Free Summer Fun for Twin Cities Kids & Families 2021
The Twin Cities has so many fun activities and events for kids and families – but did you know that many are FREE?
So every year I compile a list of all the free fun I could find!
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FREE Printable Summer Activity Planner for Kids!
There are 8 pages of summer planning fun:
- Summer Bucket List (32 ideas for summer fun!)
- Summer Schedules with themes and ideas
- “10 Things I Want to Do this Summer” Worksheet
- 3 Coloring Pages
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Here are ideas for FREE summer fun for kids & families
in the Twin Cities 2021!
(NOTE: All of these listings are subject to change. Be sure to check before you make plans or go!)
Indoor and Outdoor Adventures
Free Bowling – Kids Bowl Free is a national program designed by bowling centers to give back to the community and provide a safe, secure and fun way for kids to spend time this summer. There are dozens of bowling centers in Minnesota that participate. Just sign up on their website!
Free Construction Shows – Extreme Sandbox in Hastings is an awesome place offering FREE Drive Thru Experiences for families! You can watch them from your car! They also are open for regular business. Check out my deals!
Free Fishing – Minnesota residents can fish without a fishing license in most Minnesota state parks, including ice fishing. You can also check out a free fishing kit at select parks. This map shows where you can fish for free state-wide.
Free Airplane Flights for Kids – The EAA Young Eagles program gives kids ages 8-17 their first experience flying in an airplane. The flight lasts approximately 20 minutes. Just look up the closest program coordinator in your area via their website and contact them. (These may be affected due to COVID-19.)
Free Splash Pads and Wading Pools – The Twin Cities has many splash pads and wading pools that are free for all, and many are open this summer. Check with your local city for one near you. Minneapolis has a great list of their wading pools. You can also explore Twin Cities splash pads and wading pools on this interactive map (above) though this doesn’t show which ones are open and which ones are closed.
Free Parks – The Twin Cities has so many parks available to residents. Get started exploring on the Metropolitan Council website, or on the Three Rivers Park District’s website. Some of my family’s favorites are Central Park in Maple Grove, Madison’s Playground in Woodbury, and Schaper Park in Golden Valley.
Free County Fairs – Not all offer free admission, but several do. Expect to pay for food, rides and some entertainment, of course. See my full roundup of Twin Cities Area County Fairs 2021.
Starlight Cinema offers a FREE summer movie series at Ojibwe Park in Woodbury. Starts June 10th!
Free Summer Concerts – The Minneapolis Music in the Parks Series brings live music to parks. Check out the schedule!
Free Summer Reading Programs for Kids – Kids can earn rewards for reading this summer! View my full list of Free Summer Reading Programs for Kids including Chuck E. Cheese and Pizza Hut.
Free Local Library Curbside Pickup and Virtual Events – Libraries are starting to open up again for the summer, but there are still many virtual events.
Free Virtual Storytimes – Libraries and bookstores alike have free virtual storytimes for kids and families at this time, and make a great, quiet summer break from the heat or rain. For example, Wild Rumpus Books in Minneapolis has free virtual storytimes each week.
Free Build-a-Bear Virtual Workshop Every Wednesday – Build-a-Bear is offering free Virtual Workshops every Wednesday! There are activities, crafts and free printables. It will definitely help keep your kids busy during this time!
Free Omnifest at the Science Museum of Minnesota (Learn at Home) – The Science Museum of Minnesota is open, but they have at-home virtual learning on their website.
Free Minnesota Zoo Virtual Fun – The Minnesota Zoo is open but are also offering online learning options.
Free Minnesota Printables, LiveCams and Activities to Do at Home – Check out my roundup of interactive, online Minnesota fun!
Free Virtual Movie Summer Camp “CampDreamWorks” – Last summer, DreamWorks Animation created a free virtual movie summer camp called “Camp DreamWorks”. There are show-inspired, easy-to-follow activities & livestreams for kids of all ages including Arts & Crafts, Sing-Alongs, Coloring Pages, Party Kits & more.
Free Apple Store Camp – In 2020, Apple Camp from home was offered for kids. You can download last year’s activity book and check back for 2021 updates.
Free Community Camps – The Sanneh Foundation gives kids ages 5-12 a safe, healthy and FUN camp experience every summer by offering FREE community sports camps throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul. There are many camps offered. (This has grown a lot since the last time I posted about them!)
Museum & Attractions
Free Museum, Attraction & Concert Passes – The MELSA SmARTPass program offers library card holders in the Twin Cities area free passes to a wide variety of museums, theater productions and other art experiences. Just sign up on their website by entering your library card number. Though most opportunities are suspended at this time, login to see upcoming opportunities, even later this summer.
Free Museum In-Person and Virtual Family Days – Many museums are closed, but some are starting to open. Here are some either opening soon or offering free virtual opportunities:
- Minneapolis Institute of Art – Free virtual family days offered the second Sunday of the month!
- Minneapolis Sculpture Gardens – The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is free, requires no tickets for admission, and is open from 6 am to 12 midnight every day. Please observe physical distancing practices and maintain a minimum of 6 feet from others while visiting the Garden.
- Minnesota Children’s Museum – They are open! Save $3 per admission online any day with my code TCFM. (St. Paul)
- Minnesota Landscape Arboretum – Chaska. They are open for visits by reservation!
- Walker Art Center – They continue to offer Free First Saturdays for families! Just be sure to reserve your FREE tickets online. Activities continue online as well.
Create Your Own Adventure!
A couple years ago I put together this list of fun places to visit called “Hidden Gems for Families in the Twin Cities.” Some of our favorites are the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport’s Aircraft Viewing Area and Brooklyn Park Library, Though you’ll need to check in advance which ones are currently open, take your family out and about to explore places on the list or discover your own!
Also visit my Deals & Events Calendar regularly for happenings in the area!
When All Else Fails
There are many virtual options listed in this guide, but when all else fails and the boredom hits at home, my 12-year-old daughter put together this list of 100 Things for Kids to Do at Home When Bored!
These times are hard on everyone, so check out my guide to Coronavirus Financial Relief & Resources for Minnesota Families!
Also check out my guide: “How to Get Free Food in Minnesota During COVID.”
DISCOUNTS DISCOUNTS DISCOUNTS
As things start opening up again, check out my Twin Cities Discount Guide for Families! You can save on many museums and attractions in the area, including the Crayola Experience at the Mall of America (get the lowest price via my special link!) and the Minnesota Children’s Museum (save $2 per admission with my special code!).
Also, limited income families can receive free or discounted admission to these museums and attractions in Minnesota. (Check with each attraction before going as some of this funding has changed.)
Don’t miss my guide: The Ultimate List of Minnesota Family Fun!
Twin Cities Newspaper Deals!
Twin Cities Newspaper Deals – Find more ideas for fun and save money with coupons when you subscribe to a local newspaper like the Star Tribune or Pioneer Press! I have some AWESOME summer deals! Check them out!
Do you have a FREE idea to add to this list? Do you have an update or correction? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.