Occasions with Character provides favorite children’s characters for storytimes and private and public events throughout the Twin Cities area, as well as hosting themed family events like the Pirate and Pixie Party, Splendidly Spring Tea, and Villains Halloween Ball. Sign up for our monthly email list for the latest news, event information, exclusive discounts, and your chance to claim FREE tickets to the Snow Sisters Summer Skating Party!
5/1/18 & 5/3/18: MayDay Build Workshops | In the Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theatre, Minneapolis | 7-9pm | Come help create floats for the annual MayDay celebration in Powderhorn Park. Artists will guide volunteers in creating a piece of their own or a contribution to a parade float.
5/4/18: Forever Wild Family Friday: Geocaching | Lebanon Hills Regional Park, Eagan | 7-8:30pm
5/5/18: First Free Saturday: Move to the Music | Walker Art Center, Minneapolis | 10am-3pm | Activities are geared towards kids ages 6-12, but don’t let that stop you from bringing your littler ones! Free gallery admission for the whole family every first Saturday of the month.
5/5/18: MacPhail Free Family Music Series: The Jolly Pops | MacPhail Center For Music, Minneapolis | 10am & 11am concerts | Open houses include concerts geared towards kids, a chance to play with instruments, snacks and more.
5/5/18: Home Depot Kids Workshop: Windmill Planter | TC Home Depot locations | 9am-noon | The first Saturday of each month kids get a kit to build, apron and pin while supplies last; adults must accompany children.
5/12/18: Second Saturdays at TPT | Twin Cities PBS, St Paul | 8-11am | Activities are all free but reserving a time slot is required.
5/12/18: Saturday Family Fun: Garden Starters | Springbrook Nature Center, Fridley | 10-11am
5/13/18: Family Day: Cardboard Creations | Minneapolis Institute of Art, 11am-5pm
5/19/18/: St Paul Chamber Orchestra Free Family Music – Xplorchestra | Ordway Center, St Paul • 10 & 11:30am tickets available | Introduce kids ages 5-9 to classical music in a fun, engaging way.
5/19/18: Public Works Open House & Tour | Bloomington Public Works Building | 9am-noon | Get up close to that big equipment, plus displays, demos and snacks for all ages.
5/19/18: Nature Art – Fairy Gardens | North Mississippi Regional Park | 1-3pm. Family Funday: Toads, Frogs & Polliwogs held 5/27/18, 1-3pm. During both of these monthly activities, drop in for naturalist-led activities and self-guided exploration of the visitor center’s interactive exhibits.
5/20/18: Puppet Adventures of Ned the Naturalist | Silverwood Park, St Anthony | 1-3pm | Join Ned the Naturalist as he stops Trasher the Trash Can from trashing nature. Try art making with a take-home activity.
5/20/18: Target Free 3rd Sunday | Minnesota Children’s Museum, St Paul | 9am-5pm | Explore the newly renovated and expanded museum free! Keep in mind that this program is very popular and you may wait in line to be admitted.
5/21/18: Free 3rd Monday | Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska | 8am-5pm
5/22/18: Star Party | Como Planetarium, St Paul | 7:30-9:30 | Activities for all ages, a mini planetarium program, and chance to look through a telescope (weather permitting).
5/28/18: Memorial Day at Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis | 10:30am-3pm | Ceremony begins at 10:30am followed by live music, refreshments, trolley tours, horse-drawn carriage rides and art activities for kids.
The following Twin Cities museums are FREE to visit:
- Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis – FREE daily, plus Family Day is great for all ages.
- Minnesota History Center, St Paul – lots of interactive exhibits (FREE Tuesdays after 3pm)
- Walker Art Center, Minneapolis – FREE Thursday evenings & First Saturdays of each month
- Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis – FREE daily
Early May: Caponi Art Park | Eagan | Tues-Sun, 9am-8pm | FREE admission, donations appreciated | Wander the trails through the sculpture park and take in free cultural entertainment.
These outdoor swimming holes typically open Memorial Day Weekend, weather permitting. Make sure to double check the websites before packing up the swimsuits and heading out.
Nicollet Commons Park water feature, Burnsville (weather dependent)
Oak Hill Splash Pad | St Louis Park, 10am-8pm | Residents admitted free, non-residents pay $1/pp
Minneapolis Wading Pools & Beaches | Open daily 10am-9pm – please note that wading pools attached to a Minneapolis public school will remain closed until the school year is done. Beaches remain unguarded until mid-June | FREE
Webber Natural Swimming Pool | Minneapolis
5/5/18: Union Depot’s Train Day | Union Depot, St Paul | All will enjoy a wide variety of free transportation-inspired activities. The weekend will include train equipment, musical entertainment, special events and activities for all ages.
5/5/18: Cinco de Mayo | West Side of St Paul | 9am-6pm | A full day of events celebrating the vibrant and diverse District del Sol neighborhood.
5/6/18: May Day Parade & Festival | Powderhorn Park, Minneapolis | Parade begins at noon at 25th Street & Bloomington Ave, festival to follow in the park with Tree Lighting Ceremony at 3pm. Get the full schedule of events here.
