1. Visit Franconia Sculpture Garden
Plan a full day for this trip – it takes about an hour to drive to this amazing, 25-acre sculpture park and artist residency in Franconia, MN. The park is open daily, dawn to dusk, 365 days a year. Entry to the park is free, and you can also take a free tour on Sundays at 2pm. You might even be able to watch the artists in action! Check out their website for upcoming events.
2. Cool off at Edinborough Park
Every summer brings a few of those hot hot hot days, with unbearable temperatures and dew points, and no relief in sight. Well, here’s a refreshing activity with a $7 admission fee. Edinborough Park in Edina is an enclosed, one-acre park, complete with pool, running track and fitness area, and playground. Best of all, the whole place is air-conditioned!
3. Take a trip to the Library
Even when you can’t get out of town, you and your Little can go on an adventure with a visit to your local library! It’s a treasure trove of free books, movies and games, plus air conditioning. Most libraries hold fun events for kids of all ages, all summer long. The libary’s the place to be this summer!
4. Celebrate Rondo Days
The Rondo Days Festival celebrates the historically black Rondo neighborhood in St. Paul, that was divided by the construction of I94 in the 1960s. The festival includes a parade, entertainment, food vendors and lots of kid-friendly activities.
5. Tour the Oliver H. Kelley Farm
Just a short drive away in Elk River, MN, the Oliver H. Kelley Farm is a real blast from the past. It’s a working 1860s farm and a national historic landmark. Admission is $9 for adults and $6 for kids, and includes a tour of the farm and the chance to meet farm animals and see what’s cooking in a real farm kitchen. You can even try your hand at farm work!
6. Hmong Freedom and Sports Festival
Celebrate the 4th of July in a fun and unique way with a visit to the Hmong Freedom and Sports Festival at Como Park! On Friday, July 4 and Saturday, July 5, you can enjoy live music, merchandise and food booths, and men’s and women’s soccer tournaments.
7. Catch a River Rats Show
The Twin Cities River Rats are the kind of show you can only see in Minnesota. This nonprofit water ski show team performs on West River Road, south of Broadway Avenue, on Thursday evenings. Shows start at 7pm, but you’ll want to get their early to stake out a good spot, and bring a blanket to sit on.
8. Attend a Native American Powwow
You and your Little can celebrate the culture of Minnesota’s Native Americans by attending a powwow – it’s a chance to experience firsthand traditional music, dancing, attire and food. For a list of powwows happening near the Twin Cities this summer, click here.
9. See a movie in the park
Coming soon to a park near you is the Minneapolis Music and Movies in the Park series. You can watch movies and concerts for free, every night this summer, now through September 1. Just pack up a blanket and some movie snacks. The full schedule of movies and performers is listed here.
10. Get together at the State Fair
The Minnesota State Fair is one of the biggest and best state fairs in the US, and it’s a great way to celebrate the end of summer. Tour the Arts and Crafts building, climb on tractors at Machinery Hill, check out the Miracle of Birth barn and ride the Ferris Wheel at the Midway, and, of course, eat your weight in food on a stick! Remember to wear comfortable shoes and plenty of sunblock.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is not affiliated with these organizations and events, and these suggestions are offered as ideas only. Volunteers and parents/guardians should evaluate the appropriateness of each activity before participating.
We want to hear from you! What are you and your Little looking forward to doing together this summer? Tell us about it in the comments.