Twin Cities Guide to Family Activities This Week: August 28-September 1, 2023

Things to do this week in Minneapolis & St Paul with your kids!

This guide covers Twin Cities family activities for the week of August 28-September 1, 2023. If you are in search of things to do with your family this weekend, jump over to our WEEKEND FAMILY GUIDE. We’ll feature fun ideas to get you through the long Labor Day weekend (making the most of the last squeeze of summer in the process).

For more autumn inspiration you can check our SEPTEMBER FAMILY GUIDE, the ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FALL FUN IN THE TWIN CITIES or our FAMILY FUN CALENDAR for more fun ideas on what to do this week in the Twin Cities with your kids – satisfaction guaranteed (or close to it!) 


The 2023 Minnesota State Fair runs through September 4 (Labor Day) and we’ve got a family guide for you bursting with tips and our picks for the best FREE family entertainment on the Fairgrounds. Skip to our quicklinks:

50 Things to Do at the Minnesota State Fair


Music Monday at Como Zoo

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, 1225 Estabrook Dr, St Paul, MN 55103

Members of the very family-friendly Jack Brass Band parade through the zoo grounds and families are invited to join in. Just one reason among a dozen to spend a day at the zoo – just remember to make an advance reservation. August 28, 2023, 10am-1pm. FREE.

If you’re heading out for a day at COMO PARK ZOO & CONSERVATORY, make sure to take along (or bookmark) our COMO SUMMER CHECKLIST – yes, summer is fading fast, but there are still plenty of relevant activities on it for inspiration.

Shakopee Community Ed Vehicle Fair

Shakopee High School, 100 17th Ave W, Shakopee, MN 55379 
Families can explore a variety of vehicles free and first 500 guests get a free hot dot meal. August 28, 2023, 5-6:30pm. FREE.

Plan ahead for fall touch-a-truck events in the Twin Cities with our vehicle fair calendar!

Touch A Truck Calendar for the Twin Cities Minnesota Metro Area

More family fun ideas for Monday: Need some AC today?

FINAL WEEK! Emotions at Play exhibit at Minnesota Children’s Museum

10 7th St W, St Paul, MN 55102
Explore four floors of play-based exhibits, including the rotating exhibit Emotions at Play based on Pixar’s Inside Out. This is your last week to experience the exhibit before it closes on September 4. General admission, all-ages tickets $15/pp online or $16/door.


Tuesday entertainment in the parks: 

MORNING: Centennial Lakes Summer Concerts

Centennial Lakes Park, 7499 France Avenue South, Edina, MN 55435
Centennial Lakes Park is a haven for FREE summer entertainment. The Big Fun Show performs today. BONUS FUN: There is so much to explore at
 Centennial Lakes Park from paddle boats to lawn games to tiny model yachts that zip around the canals. August 29, 2023, 11am. FREE.Model boat on Centennial Lake in Edina, Minnesota

EVENING: Minneapolis Music in the Parks

Father Hennepin Bluff Park, 420 SE Main St, Minneapolis, MN 55414
Music in the Parks winds down this week with a final concert at this location. A few cool things for families to explore nearby: cross the STONE ARCH BRIDGE and get a birdseye view of St Anthony Falls, poke around MILL RUINS PARK with a Mill Ruins Quest Activity Guide (PDF) or find play equipment at WATER WORKS PARK. August 29, 2023, 7-8pm. FREE.

Three girls looking through a view scope on the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Fun in Twin Cities Parks on Tuesday

Cafesjian’s Carousel – free rides!

1245 Midway Pkwy, St Paul, MN 55103
It has become a summer tradition of ours to visit Cafesjian’s Carousel in Como Regional Park, the beautiful antique merry-go-round. The daily price to ride is $3/pp but a handful of days during the summer are FREE – including August 29. See our page on Cafesjian’s Carousel for more information. 

girl riding cafesjian's carousel at Como Park in Saint Paul Minnesota

Music & Nature Play at Whitetail Woods Regional Park

17100 Station Trail, Farmington, MN 55024
Close out the summer with an outdoor concert in the park – bring a blanket or chairs and a picnic dinner to create a home base, then let the kids play in the nearby FAWN CROSSING NATURE PLAY AREA. They will adore the chance to dig in the sand, build forts and splash around. August 29, 2023, 5-7pm. Food trucks onsite. FREE.

Find more inventive Twin Cities nature playgrounds to explore this fall!

Tuesday storytimes in the Twin Cities:

EVERY day is a great day to pick up a book, but Tuesday is prime for great storytimes in the Twin Cities. Here are three today we think you’ll want to check out for littles who love to be read to:

Wild Rumpus Storytime

2720 West 43rd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55410
This popular story time for toddlers & preschoolers is BACK after a lengthy hiatus. Stick around to see how many critters (yes, animal critters) you can spot slinking around the store! August 29, 2023, 10:30am. FREE.

