We love a good, fresh start in the fall: new season, new reasons to get out and explore the Twin Cities with your family. We have organized these activity ideas by age group but please note, many will overlap if you’re planning for an outing with multiple kiddos.
In September, skip to activities:
THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR BABY IN THE TWIN CITIES – SEPTEMBER
Take your baby to a pumpkin patchYes, really! Our FFTC team member Joy lays out all the benefits (adorable photos, health benefits and outdoors time, how’s that for a spoiler?) in her article 5 REASONS TO TAKE YOUR BABY TO THE PUMPKIN FARM. Of course, you can stock up on your needs for a Halloween jack-o-lantern and, if you have older kids, they will absolutely love all the activities that many farms pack into their patches. For instance, let’s take a little tour around the corners of the MSP Metro:
WEST METRO: Minnetonka Orchards6480 County Rd 26, Minnetrista, MN 55364 Pumpkins are offered in a variety of shapes, sizes & colors. Activities include hayrides, live music, corn hole, face painting, hay mountain, kids scavenger hunt, giant sandbox, playground and Halloween events. Opens Saturday, September 9, 2023. 10am-6pm daily. $7-$10/pp.
EAST METRO: Country Sun Farm11211 N 60th St, Lake Elmo, MN 55042 Admission to the farm is free, with a charge for all fall activities with the exception of the petting farm and outdoor display photo ops. Play in a giant corn pit outfitted with buckets, slides and toys ($3), bounce house ($3), Silly String Zone ($3), make your way through the corn maze ($4), enjoy the fall scenery on a hay ride ($5), pan for gems ($6-$20). Open weekdays 9am – 7pm, weekends 9am – 6pm. Activities are up and running Saturdays 10am – 5pm, Sundays 11am.
NORTH METRO: Dehn’s Pumpkins17270 125th Ave N, Dayton, MN 55327 Dehn’s offers free admission to the market place and pumpkin patch, great news if you’re visiting with a tiny one. For older kiddos, wristbands prices vary from $7-$12/pp. Not all activities are available each day and some come at an additional cost. The fall activity list includes classics such as a corn maze and scenic hayride. Mon-Thu: Noon-6pm; Fri: Noon-9pm; Sat: 9am-9pm; Sun 9am-6pm.
SOUTH METRO: Barten Pumpkins5716 W. 280th St., New Prague, MN 56071 Pick a pumpkin – available in every shape and size (pre-picked). This year, enjoy photo ops in the pumpkin patch, stilt-walking, nature pay area and log cabin, and free entertainment such as live music select weekends. Hayrides for groups by appointment. Open daily September 20th through October 3, 2023. Free admission and free parking.
Babies at the museum? Yes!American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407 Babies at the Castle is a program for parents to explore American Swedish Institute with their babies in tow. Go on a 30-minute baby carrier tour of ASI’s Turnblad Mansion and its current exhibitions, followed by a short sensory play time, designed for babies up to 15 months. When they are a little older, you can graduate to the popular “Kids at the Castle” program. September 22 & 23, 2023, 9:15am. $15/adult.
THINGS TO DO WITH TODDLERS & PRESCHOOLERS IN THE TWIN CITIES – SEPTEMBER
Caregivers with kids between the ages of 1 and 5, these events and activities are geared toward your family. You know your child best, so we encourage you to peruse our full Family Fun Calendar and try any of the all-ages events there, but we publish here a quick list of toddler activities and pre-school family fun ideas.
Twin Cities Toddler and Preschool Events This Week
Visit an apple orchard
Arguably, this activity can be enjoyed by just about anyone of any age and inclination – crisp fresh air, crisp fresh apples, the satisfaction of buying and supporting a local family farm. But we focus here on the toddler-preschoolers because many apple orchards cater to this set with irresistible, adorable activities like little barrel trains, colorful corn pits and tiny green John Deere pedal trikes. Fall photo opps galore. Here are a few orchards we suggest for a fall family outing – find many more in all corners of the Twin Cities metro in our guide to THE BEST APPLE ORCHARDS IN THE TWIN CITIES.
WEST METRO: LuceLine Orchard
2755 Rose Ave, Watertown, MN 55388
Apples are now pick-your-own while supplies last. There are lots of other activities onsite for kids to stay busy, including some that are open on weekdays – a hay mountain, petting zoo, corn boxes and swings. The orchard offers free admission; some fees for additional activities or purchase a $20 wristband to include unlimited access to diversions like the corn maze, hay rides and jumping pillow.
EAST METRO: Aamodt’s Apple Farm
6428 Manning Avenue North, Stillwater, MN 55082
There are a couple free activities (such as meeting the resident goats) and activities that require a small fee (sweet little wagon and train rides pictured below, weekends only, $5/pp). Adults who’d like something to sip on may enjoy the onsite winery or hard cider, also brewed right on the farm.
NORTH METRO: Sunrise River Farm
7602 Wyoming Trail, Wyoming, MN 55092
Pick your own apples in a quiet, charming atmosphere with free family activities such as a farmyard and small play area. Take some time to groom the pets and let your teen push you on the tire swing. There are also train and wagon rides for a small fee.
SOUTH METRO: Ferguson’s Minnesota Harvest
Apple Lovers Lane, 8251 Old Hwy 169 Blvd, Jordan, MN 55352
One of the apple orchards with animals, you’ll want to visit the barnyard for a visit with the critters, try out the apple cannon or brave the corn maze. So many activities here for kids to enjoy – admission to Apple Blossom Park with its fall activities is $15 ages 2+ (includes a FREE season pass).
