Free Twin Cities September Family Events & Activities

Fall into September savings on Twin Cities Family Events – many apple orchards and pumpkin patches offer free admission along with a full harvest of fall festivals.

This month’s posts are sponsored by our Orchard Crawl Sponsors.  Check them out here!

Giliane E. Mansfeldt Photographyblue sun soda


9/1/18: First Free Saturday: Sculpture Garden Shindig | 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. Get out and explore the new sculpture garden!

9/1/18: Home Depot Kids Workshop | 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.

9/4/18: Free Tuesday @ Washington County Parks | find a listing of parks here | Explore Washington County Parks free on the first Tuesday of every month (non-holiday). No vehicle permit required.

9/7/18: Forever Wild Family Friday | Lebanon Hills Regional Park, Eagan | 7-8:30pm | Get out as a family and hike the fall trails.

9/8/18: Sing, Play Learn! MacPhail’s 50th Birthday Party | MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis | 10am-12pm open house | A live band, outdoor activities, sample classes and birthday cake.

9/8/18: Minneapolis Monarch Festival | Lake Nokomis, 49th & Woodlawn | 10am-4pm | Art-making activities, guided nature walks, music and monarch exhibits.

9/8/18: Second Saturdays at TPT: WordGirl | Twin Cities PBS, St Paul | 8-11am | Activities are all free but reserving a time slot is required.

9/9/18: Minneapolis Institute of Art Family Day | Minneapolis | 11am-5pm

9/11/18: Pete Hautman, OTHERWOOD – Launch Party! | Red Balloon Bookshop | 6:30 pm
Join us to celebrate the release of local author Pete Hautman’s next middle grade novel, Otherwood, which tells a story full of secrets, mystery, and family. After two best friends experience something unbelievable in the middle of their familiar woods, they have to grapple with what they’ve seen—and its consequences for their friends and family. Join the author for a talk, book signing, and celebratory refreshments!

9/14/18: Movies on the Hill: The Last Jedi | Hyland Hills Ski Area, Bloomington | 6-10:30pm

9/15/18: Field Trip | Silverwood Park, St Anthony | 11am-5pm | Make it a family day of art-making, live music, creative play and an outdoor art fair.

09/15/18: Eat Street Fest | Nicollet Ave between 25th and 27th street | 1-9pm | Live music, performances, international fare, and activities from the neighborhood’s many arts and cultural organizations will collectively reflect and celebrate who and what Whittier is at its heart. 

9/16/18: Target Free 3rd Sunday | Minnesota Children’s Museum, St Paul | 9am-5pm | Explore the revamped museum FREE of charge; expect to wait in line for admission.

9/17/18: Free 3rd Mondays | Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska | 8am-8pm | For family-time inspiration at the Arb, check out 10 Things For Kids: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

9/20/18 : Graphic Novel Book Club | Red Balloon Bookshop | 6:30 pm
Our Kids Read Book Club is becoming the Graphic Novel Book Club! Join us to discuss a few exciting graphic novels, perfect for kids 8+. September’s book is Amulet: Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi.

9/22/18: Fall Raptor Release | Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center, Hastings | 10am-3pm | The Raptor Center releases rehabbed birds at 11am & 2pm plus wagon rides, kids activities and educational displays. FREE admission.

9/22/18: National Public Lands Day Celebration | Hidden Falls Regional Park, St Paul

9/22/18:  Derek Anderson, CROC & ALLY – Launch Party! | Red Balloon Bookshop | 10:30 am
Minnesota author/illustrator Derek Anderson is coming back to Red Balloon and he’s bringing two new friends! Get ready to meet Croc & Ally, two great green pals who are always willing to work together despite their differences. Derek Anderson will be sharing two new books for emerging readers that star Croc & Ally (Friends Forever and Fun, Fun, Fun!), drawing pictures, and signing books while we celebrate with some snappy treats.

9/25/18: Princess in Black Party! | Red Balloon Bookshop | 6:30 pm
Don your disguises and gallop down to Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul to celebrate the latest adventure of the Princess in Black! The Princess in Black and the Science Fair Scare by Shannon and Dean Hale is on sale today and we’re so excited we’re having a party! Pick up your copy of the sixth Princess in Black story and enjoy some Royal Science Experiments, low-danger monster battling, coloring, and a chance to learn the Princess in Black Marching Song. Costumes strongly encouraged. This party’s guaranteed to be a Twinkle Twinkle Little SMASH!

9/29/18: Aimée Bissonette, AIM FOR THE SKIES – Launch Party! | Red Balloon Bookshop | 2 pm
You’re invited to a book launch celebration in honor of Minnesota author Aimée Bissonette and her new book, Aim for the Skies: Jerrie Mock and Joan Merriam Smith’s Race to Complete Amelia Earhart’s Quest. This picture book retells the story of the 1964 air race between Americans Geraldine Mock and Joan Merriam Smith, the first two women to fly around the world. Join the author for a talk, activities, book signing, and celebratory refreshments!