Eidem Farm Stories from the Porch

4345 101st Ave N, Brooklyn Park, MN 55443
FINAL WEEK! Gather around the farmhouse for children’s storytime (bring your own seating) then participate in open play in the farmyard. Eidem Farm is a wonderful place to slow down and meet animals and take self-guided walks in the summer. August 29, 2023, 11am. FREE.

Storytime at Minnetonka Farmers Market

Ridgedale Commons, 12590 Ridgedale Dr, Minnetonka, MN 55305
A Hennepin County librarian will use this hour-long time to share a mix of stories, songs and dances focused on healthy eating and farming. PLUS – kids between the ages of 4 and 17 can sign up for POP to receive a $2 voucher each week. August 29, 2023, 3-4pm. FREE.

MORE FARMERS MARKET FUN! Start dreaming up your cozy autumn recipes and plan to visit one of these 10 TWIN CITIES FALL FARMERS MARKETS (helpfully paired with family outing ideas.)

Twin Cities Fall Farmers Markets


Even if you’ve stashed away the pool pass and beach bag, splash pads across the Twin Cities tend to keep the sprinklers on through Labor Day weekend. Some suggestions, one for each corner of the Minneapolis-St Paul metro area:

North Metro splash pad: Huset Park West, Columbia Heights

3965 Jefferson St NE, Columbia Heights, MN 55421
Scoot through the spray tunnels and watch out for the dump buckets at HUSET PARK WEST. A playground and picnic shelter are located conveniently nearby. 

Cool Off at Twin Cities Area Splash Pads & Wading Pools

Southeast Metro splash pad: Highlands Park, Cottage Grove

6975 Idsen Ave S, Cottage Grove, MN 55016
Take aim and soak your friends with the spray nozzles and skip through the spurting fountains at
HIGHLANDS PARK. There’s a special area just for toddlers, too.

West Metro splash pad: Oak Hill Park, St Louis Park

3201 Rhode Island Ave S, St Louis Park, MN 55426
This splash pad in OAK HILL PARK got so popular (and for good reason!) it charges $1 per person for non-residents. It’s one of the largest and most elaborate splash pads in the metro with interactive bubblers and nozzles. 

Wednesday entertainment in the parks & community:

The last of the tunes, outdoor movies and other entertainment for families in Twin Cities parks this week. Here’s our quick lists in parks across the Minneapolis- St Paul metro area tonight – pack your family a picnic, throw some camp chairs or a blanket in the trunk and enjoy a free outdoor entertainment at the following:

Visit a Twin Cities Apple Orchard

Summer isn’t technically over and fall hasn’t officially began, but we’re gearing up for the season switch here at FFTC by shining up our 2023 TWIN CITIES APPLE ORCHARD GUIDE. We’ll be featuring a new orchard each week that may tempt with family activities, farm animals, and, of course, freshly-picked apples. Today we’re singing the praises of AFTON APPLE ORCHARD. There is lots to do here that is included with the admission fee such as the playground, huge tire mountain and petting farm. We’ve easily made a full day of it just with those diversions and riding the hay wagon into the orchard. Admission is $7/pp ages 5+, $5/pp under 5, includes some orchard activities.

Afton Apple Orchard: Boy posing in cut-out apple, "You Are The Eye of Our Apple!"

More family fun ideas for Wednesday: Need some AC today?

Try an indoor playground

Tired of sweating it out this summer at the local outdoor park? Give yourself a cool break and move indoors to a climate-controlled playground your kids will love to climb and scramble around in. We list more than 25 of these creative spaces to burn off energy around town on our TWIN CITIES INDOOR PLAYGROUNDS & PLAY AREAS GUIDE. Here’s an idea from the Mpls-St Paul east metro: LOOKOUT RIDGE INDOOR PLAYGROUND in Woodbury has a peaceful nature theme. There are cliffs and caves to explore, a giant tree to scale, wildlife murals with life-like designs on the wall and faint sound effects providing echoes of nature throughout. $5.50/ages 1-17. Woodbury Central Park, 8595 Central Park Place, Woodbury, MN 55125. 

Lookout Ridge Indoor Playground in Woodbury Minnesota


Summer weather lingers on this week and while the outdoor pools are closed, BEACHES across the Twin Cities are typically still open for swimmers. How about our last-gasp recommendations for each corner of the MSP metro?

North Metro beach: Lake Johanna, Arden Hills

Tony Schmidt Regional Park, 3500 Lake Johanna Blvd, Arden Hills, MN 55112
An ideal spot for the youngest beach babes, LAKE JOHANNA BEACH is populated with parents, their toddlers and preschoolers. We love this beach for its clean, soft sand and playground so close to the shoreline that we have no problem letting older children play while keeping an eye on little ones in the water. Open through Labor Day weekend, FREE.

