Summer Fun Bucket List 2017: 101 Ideas For Your Family This Summer

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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:

Summer Fun

We’ve got your bucket list of 101 Ideas For Your Family Summer Fun


Wheel Fun RentalsThis Bucket List is brought to you by Wheel Fun Rentals.

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Twin Cities Summer Fun Ideas – On Your Schedule

  1. Register to attend a Humane Society Furry Tales Story Time, Golden Valley, 2nd Wednesday, 10 am-10:45am • Woodbury, 1st Thursday, 10 am – 10:45 am •  FREE • Reservations are encouraged for this popular story time.
  2. Go fishing at Fort Snelling State Park, St. Paul • FREE • Fishing gear is always free to use and a license is not required in state parks. There is a vehicle fee.
  3. Explore Como Zoo •  FREE • Don’t forget to check out the new snow leopards and Blooming Butterflies.
  4. Be a guest of Safe Summer Nights • Various St. Paul Parks •  5 pm-7 pm • FREE • Barbecue and fun with St. Paul Police officers.
  5. Drop by Indian Mounds Park, St. Paul •  FREE •  See the goats that were brought in to control invasive weeds.
  6. Tour Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary, Minneapolis • FREE • Borrow an adventure backpack and binoculars.
  7. Play Games Galore at Union Depot, St. Paul • FREE • Wednesdays, 10 am-8 pm • Drop in and play giant versions of board games.
  8. Make a morning of it at one of these 10 Twin Cities Farmer’s Markets • FREE
  9. Pick a Summer Reading Program • We recommend BookHounds, of course • FREE • Or pick more than one reading program and earn multiple prizes.
  10. Visit Pond-Dakota Mission House during an Open House • FREE • Sundays 1:30-4 pm.
  11. Attend a Golden Valley Puppet Wagon Performance • (Roseville, Woodbury, Shoreview & Eagan parks also offer puppet wagons).
  12. Fly through the air at Minnesota Zip Lines and Adventures, Henderson MN.
  13. Get a little bit lost at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts • always FREE • Plus Family Day every 2nd Sunday.

    The Kingston’s enjoy the river near St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam

  14. Tour the St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam • Daily Memorial Day  to Labor Day, 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm • Minneapolis • FREE • Kids can get their NPS Passport stamped here.
  15. Discover (or Rediscover) the Minneapolis Toy Library at one of their bi-weekly lending events • Make good on your resolution to clean up your kid’s rooms!
  16. Take a Road Trip to a Universe in the Park event • Friday & Saturday evenings • 8:30 pm •  Hosted at various State Parks and Three Rivers Parks.
  17. Check out the Luxton Park Book Exchange • Mondays-Thursdays • 3 pm-8:45 pm •  They claim to be the best book exchange in town.
  18. Groove at Groovin’ in the Garden •  Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St. Paul • Wednesdays • 6 pm-8 pm  •  FREE  • Lawn games and music.
  19. Take advantage of a Free Tuesday Night • Minnesota History Center, 5 pm-8 pm – FREE •  9 Nights of Music runs July 4-August 22.
  20. Catch a Saints Game  •  Tickets start at $5.
  21. Explore Downtown St. Paul, Rice Park, & George Latimer Central Library •  FREE.
  22. Explore Downtown Minneapolis, Stone Arch Bridge, & Minneapolis Central Library •  FREE.
  23. Climb around Hyland Lake Park Reserve Play Area (Aka Chutes and Ladders) •  FREE.
  24. Grab a basket and pick-your-own berries at one of these Twin Cities PYO Produce Farms.
  25. Attend a $4 Sunday at the Great River Waterpark.
  26. Explore the Grimm Farmhouse Open House, Lowry Nature Center • Summer Saturdays • 1 pm-4 pm • FREE.
  27. Take in a Story Hour or try to hit as many as possible.
  28. Rent a surrey from Wheel Fun Rentals and take a spin around the lake.
  29. Discover a new beach with this list of 10 Beaches and Playgrounds to Try This Summer or  10 MORE beach ideas to try.
  30. Go on a Minneapolis Tiny Park Tour.
  31. Go on a family camping trip.
  32. Seek out one of these 12 Twin Cities Picnic Spots from Dining with Alice.
  33. Take the family out to play disc golf on one of the Twin Cities’ many courses.
  34. Stroll Down Summit Avenue in St. Paul • FREE • past the James J. Hill House  and maybe stop at the gallery • $2/person.
  35. Walk on the boardwalk at Harriet Alexander Nature Center.
  36. Take a day trip to the nearby National Eagle Center, Wabasha.
  37. Discover indoor-outdoor fun at one of these beautiful Twin Cities Nature Centers.
  38. Eat lunch at food truck! (Find them here.) Bonus points if the kids will try something new.
  39. Read One North Star by Phyllis Root, then explore your own Minnesota habitat and find the North Star.
  40. Need AC? Try one of these 10 Free Air-Conditioned Family Outings.
  41. Tuesday Storytime with Engineer Paul, Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store, St. Paul • FREE.
  42. Enjoy free entertainment at St. Paul Farmer’s Market.
  43. Eat an ice cream cone from a local scoop shop.
  44. Visit Gale Woods Farm, Minnetrista.
  45. Be a pioneer for a day at Gibbs Farm – Go on an Ice Cream Sunday for a treat.
  46. Visit Addendum Books and read a book together.
  47. Bike the trail from Fort Snelling State Park to Minnehaha Falls • FREE
  48. Visit one of these imaginative Twin Cities Nature Playgrounds • FREE

