Twin Cities Guide to Family Activities This Weekend: October 16-17, 2021

Things to do in Minneapolis & St Paul this weekend!

fall leaves

This Twin Cities Family Weekend Guide covers the weekend of October 16-17, 2021. To find our most recent guide, click here

Fall has been settling in in earnest the past week with its welcome refreshing temps and gorgeous color displays. In search of some inspiration on how to spend your weekend with the family? This edition covers fall festivals, outdoor activities in the parks, pumpkin patch picks, fall color tours and more outings tested by our very own FFTC staff and kids (yes, those sweet faces you’ll find below are OURS!)

And with Halloween creeping ever closer there is no shortage of not-so-spooky family events going on this weekend in the Twin Cities.  Pick your poison – do you want to trick-or-treat? Still hunting for that perfect pumpkin to carve up? How about a fall hayride? We’ve got bunches of ideas for the weekend and beyond on our FAMILY FUN CALENDAR or browse our ultimate TWIN CITIES HALLOWEEN GUIDE.

family Halloween & Fall festivals this weekend in the twin cities

This close to Halloween we see a blending of these not-so-spooky family events with more traditional fall activities. Here we feature three we think are worth your time this weekend; plan for more on our FALL FAMILY FESTIVAL CALENDAR and our giant guide to HALLOWEEN EVENTS IN THE TWIN CITIES FOR KIDS & FAMILY.

BOOnion Depot

Union Depot, 214 4th Street East, St. Paul, MN 55101
Halloween activities, crafts and costume contest, followed by a double feature of Hocus Pocus & The Nightmare Before Christmas. FREE.
Tickets Required. Oct 15, 5:30pm-10pm.


Enjoy the changing colors of the forest and all the fun that comes with it: the annual leaf pile, arts and crafts activities, make-your-own treats, and more. Oct 16, FREE! More Ways to Enjoy Fall Colors in Minnesota.

Girl playing in fall leaves at Caponi Art Park in Minnesota

Harvest to Halloween at the Barn | Eden Prairie

Decorate pumpkins, horse-drawn wagon rides, glow dance, story stroll, scavenger hunt and other family activities. Additional activities include art stations, a scavenger hunt and awards. Located at Riley Lake Park, Eden Prairie. Oct 16, 4-8pm, FREE.

It’s SCARY how much fun stuff we’ve got rounded up on our TWIN CITIES HALLOWEEN FAMILY FUN GUIDE. Check it out – if you dare!

fun outdoor activities in the parks this weekend

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 the parks.


RICE CREEK CHAIN OF LAKES PARK RESERVE is a 5500-acre park in the northeast metro. It is one of the largest parks in the metro area and stretches through the communities of Lexington, Circle Pines, Lino Lakes and Centerville. We’ve found good ways for a family to explore the expansive park by honing in on the WARGO NATURE CENTER, by biking the Rice Creek trails, and spending a day at the CENTERVILLE LAKE BEACH. For more ideas, jump over to our list of 12 THINGS FOR FUN AT RICE CREEK CHAIN OF LAKES PARK RESERVE.

Girl swinging on Rope at Maple Hollow in Wargo Nature Center in Minnesota
Kids love playing outdoors at Maple Hollow Nature Play Area

At the WARGO NATURE CENTER, families will enjoy the displays, the touch and see room, and the outdoor areas, including the nature playground and gardens. Anne’s daughter (pictured) adored the rope swing in Maple Hollow Nature Play Area.

SPECIAL EVENT! Wargo Nature Center Fall Festival

Play pioneer games, try cider pressing and take nature walks. Oct 16, 2-4pm, FREE.

Centerville Lake, one of seven in the Rice Creek Chain, earns high marks in our book for hosting one of the top beaches in the Twin Cities Metro AND makes Gianna’s list of the top fishing holes in the northern suburbs.

Two kids fishing from a dock
Here fishy, fishy!

Anne’s family is always on the search for new family-friendly bike trails. The Rice Creek North Regional Trail meanders through this park. The level trails make for good biking with small children. Or, hike if you’d rather.

