Twin Cities Guide To Family Activities This Weekend: July 15-16, 2023

weekend family guide

Things to do in Minneapolis & St Paul this weekend!

This July Twin Cities Family Weekend Guide covers the weekend of July 15-16, 2023. To find our most recent guide, click here.

Need some more inspiration? As always, you can jump over to our JULY FAMILY GUIDEthe ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SUMMER FUN IN THE TWIN CITIES, our huge SUMMER BUCKET LIST or our fully-stocked FAMILY FUN CALENDAR for more fun ideas on what to do this weekend in the Twin Cities with your kids!

two boys in museum of Illusions kaleidescope

Museum of Illusions, Mall of America

Museum of Illusions Mall of America is part of the global Museum of Illusions Group, the largest and fastest-growing chain of private museums in the world. The unique concept offers all age groups an interactive experience where over 60 mind-blowing exhibits play tricks on the minds of visitors and show them the exciting science behind illusions. With over 40 locations in 25 countries, the Museum of Illusions continues to grow and share the fascinating world of illusions with curious minds all over the world. Tickets, which are available to purchase on the Museum of Illusions official website, start at $20. The Museum can be found on the second floor, near the North entrance to the Mall. For more information about the Museum of Illusions click on this image.


Festivals in the Twin Cities are in full force during the month of July. There are so many to choose from this weekend – in all corners of the Minneapolis-St Paul metro area. All offer free admission unless noted. For further planning, check our JULY FAMILY FESTIVAL CALENDAR.

BURNSVILLE: International Festival of Burnsville

Nicollet Commons Park, 12550 Nicollet Ave, Burnsville, MN 55337
A special International Festival of Burnsville edition of Party on the Plaza, includes live music, food trucks, games, market vendors. Do NOT forget swimsuits for the kids because you’ll hardly be able to hold them back once they see the beautiful water feature in the park. July 15, 2023.

Nicollet Commons Park - Splash Pad

CENTERVILLE: Festival of Lakes 

Fireworks & KidsDance DJ in the park (Friday), parade, Family Fest in LaMotte Park & ice cream social (Saturday) and a family paddle event on Centerville Lake (Sunday). July 14-16, 2023.

CHASKA: Fire & Ice Festival 

Firemens Park, 3210 Chaska Blvd, Chaska, MN 55318
Live music, kids activities in the park and fireworks. Plus, CHASKA FIREMEN’S PARK boasts one of the loveliest beaches in the Twin Cities, complete with a curving boardwalk, splash pad, playground, paddle boats and concessions. July 14-15, 2023.

Chaska Firemen’s Park

HOPKINS: Hopkins Raspberry Festival

A free movie in the park (A League of Their Own, Friday), Family Day activities in Central Park & fireworks (Saturday) plus the Grand Day Parade (Sunday). July 14-16, 2023.

MAPLE GROVE: Maple Grove Days

DJ with live music, face painting and a free movie in the park (Lightyear, Friday), Big Truck Show, kids activities, a coin hunt, petting zoo and fireworks (Saturday). July 14-15, 2023.

STILLWATER: Lumberjack Days

Stillwater never misses the mark when it comes to a festival, summer or winter. Find lumberjack shows, a parade, live music, boat cruises and more to enjoy this weekend. July 14-16, 2023.


A two-town parade & fireworks on the river. July 14-16, 2023. If you’re heading to the area, definitely prep yourself ahead of time with our list of the BEST THINGS TO DO IN TAYLORS FALLS, MINNESOTA, WITH KIDS!


Featured here for the weekend is just a taste of all that’s going on across the incredible Twin Cities park systems. You can get more ideas on our FAMILY FUN CALENDAR or browse the links below to search for local fun events & things to do with kids this weekend in parks across the Minneapolis-St Paul metro.


Try visiting a new park or nature center!

Check out the links on our big list of Twin Cities nature & interpretive centers for details on which buildings are open; all of these locations have outdoor trails to hike. Did you know that several of these nature centers have natural playgrounds nestled within them? You can build with natural materials, climb, balance, even wade and garden at some of the more elaborate spaces. This weekend’s featured photo comes from the nature play area at SALLY MANZARA INTERPRETIVE CENTER. We just discovered this gem nestled in the east metro suburb of Lake Elmo. Sunfish Lake Park, Entry Road, Lake Elmo, MN 55042.