Twin Cities Summer Fun Ideas in June

  1. 6/1-10 • Visit Walker Art Center, Minneapolis • FREE to celebrate the reopening of the sculpture garden (normally $14/adult).
  2. 6/2 • Attend the Pratt Ice Cream Social, Minneapolis •  5:30 pm-8 pm •  FREE • This is the only day each year when the Witch’s Hat Water Tower is open to the public
  3. 6/3: Check out the updated Minneapolis Sculpture GardenMinneapolis •  10 am-4 pm •  FREE • Grand Reopening Garden Party and Walker Free First Saturday activities.
  4. 6/3: Celebrate Waterfest Phalen Park, St. Paul • 11 am-4 pm • FREE • A celebration of clean lakes and water fun.
  5. 6/3: Enjoy Art in the Hollow Swede Hollow Park, St. Paul • 10 am-5 pm •  FREE • The only art fair on St. Paul’s Eastside.
  6. 6/3-4: Do the Flint Hills International Children’s Festival, St. Paul • FREE •  New in 2017 Indoor performances are pay what you are able for rush tickets.
    Start the summer with Flint Hills International Children's Festsival

    Flint Hills International Children’s Festival

  7. 6/4: Experience Grand Old Day, St. Paul • 8 am-6 pm •  FREE • Parade, bands, kids area.
  8. 6/7: Participate in Family Fishing Night at Lake Phalen, St. Paul • 6 pm-8 pm •  FREE • Gear provided, but a license is required for anyone over 16.
  9. 6/8: Attend the Opening Reception for Green Card Youth Voices, Roseville • 6 pm-8 pm •  FREE • Visit the exhibit at Roseville Library anytime in June.
  10. 6/9 Participate in National Get Outdoors Day.
  11. 6/10-11 Take the family to Art on Lake, Excelsior • FREE • Art, music and local food vendors.
  12. 6/10-11: Feiern Deutsche Tag Weekend, Germanic American Institute, St. Paul FREE German culture in a family-friendly setting.
  13. 6/11: Watch Tiny Boats at Edina Model Yacht Club’s Parade of Boats, Centennial Lakes Park, EdinaFREE 
  14. 6/11: Family Art Sunday at Banfill Locke Center for the Arts
  15. 6/17: Shakopee Big Fun Day    5 pm-8 pm Water Fun, Splatter Sisters, Movie in the Park.
  16. 6/17-18: Stone Arch Bridge Festival, Minneapolis    FREE.
  17. 6/21: See the Big Epic Show and the Bazillions at Market Fest in Eagan, 4 pm-8 pm.
  18. 6/22: Get some Harmonica lessons at Huber Park, Shakopee, 6:30 pm-8 pm.
  19. 6/22-26: Rosefest in Roseville is a full week of activities for the whole family – FREE
  20. 6/30: Make it a Date Night with Kids: Catch Katy Vernon in Concert and then watch Singin’ in the Rain while the little cherubs sleep peacefully next to you    Lake Harriet Park   7:30-11 pm.


