Twin Cities Guide to Family Activities This Weekend: August 12-13, 2023

weekend family guide

Things to do in Minneapolis & St Paul this weekend!

This Twin Cities Family Weekend Guide covers the weekend of Aug 12-13, 2023. To find our most recent guide, click here. Need more inspiration? You can always consult our AUGUST FAMILY GUIDE, our 2023 ULTIMATE TWIN CITIES SUMMER FUN 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!

Looking for ideas on what to do with your kids in the Twin Cities this week? Definitely jump over to our TWIN CITIES GUIDE TO FAMILY ACTIVITIES THIS WEEK.


Festivals in the Twin Cities are still going strong in the month of August. For further weekend planning, check our AUGUST FAMILY FESTIVAL CALENDAR. This weekend we’re highlighting a couple of local community festivals that could be a good alternative for kids to the big-time MINNESOTA STATE FAIR, taking place in late August.

Eagan: Food Truck Festival 

Music by the Free & Easy band. FREE admission, food available to purchase from 20+ food truck vendors. Friday, August 11, 4-9pm.

New Brighton: Stockyard Days 

Family activities in Long Lake Regional Park, a kiddie parade, petting zoo, and fireworks. August 11-13, 2023.

Newport: Pioneer Day

Pioneer Memorial Park at 611 4th Avenue, Newport MN
Parade at 11am followed by live music, BINGO, a petting zoo and entertainment. August 13, 2023. FREE admission.

Rockford: Rockford River Days

Carnival, fireworks & Grand Parade. August 11-13, 2023. FREE admission.

St Paul: 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. August 11-13, 2023.

August Festivals and Fairs in the Twin Cities Minnesota


How to narrow down 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.


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, visitor center, fishing pier and, atop the bluff, the commanding HISTORIC FORT SNELLING (separate admission fee if you’re interested in exploring). 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


Lighthouse Night at Centennial Lakes

Fun and free for all ages! Come for music, quarter ice cream cones, roving magic shows, the organ grinder, “penny farthing” bicycles and lighthouse night with Edina Model Yacht Club. August 13, 2023, starting at 6:30pm.

Saturday Farm Days at Gale Woods

7210 County Rd 110 W, Minnetrista, MN 55364
invites you and your kids to visit the animals and explore the barn, gardens, greenhouses and pastures. August 12, 2023, 9am-12pm, $6/pp.

Gale Woods Farm, Minnetrista
Meeting Chickens

Puppet Adventures & Let’s Get StARTed

Silverwood Park, 2500 County Rd E, St Anthony, MN 55421
Take in a puppet show followed by make-and-take nature-inspired art. August 13, 2023, 1-3pm.

Second Saturdays at Grimm Farm

7720 Grimm Road, Victoria MN 55386
Step back in time with interpreters and old-fashioned lawn games. Plus, lots more outdoor exploration to do at CARVER PARK RESERVE, including the LOWRY NATURE CENTER. August 12, 2023, 1:30-4pm.

Living history open houses

  • POND DAKOTA MISSION PARK: The FREE open houses typically feature hands-on activities to make the history lessons fun. This week learn how laundry was done at the turn of the century. Learn more about the park, located in Bloomington. August 12, 2023, 1-4pm.


This summer has been awesome in terms of temperature! We’ve done more exploring than usual of new splash spots – 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:

Featured Minneapolis wading pool: North Mississippi Regional Park

MINNEAPOLIS WADING POOLS are fun, free and some are splashy and elaborate. We try to highlight a new location each week. Try the pool & playground at NORTH MISSISSIPPI REGIONAL PARK. It’s also very close to the CARL KROENING INTERPRETIVE CENTER if you’d like to pop in for fun exhibits and other nature play opportunities. 5116 N Mississippi Dr, Minneapolis, MN 55412.


