The Free List – My Five Favorite Family Activities for the Weekend of June 27-29.

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Before I started writing this article, I had my weekend all planned out.  Now I’ve talked myself into adding a few extra outings to the weekend.  Summer is just so short, I want to stuff a year’s worth of activities into 12 weeks.  If you want something other than my picks, there are a lot more on our calendars.  Anne has also offered a list of ideas for a budget-friendly summer.  We’ll share what we actually did after the weekend.  We would love to hear from you, too.  What are you doing this weekend?

Common Sense Media gives this an age rating of 5, but warns there are a few violent scenes that involve men with weapons, snarling wolves, a scary snow monster, a severe storm, and a character who nearly freezes to death.

Friday Night

Bloomington Moonlight Movies Series – Frozen Sing-Along
Normandale Lake Bandshell, 84th Street and Chalet Road, Bloomington, MN
Friday June 27, 2014; 9:00 p.m.

I admit we have not seen Frozen yet, so maybe a sing-along is not our best choice, but this is a good opportunity and I have a little girl who REALLY wants to see this movie.

Normandale Lake Park is a nice park where I have seen bald eagles skimming the water.  There are picnic shelters, tables and grills available as well as public restrooms. There is also a nice walking trail along the lake.   Bug spray is a must because it is on a somewhat sedentary lake.

I’ve seen good and bad reviews of Frozen.  From either outlook, I expect it to be a Disney-quality film.  It has a PG rating, but Common Sense Media gives it an age-appropriateness rating of 5+.  Bring your lawn chair, blankets and bug spray to watch the movie on the hillside.  Popcorn and refreshments will be available for purchase throughout the evening.


Depending on the number of birds caught, be prepared to handle and release one back to the wild!

Bird Banding

Kroening Interpretive Center, 4900 Mississippi Court, Minneapolis, MN 55430
Saturday, June 28, 2014; 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Bird Banding events are something that are always on my “to-do-someday” list, but never on my “now” list.  This weekend’s opportunity is a particularly good opportunity, because Kroening Interpretive Center is in Minneapolis.  All of the Three Rivers Parks are technically Twin Cities Metro, but some are a haul from the City.  This is also a drop-in activity with a 4-hour span.  If, like me, you want to move Bird Banding from your “to-do-someday” list to your “been-there-done-that” list, this is the weekend to do it.


Maker Fest
Arlington Hills Community Center1200 Payne Ave, Saint Paul, MN
Saturday, June 28, 2014; 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m

I am a huge craft geek.  Not in the sense that I make anything myself (yet!), but that I love to drool over crafts created by other people. Pinterest was made for people like me.  Before that, I religiously followed the Craft Blog by Makezine.   So the idea of actually attending a real-live Maker Fest is really tempting in this very busy weekend.  The really cool part about it, is that I can just take my like-minded daughter from booth to booth with me while my husband and the boys hit the bounce castle, the climbing wall and the food trucks. Oh, and if I need a little more temptation, two of my favorite local bands are playing:

2-2:45 Minneapolis Chapter of Roustabouts (I take partial credit for their name)
3-3:45 Savage Aural Hotbed (I can’t take any credit for them in any way, but if you haven’t seen them once, you really need to.)


The 15-acre garden is the oldest public wildflower garden in the nation.

Summer Wildflower Tour
Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, Glenwood Ave & Theodore Wirth Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55422
Saturday, June 28, 2014; 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Join a Garden Naturalist to explore the trails and learn about the natural history of Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden as the summer blossoms unfold. The park is open until an hour before sunset, so this outing could include a picnic dinner.  Keep in mind that parking is not free – unless you have a Minneapolis Parks parking permit.  Parking at Minneapolis Parks pay lots range between $0.75 – $1.50 per hour.



Party games and contests will be held throughout the day for kids and adults alike, while beach party music will fill the air.

Sandcastles Party

Bush Lake Beach, 9140 E. Bush Lake Road, Bloomington, MN
Sunday, June 29, 2014; Noon – 3:00  p.m.

Bush Lake Beach will be hosting a sandcastle building contest on Sunday.  This is kind of a nice excuse to spend a Sunday on the beach.  Lifeguards will be on duty.  There will be prizes for the best castles and sculptures, games and contests.  This outing  also requires a parking fee if you park onsite — $6.75.

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About the author

Joy Peters

Joy Peters - co-creator and writer for

Besides Family Fun Twin Cities, I spend my 9 to 5 at a day job pursuing my weird passion for calendars and organizing things as a legal secretary. When I get home I spend my time with my four kids, 10, 6, 4 and 1. My amazing husband is both a full-time musician and full-time stay-at-home dad. Together we run a small radio empire — SiaNet Radio — playing, promoting and enjoying the wide variety of local music and art in the Twin Cities. I juggle all this while writing about exploring the Twin Cities with kids. I couldn’t be happier.


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