September is Library Card Sign Up Month

September is Library Card Sign Up Month. Not only is a Library Card FREE, but you can actually calculate how much the library saves your family each month here. Check out your closest library:


Free Twin Cities September

9/5/18: Open Streets West Broadway | Minneapolis, 11 AM – 5 PM

9/4/19-9/7/19Burnsville Fire Muster

9/7/18-9/9/18: James J. Hill Days | Lake Street, Downtown Wayzata

9/7/18-9/9/18: CountryFest | St Patrick’s Catholic Church, Oak Grove 

9/7/18-9/9/18: Inver Grove Heights Days ($3 button required for many events)

9/8/18: Fulton Fall Festival | Pershing Park, Minneapolis

9/8/18: Harvest of Art Celebration | Eagan Art House

9/8/18-9/9/18: Edina Fall into the Arts Festival | Centennial Lakes Park, Edina

9/14/18-9/15/18: St. Paul Oktoberfest | Historic Schmidt Brewery

9/15/18: Otsego Prairie Festival | Prairie Park, Otsego

9/15/18: Bloomington Heritage Days | Nativity of Mary Catholic Church grounds

9/15/18: Golden Valley Arts & Music Festival | City Hall Campus

9/15/18: Nickle Dickle Day | Waconia

9/15/18: Wild Rice Festival | Harriet Alexander Nature Center, Roseville

9/15/18-9/16/18: Lakeville Art Festival | Downtown Lakeville

9/15, 9/22 & 9/29/18: Rockpoint Church Fall Festival | Lake Elmo

9/16/18: Twin Cities Veg Fest | Harriet Island, St Paul

9/22/18: Excelsior Apple Day | Downtown Excelsior

9/22/18: Autumnfest | Woodbury Lakes

9/22/18: Harvest Fest | Frogtown Farm Park, St Paul

9/22/18: Plymouth on Parade | Plymouth City Center

9/22/18: Apple Festival | Gibbs Farm, Falcon Heights

9/22/18: Fall Raptor Release | Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center, Hastings

9/22/18: Japanese Garden Festival | Normandale Japanese Garden, Bloomington

9/22/18: Party in the Prairie | Richardson Nature Center, Bloomington

9/22/18-9/23/18: Afton Art in the Park | Town Square Park

9/22/18-9/23/18: Lone Oak Days Fall Festival | Holz Farm, Eagan (Admission: $2/pp)

9/23/18: Open Streets on 50th | W 50th Street, Edina

9/23/18: Open Streets Nicollet | Minneapolis

9/29/18-9/30/18: Pahl’s Market Fall Festival | Pahl’s Market, Apple Valley

9/29/18-9/30-18: Taste of Northeast | St Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral, Minneapolis

9/30/18: Open Streets University of Minnesota | Minneapolis


apple orchards - Free Twin Cities September

Aamodt’s Apple Farm | Stillwater
Hours: 10am-6pm daily, PYO 10am-5pm daily | Limited free kids activities, fees for additional activities and PYO apples.

Applecrest Orchards | Hugo
Hours: Daily, 9am-7pm | Additional fee for pre-picked apples only, no PYO.

Applewood Orchard | Lakeville
Hours: Daily, 10am-6pm | Limited free kids activities, additional fees for activities and PYO apples.

Apple Jack Orchards | Delano
Hours: August, Mon-Sat 10am-5pm; Sept-Oct, daily 10am-6pm | Admission and a limited amount of activities (small playground, petting farm and hay bales) are free; most additional activities require a fee.

Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center Orchard | Hastings
Open: Daily, 8am-4:30pm (nature center hours) | Pre-picked apples only.

Deardorff Orchards & Vineyard | Waconia
Hours: Orchard, Tues-Sun, 10am-6pm & Winery Tasting Room, Winery hours: Friday 12-6pm, Saturday 11-6pm, Sunday 12-6pm | Free family activities, food and PYO apples available for purchase.

Deardorff Orchards - Free Twin Cities September

Fall Harvest Orchard | Montrose
Hours: Thurs-Sun, 10am-6pm | Many children’s activities, small fee for additional activities and PYO apples.

Fisher’s Croix Farm Orchard | Hastings
Hours: Tues-Sun, 9:30am-5pm | Fees for additional family activities.

LuceLine Orchard | Watertown
Weekends, 10am-4pm | Some free children’s activities, fees for additional activities.

Minnetonka Orchards | Minnetrista
Hours: Daily, 10am-7pm | Admission is free on weekdays, $7/pp on weekends

Minnetonka Orchards - Free Twin Cities September

Pine Tree Apple Orchard | White Bear Lake
Hours: Click here for current hours | Free admission, additional fees for activities. Apples are pre-picked only.

Pleasant Valley Orchard | Taylors Falls
Hours: Daily, 10am-6pm | Limited free children’s activities, extra fee for PYO apples available on select weekends only.

Sponsel’s Minnesota Harvest | Jordan
Hours: Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm & Sat-Sun, 9am-6pm | Limited free children’s activities, additional fee for PYO apples.