This website has info about parks like North Mississippi Regional Park

Featured Twin Cities beach: Bush Lake Beach, Bloomington

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. The parking fee continues to be waived this year so the beach is completely free to visit! Make a day of it by visiting the enormous HYLAND PLAY AREA “aka Chutes & Ladders” nearby. 9140 East Bush Lake Road, Bloomington, MN 55438.

Bush Lake Beach, Bloomington

Featured outdoor swimming pool: Battle Creek Waterworks, St Paul

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. 2401 Upper Afton Rd E, Maplewood, MN 55119.

Battle Creek Waterworks Play Strucutre
Image Courtesy of Ramsey County Parks

Featured Twin Cities splash pad: Shakopee Lions Park

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! 1103 Adams St S, Shakopee, MN 55379.

Search our giant list of the best 35 Splash Pads & Wading Pools in the Twin Cities.
Lion fountain at the Lions Park Splash Pad in Shakopee Minnesota
Splash pad

Many outdoor pools in the Twin Cities offer special tot swim hours so littler ones can get some splash time in before the big kids arrive. You can find these tot swims at the following pools this weekend:

Saturday Tot Swims

  • CASCADE BAY: Little Mates Tot Swim – select areas of the waterpark open from 9:30-10:30am. $6/child, one adult free. 1360 Civic Center Drive, Eagan, MN 55122.
  • CRYSTAL COVE: Little Splashers Pool Time is for kids ages 7 & under to enjoy the zero-depth entry pool. 10-11:30am, $3/child, adults free. 4848 Douglas Dr N, Crystal, MN 55429.
  • RICHFIELD OUTDOOR POOL: Kids ages 7 & under get the zero-depth-entry wading pool and water play equipment to themselves. 10-11am, $11/pp. 630 East 66th Street, Richfield, MN 55423.
  • SANDVENTURE AQUATIC CENTER: Kids ages 0-6 can swim in the zero-depth entry pool and play in the sand beach. 9:15-10:45am. $5/child, adults free. 1101 Adams St S, Shakopee, MN 55379.

Sunday Tot Swims

  • CASCADE BAY – Little Mates Tot Swim (see above)
  • COMO REGIONAL PARK POOL: Tot Time swim is for kids ages 6 & under. 9:30-11am. $4/children and adults. 1151 Wynne Ave Saint Paul, MN 55108.
  • HIGHLAND PARK AQUATIC CENTER: Tot time for kids 6 & under. 9:30-11am. $4/pp children and adults. 1840 Edgcumbe Rd, St Paul, MN 55116. 

Find our complete list of Tot Swims, including many that offer cheaper rates for this limited swim time.


Family Fun at the Farm: Tomato Day

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Farm, 3210 W 82nd Street, Chanhassen, MN 55317
Join the Arb at the Farm for
Tomato Day. Inside, join in demonstrations and tastings learn about seed saving and participate in propagation activities. Find family-friendly activities outside on the Event Lawns. Included with daily admission $15/adult; free for children 15 and under. Online reservations required. August 12, 2023, 10am-3pm. 

child and mother playing in the crabapple trees at Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Free block party and a movie for kids & families

Minnesota Children’s Museum

10 West Seventh Street, St. Paul, MN 55102
Join MCM as they again 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 a fee. August 12, 2023. 10am-2pm.

Family Fun Day at Target Field Station

Target Field Station Amphitheater, Minneapolis
Activities themed to the exploring of a multitude of cultures: language lessons, arts & crafts, dance performances, games and treats. August 13, 2023, 11am-1pm, FREE!

Go on a Family Picnic

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.

minneapolis picnics

August 12 is National Bowling Day

You can find more places to bowl on the weekends in A Strike of Fun: Twin Cities Bowling Alleys.

Explore the Minneapolis Riverfront

GET TIPS AT: 10 THINGS FOR KIDS AT THE STONE ARCH BRIDGE IN MINNEAPOLIS. Stroll across the historic bridge, take in the falls from the St Anthony Lock & Dam, shop the Saturday farmers market or even visit the highly kid-friendly MILL CITY MUSEUM – all within steps of each other.

Always free to visit weekends:

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