If It’s Free, It’s For Me!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

That would be our family’s new slogan while living off student loans. Please enjoy…

Top 10 Free Family-Friendly Activities in the Twin Cities Area

1.    Como Zoo and Conservatory: We visit about once a week, especially in the winter. Either doff your coat and soak in the green of the conservatory or have a brisk walk from enclosure to enclosure. They have it all: lions, tigers and bears, oh my! Storytime in the entry hall at 12:30.

Child Watching Giraffe at the Zoo

2.    MN Children’s Museum: if you’re a student family, you probably qualify for free membership. Take advantage of it – your kids will want to return!

Children Playing with Bubbles

3.    Mall of America: Toddler Tuesday: free movies or events every Tuesday for your littles, with the bonus of half-price meals at many participating restaurants. Ride theme park rides at discounted rates. 

4.    Parks: They are everywhere. Our favorites: Minnehaha Falls and Silverwood.

Kids Playing in a Park

5.    Library story times: Our favorites: Central and Roseville libraries. The kids love their play areas and the story times are above and beyond: we have been to story times with a full band performing, and another with live ducks brought in to meet and greet, but they are always great.

6.    Ice Skating: Most recreations centers have rinks and many have free skate check-out. Downtown St. Paul boasts the Wells Fargo ice rink – free if you bring your own skates or your Wells Fargo card, or you can rent skates for a small fee. 

Selfie at the Ice Rink

7.    Recreation Centers: The parks of the winter! Most host free toddler gym time 2-3 mornings a week. Includes bikes, balls, mats, and lots of space to run around and little people to run with. No membership required.

Children Playing Basketball

8.    Midtown Global Market: Friday Family Night: Live entertainment and a wide selection of ethnic food to try for cheap. We got lucky one night with a square dance – our 3-year-old loved it! 

Children Dancing in Front of Band

9.    Ballet in the Landmark Building: St. Paul City Ballet puts on a free performance the second Tuesday of every month, from 12 to 1. Pack a lunch and watch elite ballerinas do their thing – the Nutcracker in December was fantastic.

Children Watching Ballet Performance

10.    Walker Art Museum: the sculpture garden is free and you won’t want to miss this iconic shot: (although hold on tight to your babies – if they step on the frozen reflecting pool, they will inevitably fall through).

Heidi Holding Baby Posed in Front of the Cherry Spoon Sculpture

Bonuses: because we’ve had such a good time here, I can’t stop at 10
1.    Concerts in the park: Minnehaha Falls has concerts all summer – I recommend the bluegrass evening.  You won’t find a more fun crowd.
2.    Fly a kite on Harriet Island: Gorgeous scenery and almost always blustery.

Child Playing in Grassy Area