Farewell to Summer: Readers’ Suggestions for Family Fun

In August, we asked readers for their suggestions of one family activity they hoped to squeeze in before summer’s end. There were so many good suggestions it seemed fitting to incorporate them into a post. Need a little inspiration for that last summer hurrah? Here’s what our readers had to say:

Readers’ Suggestions for End-of-Summer Family Fun

Mini-golfing 

Outdoor miniature golf is such a summer classic, isn’t it? There are tons of fun courses to choose from in our Twin Cities Mini Golf Guide. One of our favorites is Big Stone Mini Golf & Sculpture Garden – where every hole is a work of art!


Elm Creek Park Swimming Pond | Maple Grove

Elm Creek Park Reserve is the largest parcel in the Three Rivers Park District. The pond has chlorinated water, a sandy beach, concessions, changing facilities and a giant playground nearby. The pond is open 9am – 8pm daily through Labor Day and levies a fee of $5/pp (kids under 1 yr. free) or purchase a season pass/pp. There is no charge to enter the park or play on the equipment. 

Find the best of the Twin Cities’ beaches and playgrounds while the weather’s still perfect!


Como Town Amusement Park | Como Regional Park, St Paul

Filled with rides and attractions to suit the 2 to 12-year-old, Como Town Amusement Park is the ideal size to make a day of it. Don’t miss Hodge Podge Park’s Splash Zone if the weather is steamy, or the Soaring Eagle Zip Ride! Convenient ticket options include purchasing an unlimited ride wristband ($21.95 or $14.95 after 4pm and only $7.95 for adults) or buying a point package (see all options here). Admission to the park itself is free, as is the adjacent and immensely popular Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. Como Town is open weekends through September. 

Check all the boxes on our Como Park Zoo & Conservatory Summer Checklist.


Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum | Walnut Grove

We loved this suggestion and wished we’d made it out to Walnut Grove ourselves this summer. The annual Wilder Pageant days are over for the season, but the museum dedicated to the beloved author of the Little House books is open through October. You can find the museum hours here, as well as information about seeking out other landmarks from Laura’s days in the Plum Creek area. 

Find more fun day and road trip outings from the Twin Cities.


Surrey bikes at Minnehaha Falls 

Pedal through scenic Minnehaha Park, past the Falls made famous by Longfellow, on surrey bikes operated by Wheel Fun Rentals. For a complete list of the contraptions available and their hourly charge, click here. The bikes rent daily through Labor Day and fall weekends through mid-October 19, 11am – 6pm. A second location to rent in Minneapolis is at Lake Nokomis


Historic Fort Snelling

Explore life on the fort in the early 1800s– before the Twin Cities as we know them existed! Peek inside barracks, talk to costumed interpreters, and listen for the roar of the cannon. Labor Day Weekend at Fort Snelling typically hosts a special event that delves into the Fort’s role in training soldiers for war. Admission: $12/adults, $10/seniors & active military with ID, $6/kids 6-17, free/children under 5 and MHS members. Fort Snelling is open Saturdays 10am – 5pm, Sept. – Oct. 


Gale Woods Farm | Minnetrista

There are plenty of opportunities left to experience Saturday Mornings on the Farm at Gale Woods. The barn will be open, the animals ready for their close-ups, and your help will be appreciated for seasonal chores. Cost is $5/pp with a 20% discount on groups of 4 or more. Hours: Saturdays through September, 9:30am – 12pm. 

Gale Woods Farm, Minnetrista

Meeting Chickens


Paddleboarding

Great idea! Try Wheel Fun Rentals at Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet, and Lake Nokomis (through Labor Day!) in Minneapolis or keep Lake Phalen in St. Paul in mind for next summer.

Find more of our suggestions for finding summer water sports.


Vali-Hi Drive-In

I’d keep this in mind for a date night, though you can’t beat the price of a kid’s ticket – only a buck for children 6 – 12 and free for kids under 5. $8.50 per adult is good for three movies, cash only. Box office opens at 7pm Fri-Sat and 7:30pm Sun-Thurs. Movies start at dusk at the last remaining drive-in theater in the Twin Cities. Bring your bug spray.

More movie madness? Find our master list of free and cheap summer movies.


The Minnesota State Fair

We’d be remiss not to mention the final bash of the summer, but since we’ve been yammering on about it nearly nonstop lately, I thought I’d hide it here at the bottom. Last, but definitely NOT least! Head out to the great Minnesota get-together and be sure to check out some of our tips before you go.

Thanks to all the readers who sent in their suggestions; we’re happy to pass them along!

Enjoy the final days of the season with our summer guides

ultimate summer guide

Ultimate Guide to Summer in the Twin Cities

Summer Family Festivals & Parades

Summer Dining with Kids

Summer Fun Bucket List: 101 Ideas for Fun with the Family

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