East Metro beach: Big Marine Park Reserve, Marine-on-St Croix

17495 Manning Trail N, Marine on St Croix, MN 55047
BIG MARINE LAKE fronts on a wide, clean sandy beach and has a relatively large swimming area compared to many urban sites. The adjacent “destination” playground is not close enough to let younger ones run back and forth, but is a fun option for burning off excess energy. Open through Labor Day weekend, $7/vehicle permit.

South Metro beach: Clayhole Swim Beach, Chaska

Firemen’s Park, 3210 Chaska Blvd, Chaska, MN 55318
Lots to do and see at FIREMEN’S PARK besides the sublime summer swim: rent a paddleboat or board, splash about in the interactive water fountains (plus they light up at night!), and grab a cone at the Clayhole Concessions. FREE.

West Metro beach: Round Lake, Eden Prairie

16691 Valley View Rd, Eden Prairie, MN 55346
My kids loved the marine-themed splash pad and treehouse-like play equipment at the ROUND LAKE PLAY AREA. Older kids might find it fun to rent youth kayaks ($5/hr) or stand-up paddleboards ($8/hr) or bike ride the one-mile path around the lake.

Thursday entertainment in the parks & community:

MORNING: Maple Grove Sounds of Summer

Town Green Park7991 Main Street N, Maple Grove, MN 55369
FINAL SHOW! The summer music series includes free family concerts on Thursday mornings. There is seating on the tiered terrace walls and room for blankets in the grassy spaces. There is a small “music plaza” to make your own tunes and a pond to watch fish and ducks. Today’s entertainment provided by Tricia & the Toonies. August 31, 2023, 10:30am. FREE.

Children playing music on the music playground at Town Green Park, Maple Grove, Minnesota

EVENING: Twin Cities River Rats Water Ski Show

West River Road, Minneapolis
FINAL SHOW OF SUMMER! Amazing free waterski tricks to amuse you Thursday evenings on the Mississippi River. Make sure to bring your own seating (get there early for the best viewing) and consider bringing a picnic dinner as well. August 31, 2023, 6:30pm.

Free Summer Movies! (and theater)

The days where we can stay out later may be numbered, but there’s still time to pack a blanket and snacks and settle in for a movie in the park. What’s screening this Thursday?

Thursday storytimes in the Twin Cities:

Llama Llama Storytime at Red Balloon Bookshop

891 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN 55105
A special storytime featuring a meet-and-greet with the star of the bestselling picture books and Netflix Original series, read-alouds of the new book and other activities. August 31, 2023, 10:30am. FREE.

Garden Storytime at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden

1 Theodore Wirth Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55405
A naturalist hosts a different nature themed story each week within the Garden followed by an activity. Meet just outside the Visitor Shelter. Bring a blanket to sit on. August 31, 2023, 10am, FREE. 

Free Thursday Night at American Swedish Institute

2600 Park Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407
Have your kids ever thought it would be awesome to explore a castle? Here’s their chance (and yours) while the very family-friendly AMERICAN SWEDISH INSTITUE offers FREE admission every Thursday after 3pm. There is a rotating family gallery kids will enjoy playing in and nooks and crannies to explore. 
PAIR A VISIT WITH DINNER: Our kids have enjoyed the Swedish meatballs at FIKA Cafe in the museum. Plus happy hour pricing from 3 until 8 p.m. on Thursdays.

American Swedish Institute – Turnblad Mansion



Try a new outdoor mini golf course

We loved it as kids and we love passing it onto our own kids in classic summer style. There are more than a dozen mini golf courses to choose from on our LIST OF THE BEST IN THE TWIN CITIES. If you have a favorite round of holes we’ve missed, please reach out! This week we feature WHEEL FUN MINI GOLF in Richfield. The 18-hole course is beautiful, surrounded by lush landscape and waterfalls. While the name has changed from Malt-T-Melt, the attached restaurant still serves pizza and ice cream and malts. Admission is $8-$10/round. Open through Labor Day Weekend! Veterans Memorial Park, 6335 Portland Ave South, Richfield, MN 55423.

Sign pointing the way to Hole #15 of the mini golf course in Veterans Park, Richfield, Minnesota

FUN THINGS TO DO THIS WEEKEND IN THE TWIN CITIES, September 2-4, 2023 – Labor Day Weekend

Too many fun things to list here, I’ll tell you that. So we publish a separate guide each weekend with up-to-the-last-minute ideas for spending family time together. 

children in a family bike ride


Ideas to pull out of your “back pocket” nearly any day of the week!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top