5/18/18-5/20/18: Art-A-Whirl | Northeast Minneapolis | Fri 5-10pm, Sat 12-8pm, Sun 12-5pm | Spanning the entire weekend, Art-A-Whirl is the ultimate open house for artist studios. Many offer hands-on activities or demonstrations that interest kids as well as their adults. A listing of Art-A-Whirl family offerings can be found here.
5/19/18: Hopkins Mainstreet Day | Hopkins | 9am-4pm
5/19/18: Blaine World Fest | Blaine | 1-4pm | Cultural learning booths, and ethnic food vendors.
5/19/18: Arts in the Park | Purgatory Creek Park, Eden Prairie | 9am-4pm | Local craft vendors plus music and entertainment just for kids.
5/20/18: Holz Farm Spring Festival | Holz Farm Spring Festival | Holz Farm Park, Eagan | 11am-4pm | Family highlights: Old-fashioned farm activities. Small fee for some games & food.
5/12/18: Mother’s Day Storytime | Participating Barnes & Noble Bookstores | 11am | Start out Mother’s Day weekend with a mother-themed story hour.
5/13/18: Mother’s Day Weekend Tree Planting | Spring Lake Regional Park | 9am-12pm | Help reestablish native habitat by planting seedlings representative of a maple-basswood forest! Ages 8+.
5/12/18: Mother’s and Father’s Day Cardmaking | Articulture, Minneapolis | 1-3pm
2018 MOTHER’S DAY EVENTS – FREE FOR MOM
5/11/18-5/13/18: The Works Museum, Bloomington | Fri 9 am-3 pm, Sat 10 am-5 pm, Sun 12 pm-5 pm | Moms & Grandmas receive FREE admission on Mother’s Day weekend.
5/12/18-5/13/18: Take a Mom Fishing Weekend | Mothers who are residents of Minnesota can fish without a license for species that have open fishing seasons. Minn. Stat. Sec. 97A.445, subd. 4. (Kids under 16 can fish without a license all the time).
5/13/18: Como-Harriet Streetcar Line | Minneapolis | 12:30-8:30pm | Moms ride FREE!
Minneapolis Institute of Arts | Minneapolis | Daily, 11am-5pm
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory | St Paul | Daily, 10am-6pm, suggested donation of $2/child & $3/adult, but all welcome whether or not you choose to donate. Seasonal events include the Spring Flower Show in the Conservatory’s sunken garden, storytime at noon, and animal programs throughout the day.
Materials Lab | Minnesota Museum of American Art, St Paul | Open during exhibition hours, ongoing Sat/Sun, 10am-4pm. All ages can drop in and get creative with available materials and a little guidance. The Minnesota Museum of American Art has opened in a brand new space. We’ll update this entry when programming has resumed.
Saturday Live! | George Latimer Central Library, St. Paul | 11:15am | Fresh entertainment every Saturday including live music, puppetry, magicians and more.
Nature Rocks! Open House | Eden Prairie Outdoor Center | 9am-noon | Ongoing Saturdays of each month enjoy free family-friendly activities such as hiking, hands-on interaction with live animals, craft projects and more.
Bell Museum of Natural History | Minneapolis | Ongoing Sundays, 12-5pm | Explore the very kid-friendly Touch and Feel room and the wildlife dioramas free each Sunday. The Bell Museum will be closed through summer 2018 when it will reopen in a brand new location.
Gideon Pond House Open House | Pond Dakota Mission Park, Bloomington | Ongoing Sundays, 1:30-4pm | Drop by for a house tour and living history activities.
Parent/Tot Time & Preschool Open Gym | Apple Valley Community Center | Ongoing Mon/Wed/ Fri, 9:30-11am | Ages: 5 & under w/ caregiver | Burn off some energy with other kids, develop motor skills and coordination. A special tot time for tykes ages 2 & under is held from 9-9:30am followed by open play for 5 & under until 11.
Free Tuesday Nights | Minnesota History Center, St Paul | Ongoing Tuesdays, 3-8pm | Explore the highly interactive and kid-friendly exhibits.
Wee Wednesdays | Midtown Global Market, Minneapolis | Ongoing Wednesdays, 10:30am – 1pm. In the past, MGM has offered dance troupes, cooking lessons, and live animals to entertain kids. Stay for lunch — there are many tasty ethnic vendors to choose from, and several offer specials on Wednesdays. Park in the adjacent Midtown Exchange Ramp up to 1.5 hrs. free with validation.
Lil Explorer Thursdays | Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St. Paul | Ongoing Thursdays, 10am-noon | The hall between the Visitor Center and the Conservatory is filled with hands-on activities, manipulatives, art projects and games perfect for the 4 & under set. Explore a different theme each week.
Top Preschool Storytimes in the Twin Cities – many local bookstores, libraries and other businesses offer FREE storytimes during the week. Click the link to read our picks.
Kid-friendly Twin Cities coffee shops and cafes with dedicated FREE play spaces.
Twin Cities Nature Centers offer FREE admission and hands-on exhibits and outdoor play opportunities most days of the week.
St. Paul Recreation Centers offer free open gym Tot Times at 16 sites across the city.
Minneapolis Recreation Centers also offer free options. Click this link and search “parent tot”.