Twin Cities Summer Fun Ideas in July

  1. 7/1: Attend a Naturalists Nature Table at North Mississippi Regional Park, Minneapolis   10 am-3 pm  FREE.
  2. 7/3: Bloomington Summer Fete Fireworks  The solution for those of us who have to get up and go to work on the 5th.
  3. 7/4: Hang out all day and evening at Minneapolis Red, White & Boom
  4. 7/4: Check out the newly upgraded Oliver H. Kelly Farm at Farmer’s Fourth of July, Elk River, $6-$10/pp
  5. 7/6: Search for fireflies at Firefly Magic at Maplewood Nature Center ($5/child; reservations required). I’m sure this will sell out fast.
  6. 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. 7/8: Road Trip to the Wildlife Science Center for a summer fun tour.
  8. 7/8: Family Art Day    Sibley Historic Site   11 am-4 pm  FREE.
  9. 7/8-9: Participate in a Three Rivers Full Moon Activity  The full moon falls across a weekend and July weather can’t be beat for night activities.
  10. 7/16: Attend Aladdin, Jr.    Steppingstone Theatre • Pay-What-You-Are-Able Performance  •  3 pm.
  11. 7/17: Visit the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum FREE Third Monday 8 am-8 pm.
  12. 7/19: Attend a Loring Park Pre-Parade Family Night before watching the Aquatennial Torchlight Parade    FREE.
  13. 7/20: Watch Dog Videos at the Candid Canine Film Fest, Downtown Minneapolis  FREE  4 pm-9 pm   Screenings throughout the day.
  14. 7/21-23: Visit Stillwater Lumberjack Days Sing Monty Python’s Lumberjack Song all the way there   FREE
  15. 7/24: Listen to Songs and Stories by Campfire Dodge Nature Center $20/family  Pre-registration required.
  16. 7/26: Take your best friend to the Canine Carnival at Bracket Field Park 6 pm-8:30 pm FREE.
  17. 7/27: Check out the Art Lending Library at their July lending event and create some art of your own FREE.
  18. 7/27: Pollinator Party   Lyndale Park  Minneapolis  5 pm-8 pm FREE.
  19. 7/29: Drop-in Discovery Stations, Dragons & Damsels Tamarack Nature Center, White Bear Lake  10 am-noon FREE.
  20. 7/29: Family Movie Night at Dickman Park with Finding Dory. Dusk.
  21. 7/30: Minnesota History Center‘s Family Day • Picnics Then, Picnics Now  noon-3 pm $6-$12/pp

More Family Summer Fun from FFTC: Twin Cities Guide to Beaches, Pools and Waterparks

Twin Cities Summer Fun Ideas in August

  1. 8/5-6: Browse Art Fairs like Uptown & Powderhorn, Minneapolis
  2. 8/8: Explore Father Hennepin Bluff Park, Minneapolis, take an evening picnic, and then watch the Stone Arch Jazz Band at 7 pm • FREE
  3.  8/10: Go Ice Skating! Little Tyke Skating (6 and under) at Shakopee Ice Arena • 10:45-11:45 • FREE
  4. 8/11-13: Attend the Grand Reopening Weekend of the Minnesota State Capitol • FREE • Details will be released during the summer.
  5. 8/12: Attend a Family Dance night @ Tapestry Folkdance Center • 6:30 pm-8 pm • $10/family
  6. 8/18-20: Watch the 2017 Annual Wacipi Pow Wow, Shakopee • $10/ages 10-60 
  7. 8/20: Participate in the Japanese Lantern Lighting Festival at Como Zoo • 3 pm-9 pm • $3-$5/pp • Arrive early so you can visit Blooming Butterflies before the zoo closes.
  8. 8/24: Attend Opening Day of the Minnesota State Fair • Here is 50 Things to Do! •  $11/ticket • Runs through September 4, 2017.
  9. 8/25: Drop in to watch a Public Bird Banding • Carpenter Nature Center, Hastings • 8:30 am-noon • FREE • Donations of birdseed are appreciated.
  10. 8/26 Attend a Tim Mahoney/Chastity Brown Concert at Franconia Sculpture Park, Shafer • 2 pm-6 pm •  FREE • If you plan to do #11, maybe camp at nearby Wm O’Brien State Park.
  11. 8/27: Enjoy Bluegrass and Lemonade, at Gammelgarden Museum, Scandia • 2 pm-4 pm • FREE
  12. 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!

Splash Pads 

Water Fun – Twin Cities Guide to Beaches, Pools & Water Parks

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About the author

Gianna Kordatzky

I am married to the craziest, most awesome man I know. We have four kids--Ranging in ages from 5-10. You can learn more about my life as a mother and wife at www.giannaraekordatzky.blogspot.com .

I love to throw parties and be with friends. I love to read my Bible and grow closer to God. I love to eat and exercise. I have learned to love coffee.
And I could really use a nap.

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