thursdays has been extended through the summer for 2018! Ages 0-5 rejoice. |
6/22/18: Shoreview’s Wet ‘n Wild slip-and-slide is back for another summer! | Commons Park, 12:30-2:30pm. FREE.
6/23/18: So many June festivals to choose from today: Midsommar Dag, Minnetonka Summer Fest, Columbia Heights Jamboree, Rosefest and Blaine Festival to name but a few. Find the rest on our June Family Festival Calendar.
6/24/18: It’s Dairy Weekend at historic Oliver Kelley Farm! Come help make and sample some dairy goodness to fortify you for farm chores | 10am-5pm, $6-$12/pp.
6/25/18: Make the most of the longest day of the year at a Summer Solstice Campfire | Dodge Nature Center, West St Paul | 6:30-7:30pm, $7/pp or $20/family.
6/26/18: Tour the Governor’s Residence. Reservations are appreciated and non-perishable food items are requested. Tours begin every 10 minutes | 1006 Summit Ave, St Paul, MN 55105 | 10:30 am- Noon
6/27/18: Come to the BookHounds ClubHouse Grand Celebration! Meet beloved local author David LaRochelle and play with the other BookHounds | GoodKids 4760 Banning Ave | 10 am-11 am
6/28/18: Watch Sing at the Starlight Cinema | Ojibway Park, 2695 Ojibway Drive, Woodbury | 7 pm-11 pm
6/29/18: Try out Snapology on their Free Build Friday | 2649 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis | 9 am-8:30 pm
6/30/18: Participate in the Mural Painting at Bloomington Farmer’s Market | Bloomington Civic Plaza, East Lot, 1800 W. Old Shakopee Rd, Bloomington | 9 am-Noon
Twin Cities Summer Fun Ideas in July
7/1/18: Hit up the Kids Dance Party at Can Can Wonderland for free family fun – balloons, coloring, treats and, of course, music for dancing | St Paul, 10-11:30am, free admission, mini golf extra.
7/2/18: Beat the Heat at St. Louis Park Aquatic Park’s Tot Time | 3700 Monterey Drive, St. Louis Park | $9.50/pp, Families interested in Tot Time must arrive before 10:45 am
7/3/18: Bloomington’s Summer Fete Fireworks – the solution for those of us who have to get up and go to work on July 5 | Normandale Lake Park | Entertainment 5-10pm with fireworks at dusk
7/4/18: Hang out all day and evening at Minneapolis Red, White & Boom | Minneapolis riverfront
7/5/18: Get creative at Simply Jane’s Toddler Time | 5411 Nicollet Avenue Minneapolis | $5-$10 flat rate
7/6/18: Participate in Can Can Karaoke @ Can Can Wonderland. This dance party is hosted by Silly Miss Tilly and is fun for all ages. | 755 Prior Ave N #004, St Paul | $2/adult
7/7: Play a round of golf at Brightwood Hills Golf Course • Bring at least one child and everyone in your party plays for $7.00.
7/7/18: Road Trip to the Wildlife Science Center to watch the wolves | Stacy, MN | Sat only, tours 11am & 1pm, $8-$10/pp.
7/8/18: Experience the Bollywood Dance Scene at Caponi Park | Caponi Art Park, 1220 Diffley Rd, Eagan | 6:30-8 pm, $5/pp and children under 12 are free
7/9/18: Get moving at the Monday Morning Kids Series at Moir Park. Wendy’s Wiggle, Jiggle, Jam will be playing | 10400 Morgan Ave S, Bloomington | 10:30-11:30 am
7/10/18: Experience Bands on the Boulevard and free admission to the Minnesota History Center from 3:00-9:00 pm | 345 W. Kellogg Blvd. St. Paul
7/11/18: Explore Como Zoo during their Autism and Sensory Friendly Early Entry Day | 9 am-10 am
7/12/18: Join the Firefly Magic Night Hike at Maplewood Nature Center. This is for children ages 4-10 WITH an adult. | 2659 E 7th St, St Paul | 8:30-10:00 pm, $5/child • Please pre-register. If you are unable to register, please still try.
7/13/18: Hang out with the cool kids and their cool cars at North St. Paul’s Cruze Car Show | North St. Paul, 6-10 pm
7/14/18: Putt ‘N’ Through History FUNdraiser at Sibley House Historic Site includes a round of mini-golf, a historic site tour and other activities. Held in conjunction with Mendota Day – come at noon for the parade. | 12-4:30pm, $5/pp.
7/15/18: Steppingstone Theatre offers a Pay-as-You’re Able performance of “Wizard of Oz” | St Paul, 3pm show only. $5 per ticket minimum suggested, available at the box office.
7/16: Get out in nature at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum during its Free 3rd Monday | Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, 3675 Arboretum Dr, Chaska | 8 am-5 pm
7/17: Enjoy a Puppet Wagon show in a Roseville Park
7/18/18: Minneapolis Aquatennial kicks off with Loring Park Pre-Parade Family Fun Night (5-7:30pm) followed by the Torchlight Parade at 8:30pm.
7/19: Ride the Excelsior Street Car at Excelsior Crazy Days | Excelsior Streetcar Line, 400 George Street, Excelsior | $2.50/ride
7/20-22: Celebrate the Summer’s Mid-point at St. Paul’s Highland Fest | 790 Cleveland Ave. S, St. Paul
7/23: Go on the Story Walk Call Me Tree | Day Park and Earley Lake Trail, 14625 County Road 5, Burnsville | 6 am-9 pm
7/24: Listen to Songs and Stories by Campfire • Dodge Nature Center • $20/family • Pre-registration required.
7/26: Take your best friend to the Canine Carnival at Bracket Field Park • 6 pm-8:30 pm • FREE.
7/27: Check out the Art Lending Library at their July lending event and create some art of your own • FREE.
7/27: Pollinator Party • Lyndale Park • Minneapolis • 5 pm-8 pm • FREE.
7/29: Drop-in Discovery Stations, Dragons & Damsels • Tamarack Nature Center, White Bear Lake • 10 am-noon • FREE.
7/29: Family Movie Night at Dickman Park with Finding Dory. Dusk.
More Family Summer Fun from FFTC: Twin Cities Guide to Beaches, Pools and Waterparks
Twin Cities Summer Fun Ideas in August
8/8: Explore Father Hennepin Bluff Park, Minneapolis, take an evening picnic, and then watch the Stone Arch Jazz Band at 7 pm • FREE
8/10: Go Ice Skating! Little Tyke Skating (6 and under) at Shakopee Ice Arena • 10:45-11:45 • FREE
8/11-13: Attend the Grand Reopening Weekend of the Minnesota State Capitol • FREE • Details will be released during the summer.
8/12: Attend a Family Dance night @ Tapestry Folkdance Center • 6:30 pm-8 pm • $10/family
8/18-20: Watch the 2017 Annual Wacipi Pow Wow, Shakopee • $10/ages 10-60
8/24: Attend Opening Day of the Minnesota State Fair • Here is 50 Things to Do! • $11/ticket • Runs through September 4, 2017.
8/25: Drop in to watch a Public Bird Banding • Carpenter Nature Center, Hastings • 8:30 am-noon • FREE • Donations of birdseed are appreciated.
8/27: Enjoy Bluegrass and Lemonade, at Gammelgarden Museum, Scandia • 2 pm-4 pm • FREE
8/28: Do some Family Canoeing, Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park •1 pm-5 pm • $15/pp
More Family Summer Fun from FFTC: Summer Reading Programs
More Summer Fun Ideas for Anytime!
Water Fun – Twin Cities Guide to Beaches, Pools & Water Parks