Tot Times at Twin Cities Community & Recreation Centers
Tot Times & Open Gym were my savior when my firstborn was a squirrelly toddler who needed a space to run off his pent-up energy. He thrived on the small bikes, balls, tumbling mats and other provided equipment for unstructured physical play — and naptime was a GIVEN afterwards! Many St Paul and Minneapolis-area community and re centers offer free or low-cost open gyms that begin in September with the start of the school year:
- APPLE VALLEY COMMUNITY CENTER (Mon/Wed/Fri, 9-11am, $15/membership pass or drop in option)
- EAGAN COMMUNITY CENTER (Blast & Play, Tues/Thurs, 9am-12pm, $5/child)
- LINO LAKES ROOKERY (Tues Tot Time, 9am-12pm, ages 1-10, $4)
- MAPLE GROVE COMMUNITY CENTER (Mon, 9-11am, $3/child)
- MINNEAPOLIS PARKS & REC (Type “family indoor playground” into the search box to see schedule for locations, FREE)
- NEW BRIGHTON COMMUNITY CENTER (Mon/Wed, Preschool Playtime, 12-3pm, $8/child includes admission to Eagles Nest Indoor Playground)
- ROSEMOUNT COMMUNITY CENTER (Mon/Wed/Fri, 9:30-11am, ages 5 & under, FREE)
- ST PAUL RECREATION CENTERS (See schedule for locations, FREE)
Preschooler & toddler outings this fall: Farm Fun
Have you met a little can resist the magnetic pull of sweet farm animals, toddling through a hay bale maze or taking a big ‘ol juicy bite out of a freshly harvested apple? September is the perfect month for kiddos to get down on the farm. Check out these recommendations:
4345 101st Ave N, Brooklyn Park, MN 55443
You and your little one can slow down and explore at your personal pace, visiting farm animals, helping with chores, poking around the garden and more self-directed activities. There is space for your toddler to move about freely and – guess what? – they can’t destroy anything! Open gate hours in September: Mon-Thurs & Sat, 9am-12pm. FREE!
4665 Manor Dr, Eagan, MN 55123
An annual fall festival with all kinds of old fashioned fun farm: pedal tractors, kids coin hunt, animals in the barn, fun farm chores & more. We personally attended a few years ago with a toddler, preschooler AND school-aged kiddo so can personally attest it’s a great festival fit for all ages. September 23, 2023, 11am-4pm, $3/admission.
All things apple greet your preschooler: treats, games, wood block printing, face painting, a tour through the orchard, farm animals and live music. Gibbs Farm is a wonderful place for families to take a step back in time. Walk through the historic farmhouse and one-room school. Explore how native Minnesotans lived on the prairie. September 30, 2023, 10am-2pm $5-$8/pp.
THINGS TO DO WITH SCHOOL-AGED KIDS IN THE TWIN CITIES – SEPTEMBER
So many fall festivals!Dozens of family-friendly fall festivals dot the Twin Cities this time of year. We’ve come up with a particular crop with activities that appeal to kids in the school-age range…though with the right attitude, everyone in the family’s gonna have fun. Find the perfect fall festival in September for your family here. In September, monarch butterflies typically begin their annual flight south to Mexico. Come learn about this journey and send the monarch off with a parade (kids up to 12 invited to join in), a tag-and-release activity, games, and tours of the Lake Nokomis Naturescape for pollinators. September 10, 2023, 49th St & Woodlawn Blvd, 10am-4pm. 2520 Dale St N, Roseville, MN 55113 Games for all, activities with Gibbs Farm, Native American dancing and drumming, apple cidering & wild rice demonstrations. We encourage you to explore the nature center’s indoor exhibits (pictured below) and take a little fall hike on the outdoor boardwalk. September 16, 2023, 10am-4pm, FREE admission. Carpenter Nature Center, 12805 St Croix Trail S, Hastings, MN 55033 The University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center (a wonderful outing for kids, I should mention) releases rehabbed birds at the nature center in two waves (11am & 2pm) plus wagon rides, kids activities and educational displays. September 23, 2023, 10am-3pm, FREE admission.
THINGS TO DO WITH
TWEENS & TEENS IN THE TWIN CITIES – SEPTEMBER
Twin Cities Tween & Teen Events This Week
Find their way out of a corn maze
Personally, I always vote for less stress and haphazard running around in my life. But my kids of this age all enjoy solving a good puzzle – and a corn maze kind of falls into this category in addition to getting them outdoors. Find our guide to the BEST CORN MAZES IN THE TWIN CITIES – and/or skip down for a few recommendations:
CHALLENGE YOUR TEENS & TWEENS: Pick one of the giants in the Twin Cities, say SEVER’S CORN MAZE & FALL FESTIVAL (Minnesota’s original, located in Shakopee) or the 20-acre monster TWIN CITIES HARVEST FESTIVAL CORN MAZE (up north in Brooklyn Park). These mazes will run you in the range of $13-$22/pp if you book online in advance but remember they also include a boatload of other fall activities like hay and train rides, petting farms, jumping pillows and the like. There are also special puzzles to solve within each of these labyrinths that older kids might find entertaining.
FOR YOUNGER KIDS: We recommend a mid-level corn maze such as the one found at PINE TREE APPLE ORCHARD (White Bear Lake area). Or, for the very youngest, try the newer hedge maze at APPLEWOOD ORCHARD in Lakeville. Littles will love the pedal tractors, too. These mazes are decidedly more budget-friendly at less than $10/pp.