Twin Cities Guide to Family Activities This Weekend: August 14-15, 2021

weekend family guide

Things to do in Minneapolis & St Paul this weekend!

This Twin Cities Family Weekend Guide covers the weekend of Aug 14-15, 2021. To find our most recent guide, click here.

Need more inspiration? You can always consult our AUGUST FAMILY GUIDE or our fully-stocked FAMILY FUN CALENDAR for more fun ideas on what to do this weekend in the Twin Cities with your kids!

Family Festivals this weekend in the twin cities

Brooklyn Park:  Tater Daze Festival (Aug 13-14)

History Day at Eidem Farm, Drive-In Movie, inflatables, entertainment, art activities, open houses at fire, police and recreation.

Eagan: Food Truck Festival (Aug 13)

Music by Omission Republic and Boogie Wonderland. FREE admission, food available to purchase.

New Brighton: Stockyard Days (Aug 13-15)

Family activities in Long Lake Regional Park, a kiddie parade, petting zoo, and fireworks. Aug 13-15.

New Hope: HeyDey Festival (Aug 14)

Beanbag tournament, softball tournament and run/walk. Held in Northwood Park.

Rockford: Rockford River Days (Aug 13-15)

Carnival, fireworks & Grand Parade.

Irish Fair of Minnesota

Meet Irish dogs, explore Irish instruments, take an Irish dance lesson, and craft  in the Art Tent. Held on Harriet Island Regional Park. Tickets are $15-$20/pp for adults. Aug 13-15.


Held at the Minnesota State Capitol. Indian food, dance, theater and exhibits; parade, fun activities and a bazaar.   Aug 14, 11am-8:30pm.

fun outdoor activities in the parks this weekend

How to sort out all this summertime family fun?

Featured here for the weekend is just a taste of all that’s going on across the Twin Cities. You can get the full schedule on our FAMILY FUN CALENDAR or browse the links below to search for local fun events & things to do with kids this weekend.


Como Park Japanese Garden Lantern Release

The traditional festival has been scaled back this year, but there will still be a lantern release in COMO PARK ZOO & CONSERVATORY’S JAPANESE GARDEN. The event is free, but a reservation is required. Aug 15, 8pm.

FFTC Kids at the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory’s Japanese Garden, a fun place to visit anytime!

Dodge Nature Center Summer Fun Fest

Hot air balloon rides, pony rides, wagon rides, live animal programs, nature activities and entertainment by The Teddy Bear Band. Admission is free, but we anticipate fees for the rides. Held at DODGE NATURE CENTER which is a fun place to explore, particularly poking around the working farm! Aug 14.

Playing around at Dodge Nature Center & Farm

Want to explore more nature centers? Check out the links on our big list of Twin Cities nature & interpretive centers for all the details.

Pond Dakota Mission Park: Frontier Laundry Day

Hands-on living history programs fun and free of charge. New themes each Saturday. Drop in Aug 14 from 1-4pm.

Nature Centers Without WallS

Activities may include animal interactions, outdoor displays, nature challenges and checking out free exploration materials. Held at RICHARDSON NATURE CENTER (Bloomington), MISSISSIPPI GATEWAY REGIONAL PARK (Brooklyn Park), LOWRY NATURE CENTER (Victoria) & EASTMAN NATURE CENTER (Maple Grove). Aug 14, 1-3pm, FREE.

Try visiting a Minnesota State Park with your family!

You need not travel far from home to explore one; FORT SNELLING STATE PARK lies right along the bottoms where the Mississippi & Minnesota Rivers meet – in the heart of the Twin Cities! We have recently explored the park by bike and found a beach, playground, fishing pier and, atop the bluff, the commanding HISTORIC FORT SNELLING. You can purchase a grounds pass for $8/pp and take a self-guided storybook hike while the fort is under construction. Fort Snelling State Park is one of 9 MINNESOTA STATE PARKS one hour or less from our home in St Paul.

Geocaching at Fort Snelling State Park

Cool off this weekend in the twin cities (some last chances!)

We don’t want to be the ones to make the call that swimming season is over in Minnesota so we’ll let these beaches & pools do that instead. It’s LAST CHANCE WEEKEND for the following:

However, there are still plenty of splash spots open for a few more weeks (typically through Labor Day) so go ahead and browse the finds in our complete TWIN CITIES ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE BEST BEACHES, POOLS, WATERPARKS & SPLASH PADS or continue for more ideas:

This website has info about parks like North Mississippi Regional Park

  • We include our family favorites in our list of 20+ BEACHES, PARKS & PLAYGROUNDS TO TRY THIS SUMMER. Each week we’re excited to share a new beach one of our FFTC families has discovered – this weekend we’re highlighting BUSH LAKE BEACH in Bloomington. New for 2021, the parking fee has been waived! Make a day of it by visiting the enormous HYLAND PLAY AREA “aka Chutes & Ladders” nearby.
Bush Lake Beach, Bloomington
  • Swimming pools are always a hit for their slides and fun features. Have you tried BATTLE CREEK WATERWORKS WATERPARK in Maplewood yet? This pool is geared toward families with children 10 and under. There is a shallow water pool with interactive water play equipment and a separate activity pool with lily pad walk and swim area. For the grade school kids, there is a three story twisting waterslide.
Battle Creek Waterworks Play Strucutre
Image Courtesy of Ramsey County Parks
  • Don’t forget that splash pads are a perfect place to cool off without the full commitment and cost of a day at the pool. This week we highlight the splash pad at SHAKOPEE LIONS PARK located right next to the FUN FOR ALL PLAYGROUND!
Lion fountain at the Lions Park Splash Pad in Shakopee Minnesota
Splash pad

Search our giant list of the best 35 Splash Pads & Wading Pools in the Twin Cities.

more ideas for things to do this weekend in the twin cities

Free block parties for kids & families!

Minnesota Children’s Museum

Join MCM as they fill the street in front of the museum with all sorts of fun activities for the entire family. The block party is FREE and open to everyone. Stay and play in the museum for only $1.25! Reservations required. Aug 14, 10am-3pm.

Science Museum of Minnesota

Stop by the museum’s outdoor plaza for a free event featuring activities, chalk art, a dinosaur dance squad, and free ice cream for the first 300 visitors. No reservations needed. Aug 14, 2:30-4:30pm.

August 14 is National Bowling Day!

Our favorite place to go bowling is the Student Center at the University of Minnesota St Paul campus. Games are $3/pp (shoe rental $2) before 5pm or just a buck per person on Thursdays. HOWEVER – please note that this location is closed on weekends. You can find more places to bowl on the weekends in A Strike of Fun: Twin Cities Bowling Alleys.

Memory Lanes and other bowling alleys
Find Andy’s Favorite Bowling Alleys in Strike of Fun!

Open Courtyard Family Day at Mill City Museum

Held in the museum’s open-air Ruin Courtyard – learn how St Anthony Falls powered the milling industry and other free exhibits. The STONE ARCH BRIDGE area of Minneapolis always makes for a super fun family outing! August 14 & 15, 10am-2pm.


Como Harbor at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

The seals at Como Zoo have gotten a beautifully updated habitat – come see them swim in their underwater viewing area! We visited last week and loved it. Note that Sparky the Sea Lion shows have not yet resumed and reservations to visit the zoo are still required.

Always free to visit weekends:

Go on a Family Picnic!

minneapolis picnics

Summer weather in the Twin Cities just begs for a meal outdoors. Grab your cooler, blanket and kids and join us on a quest for the best spot for a picnic in Minneapolis among its beautiful parks and lakes.

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