Featured Twin Cities  Park Events this weekend

Family Nature Exploration Saturday | Lake Elmo

SALLY MANZARA NATURE CENTER, located within SUNFISH LAKE PARK is launching a free Family Nature Exploration Saturdays Series from 10-11am starting in October. No registration is needed, just show up to explore nature! We’ve done just that and enjoyed all the indoor & outdoor exhibits, including the Messy Play Area! Oct 16, 10-11am. FREE.

Nature play at Sally Manzara Interpretive Center

Free Story Saturday at Manor Park

Gather for storytime, make a craft, and explore take-home options. This weekend story will be Harriet’s Halloween Candy by Nancy Carlson. All Story Saturdays through 2021 will take place at Manor Park in Robbinsdale. Oct 16, 10am.

FREE FAMILY FUN DAY with Three Rivers parks

Each Sunday in October, MISSISSIPPI GATEWAY REGIONAL PARK hosts a FREE FAMILY FUN DAY with drop-in activities from 1-3pm.  If you’re from the SW Metro: RICHARDSON NATURE CENTER in Bloomington also hosts this program. Want to explore more nature centers? Check out the links on our big list of Twin Cities nature & interpretive centers for all the details. Oct 17.

Visit a twin cities pumpkin patch or corn maze this weekend

This weekend’s highlighted fall fun pumpkin patches & corn mazes:


Patches are in full swing this weekend, and we’ve got the details on 15 on our list we think are worth checking out for their fall activities, farm animals, and fresh produce. This weekend we highlight COUNTRY SUN FARM in Lake Elmo. Admission is free, with a charge for all fall activities with the exception of the petting farm and outdoor display photo ops. Fun stuff includes 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).

Jump over to Pick One: Twin Cities Pumpkin Patches or click the graphic for more outing ideas.

Baby by pumpkin patch at Pleasant Valley Orchard in Shafer, Minnesota
Pumpkins at Pleasant Valley Orchard


Love them, fear them, however you feel about corn mazes, they are a staple of outdoor fall fun in Minnesota. This weekend, we share a good option for families with smaller children. APPLEWOOD ORCHARD in Lakeville has replaced their corn maze with a hedge maze for 2021. This year’s maze looks a little more manageable, plus small children will enjoy the pedal tractors and play equipment. Find more Twin Cities corn mazes for all ages on our TOP 10 CORN MAZES LIST.

Applewood Orchard

more ideas for things to do this weekend in the twin cities with kids

Catch the fall colors

Beautiful but fleeting, fall colors in Minnesota are worth a weekend family outing. Some suggestions for the best places to view this stunning palette can be found in our TWIN CITIES FALL COLOR GUIDE.

Pumpkins & Trolley Rides

COMO-HARRIET STREETCAR LINE presents Farmer Ken & Jan’s Pumpkin Patch! Take a trolley ride and bring home a Halloween pumpkin. Riders get off the car at the “pumpkin patch” where they can search for just the right pumpkin. There are no advance tickets or reservations. Located in Minneapolis.  Oct 16-17. $3/pp plus $6/pumpkin.

Saturday Pop-up at Minnesota Center for Book Arts

Make a commemorative print on the new mini press and more take-home crafts, and tour the new exhibits. This is a very kid-friendly place – see my little artist below! Oct 16, 10am-5pm. FREE.


Lattes & LEGOS at Snapology

Parents, need a quick break? Enjoy a delicious beverage from Bob’s Java Hut (next door to Snapology) while your child plays at Snapology. If they are 5+, you can drop them off! Playtime at Snapology is a creative building experience that includes LEGO bricks, a race track, magnatiles, train tracks, k’nex, polydrons, marble mazes and more. Oct 17, 9-11:30am, $8/child, includes beverage. 



MINNEAPOLIS SCULPTURE GARDEN – adjacent to the Walker Art Center. Follow the link to reserve your required tickets to visit the museum.


Find hundreds more things to do in Minneapolis & St Paul with kids!

October Weekend Family Fun 

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