Sandy play at the Sally Manzara Interpretive Center, Lake Elmo

Find our list of the best Twin Cities Nature Playgrounds.


Dragonfly Festival

13351 Elm Creek Rd, Maple Grove, MN 55369
Meet at EASTMAN NATURE CENTER in Dayton to discover dragonflies and and explore one of their habitats.  The nature center is located within ELM CREEK PARK RESERVE, which also has a gigantic playground and a sand-bottomed swimming pond. Make a day of it! July 15, 2023, drop in anytime from 10am-2pm. FREE.

ALSO HELD JULY 15 at EASTMAN NATURE CENTER: UNIVERSE IN THE PARK. A short outdoor talk about astronomy followed by the chance to observe the night sky through telescopes. 8:45pm, FREE.

Mix your learning with fun at Elm Creek Park Reserve

Family Outdoor Experience at Becker Park

5501 Douglas Drive N, Crystal, MN, 55428

Kids can try out a rock climbing wall with Three Rivers Park District in partnership with the City of Crystal. BECKER PARK also features an inclusive playground and an interactive fountain splash pad! July 16, 2023, 1-5pm. FREE.

Saturday Mornings on Gale Woods Farm

GALE WOODS FARM invites you and your kids to visit the animals and explore the barn, gardens, greenhouses and pastures. July 15, 2023, spots available from 9:30am-12pm, $6/pp.

Gale Woods Farm, Minnetrista
Meeting Chickens

Free Family Fun Days with Three Rivers Parks

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) & EASTMAN NATURE CENTER (Maple Grove). July 16, 2023, 1-3pm, FREE.

Nature play at in Hyland Lake Park Reserve


We’ve hit optimal beach & pool season here in Minnesota. Knowing this kind of weather won’t stick around for long, explore new splash spots by jumping over to our complete TWIN CITIES ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE BEST BEACHES, POOLS, WATERPARKS & SPLASH PADS or continue for a few ideas:

Featured Minneapolis wading pool:

Minneapolis wading pools are fun, free and some are splash and elaborate. Find our complete list at the link.

Featured Twin Cities beach: Carver Lake 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 time we’re broadcasting the lovely CARVER LAKE PARK BEACH in Woodbury. Tons of sand, a playground and hilly little bike trails made this a fun weekend outing.

Carver Lake Park & Beach, Woodbury

Featured outdoor swimming pool: Como Regional Park Pool, St Paul

Swimming pools are always a hit for their slides and fun features. Have you tried COMO REGIONAL PARK POOL in St Paul yet? There’s a great splashy area for toddlers, a lazy river, climbing plunge and an exciting zip line!

Boy on zipline at Como Regional Park Pool, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Featured Twin Cities splash pad: Eagan Central Park

Don’t forget that splash pads are a perfect place to cool off without the full investment of a day at the pool. This week we highlight the splash pad at EAGAN CENTRAL PARK. It’s located adjacent to a fun challenge course if you need to work up a sweat before splashing it off. Get our huge list of the best 40 Splash Pads & Wading Pools in the Twin Cities.

Splash Pad at Central Park, Eagan, Minnesota
Eagan Central Park 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 BAYLittle 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 POOLKids 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 POOLTot 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.


Play a round of mini golf 

Choose from 14 fun outdoor courses in our guide to the best MINI GOLF IN THE TWIN CITIES. All ages can enjoy miniature golf!

Girls playing mini golf at Adventure Falls Mini Golf in Minnesota
Adventure Falls Mini Golf

Pick your own fresh berries

Raspberries and blueberries are ripe this month and what could be sweeter than picking your own alongside your kids? We shout out BLUEBERRY FIELDS OF STILLWATER this month, or find more on our list of the BEST PLACES TO PICK YOUR OWN BERRIES IN THE TWIN CITIES.

Take a family bike ride

We have some family-friendly ideas for bike trails in our guides to the BEST BIKE TRAILS IN MINNEAPOLIS & BEST BIKE TRAILS IN ST PAUL.

Biking to Minnehaha Falls with the FFTC Kids

Sunday is National Ice Cream Day!

What sweeter way to celebrate than with a cone or dish (extra toppings if possible)? We keep up to date a tasty list of the BEST ICE CREAM SHOPS IN THE TWIN CITIES, chock full of spots to get cones, dips, sundaes, malts, double-decker scoops, waffle cones and toppings galore. You need not limit yourself to one day of celebration this summer, of course.

ice cream


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