Sunrise River Farm | Wyoming
Hours: Tues-Sun, 10am-6pm | Free admission and kids activities, additional fee for PYO.

Victoria Valley Orchard | Shoreview
Hours: 9am-6pm | Pre-picked apples only.

Whistling Well Farm | Hastings
Hours: Daily, 9am-6pm | Limited free children’s activities.


Barten Pumpkins | New Prague
Open September 20 through Halloween 2017, 9am to 7 pm. Free admission, thousands of pumpkins are $1 to $6. Free pony rides (see website for day and time), free hay rides (see website for day and time), free play natural play area every day.

Country Sun Farm | Lake Elmo
Open daily, 9am-7pm weekdays & 9am-5pm weekends starting Sept 19 thru Halloween, 2017. Free admission with a charge for all fall activities with the exception of the petting farm and outdoor display photo ops.

Lendt’s Pumpkin Patch | Wyoming
Open daily, Sept 23 thru Oct 31, 2017 – 9 am to dusk. PYO pumpkins/$4 ea. Weekend hayrides $3/pp.

Marshall’s Farm Market | Eden Prairie
Open daily 10-6:30. Free admission, pumpkins range from $1-$12.

Pleasant Valley Orchard | Shafer
Open daily 10am-6pm. Admission is free; extra fee for weekend hayrides to the pumpkin patch ($3/pp).

Tom’s Pumpkin Farm | Lindstrom
Open daily, 10am-dusk Sept 23 thru Halloween, 2017. Free admission, pick-your-own pumpkin and carry it out, $3.99 any size.

Peter’s Pumpkins & Carmen’s Corn | Shakopee
Open weekdays 11am – 6pm, weekends 9am – 6:30pm. Free admission and hayrides to pick-your-own pumpkins from the field. Enjoy the working farm and free face painting on October weekends.

Waldoch Farm Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze | Lino Lakes
Open daily, Sept 23-Oct 31, 2017; 10am-7pm. Hayride to the pumpkin patch is complimentary, pumpkins are sold by size and starting at $3. You can also tour Joyer Barnyard without paying an admission fee.


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 Fall Flower Show in the Conservatory’s sunken garden, storytime at noon, and animal programs throughout the day.

Nature Rocks! Open House | Eden Prairie Outdoor Center, Eden Prairie | Ongoing Saturdays, 9am-noon | Enjoy free family-friendly activities such as hiking, hands-on interaction with live animals, craft projects and more.

Lakeshore Learning Free Crafts for Kids | TC locations | Ongoing Saturdays, 10am-3pm.

Saturday Live! | George Latimer Central Library, St Paul | Ongoing Saturdays, 11:15am | Fresh entertainment every Saturday including live music, puppetry, magicians and more.

Drop-in Discoveries | Tamarack Nature Center, White Bear Lake | Ongoing Saturdays, 10am-12pm | Stay to play in the amazing outdoor nature playground Discovery Hollow while you still can!

Discovery Hollow - Bald Eagle-Otter Lakes Regional Park - Free Twin Cities September

September Free Family Fun Days | Three Rivers Parks
Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park (Brooklyn Park side of the river) select Sundays, 1-3pm
Richardson Nature Center select Sundays, 3-4pm

Open House at Pond Dakota Mission Park | Bloomington | Ongoing Sundays, 1:30-4pm, please check the website first | FREE, donations appreciated | Come by the historic Gideon Pond house in the park for tours, living history lessons and other interactive activities.


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  Fall Flower Show in the Conservatory’s sunken garden, storytime at noon, and animal programs throughout the day.

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.

MOA Toddler Tuesdays | Mall of America Rotunda | Ongoing Tuesdays, 10am – noon | Live entertainment and activities guaranteed to excite the stroller set. Upcoming event schedule here.

Free Tuesday Nights | Minnesota History Center, St Paul | Ongoing Tuesdays, 3-8pm

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.

Games Galore | Union Depot, St Paul | Ongoing Wednesdays, 10am-8pm | Play giant-sized versions of classic games including chess, checkers, Connect Four, Dominoes and more.

Lil Explorer Thursdays | Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St Paul | Ongoing Thursdays starting through April 2019, 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.

Free Children’s Entertainment | Edinborough Park Amphitheater, Edina | Ongoing Thursdays starting mid-September, noon.


Free abounds in the Twin Cities. Many local bookstores, libraries and other businesses offer free storytimes during the week. Local coffee shops & cafes serve parents with free dedicated play spaces. Nature centers are wonderful places that  offer free admission and hands-on exhibits and outdoor play opportunities most days of the week. And dozens of St Paul & Minneapolis recreation centers offer free open gyms and tot times to run your littles ragged during the cooler months. Explore from our links below.

Top Kids Storytimes in the Twin CitiesKid-friendly Twin Cities Coffee Shops
Twin Cities Nature CentersSt Paul & Minneapolis Free Tot Times



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