The sunshine and warm weather that we have been blessed with has me thinking about ALL of the fun things that we can do with the boys this summer. They are in such a fun stage and really soak up every experience they are presented with! They are also busy and demand our full attention at all times for safety reasons. I've worked hard on researching the activities, play areas and events that we should go to - what will be enjoyable for the boys and also for myself (and Sean!).
I’ve broken the list down into four categories for convenience!
Out & About
Our favorite places or newly heard of gems! This list is scattered across the Twin Cities, because I mean why not make sure your kids are familiar with the Minnesota freeway systems. Oh and because there are AMAZING places all around us.
1. Gale Woods Farm - Minnetrista
The farm doesn’t have classes or events every day but the farm shop is open! We love to get fresh eggs, herbs and meat! For more info:
2. Thomas the Train - Duluth
Hank & Lou love trains. We are always on the look out for “choo choo tracks” and listening for the train horns. As a parent, I despise watching Thomas & Friends (SORRY!) but I have heard awesome things about this special activity. For more info: https://northshorescenicrailroad.org/exspecial.html
3. MN Zoo - Apple Valley
We’ve got a season pass because the MN Zoo has basically everything my kids want in one day... Animals, snacks, splash pad and lots and lots of things to climb on. My season pass pays for itself within 3 visits. For more info: http://mnzoo.org/
4. Como Zoo - Saint Paul
As mentioned above, the boys love animals. The Como Zoo is free, but also has fun rides that are toddler appropriate and different animals than the “big zoo”. (That’s what my Mom used to call it when we were kids.) For more info: http://www.comozooconservatory.org/
5. Roundhouse Train Museum - Saint Paul
I honestly don’t know much about this. I just know that my sister mentioned that the boys would love it. I’ll share the website link, and then I’ll probably take a peek for myself. For more info: http://transportationmuseum.org/
6. Minnehaha Steamboat Ride - Excelsior
We are lake people but H&L would LOVE to be on a huge boat like this. Plus, there is history shared with you (Sean loves this!) and it is docked in Excelsior (I love this!). For more info: https://www.steamboatminnehaha.org/
7. Teddy Bear Park - Stillwater
Again, this is something that I have heard is great. Anywhere I can bring the twins to have them run around and burn as much energy as possible is great for me. Plus, there is lots of cute places for lunch and pretty view from downtown! For more info: https://www.ci.stillwater.mn.us/teddy_bear_park
Really? You need to read a description? Okay, kids like ice cream and apparently I do too. In fact, I’m going to get a bowl to finish writing this blog post. Hence the reason this got it’s own category.
1. Adele’s - Excelsior
Not only is this ice cream shop legendary around the Lake Minnetonka area but it's situated just a few block walk from Water Street in Excelsior. It's an easy walk from the boat, or if you're in a hurry you can drive through! For more info: https://www.adelescustard.com
2. Edina Creamery - Edina
Never been here, but since Edina is relatively swanky I'm going to guess that this place is LEGIT. For more info: http://www.edinacreamery.com
3. Minnesota Nice Cream - Minneapolis
This place is known for their outrageous looking waffle cone concoctions. We haven't been there yet but this is a MUST do this summer. For more info: https://www.mnnicecream.com
4. Grand Ole Creamery - Saint Paul
Historic. Everyone visits Grand Ave in St Paul at some point during the summertime. Don't miss one of the staples!!! For more info: https://grandolecreamery.com/site/
5. Cup & Cone - White Bear Lake
Considering I grew up in the Forest Lake area, it was surprising that I didn't go to this place more. I think I had it a few times with my aunt who lived in White Bear but that's about it. Now, we go a few times a summer because my sister lives over there! It's definitely the place to be, but be careful - on hot days there is typically a pretty long line! For more info: http://www.cupandconewbl.com
6. Nelson’s Ice Cream - Stillwater
Again, this will be a new place for me to try out! Maybe we will hit up the Teddy Bear Park before finishing the day with some ice cream here! Also, they were voted Best Ice Cream Shop in 2018 by CityPages. For more info: https://www.nelsonsicecream.biz/index.html
7. Sebastian Joe’s - Minneapolis
They serve Sebastian Joe’s at Tommy’s Tonka Trolley in Excelsior, but this is for the experience! I have driven by Sebastian Joe’s but haven’t been in to the shop.
Hank and Louie are basically fish. If they could be swimming, splashing or squirting water every waking minute they would. Places get bonus points from me if they are fully enclosed and have minimal escape routes for my twinadoes.
1. Delano Splash Pad - Delano
This splash pad was a godsend last year! The boys were only a few months into walking and they wanted to do things on their own, so a splash pad was the best option for water activities! Plus, this specific one is fully fenced in with only one entrance/exit. For $3/person, this is WELL worth the trip out to Delano. For more info: http://www.delano.mn.us/community/recreation/splashpad
2. Valleyfair Water Park - Shakopee
Fun fact - I used to work at Valleyfair. I was a marketing intern in 2011. Although it wasn’t my most favorite job I’ve had, it’s a fun place to spend a day! The water area is awesome and I can’t wait to take the boys there. I only had to buy a season pass for myself - the boys are free this year. For more info: https://www.valleyfair.com/
3. Minnetonka Regional Park - Minnetrista
This was on my bucket list for last year too - we definitely did it! The man made, chlorinated swimming pond is amazing. The beach has umbrellas for the guests to use, a concession stand and a changing area. There is also a seriously huge playground at the park. You could truly make this a day trip and spend all day here. For more info: https://www.threeriversparks.org/location/lake-minnetonka-regional-park
4. St. Louis Park Splash Pad - St Louis Park
Many friends of mine have been to or go to this splash pad regularly, but I haven't been yet! We will for sure go this year, as I’ve heard it’s a great one for kids that are Hank & Louie’s age! It’s close to major freeways and lots of restaurants/shopping. For more information: https://www.stlouispark.org/our-city/thing-to-do/splash-pad
5. Pop Up Splash Pad - Eden Prairie
You guys. This sounds so cool. The Eden Prairie Fire Department does pop up splash pads! What a fun way for the firefighters to get out in the community and get exposure! For more info: https://www.edenprairie.org/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/10704/
6. Burns Park Splash Pad
7. Como Swimming Pool - Saint Paul
I like the idea of being in Saint Paul, I don’t know why! Maybe it’s because it’s near my family and that’s where I grew up going. This pool makes me think of old school movies that were set at pools! The zoo is right next door and there are lots and lots of picnic areas. For more info: https://www.stpaul.gov/departments/parks-recreation/aquatics/como-regional-park-pool
Various fairs, festivals or large gathering places that are relatively kid friendly. Or at least will feed them greasy food and give them people to look at.
1. Minnesota State Fair - Saint Paul
Maybe I am biased but this has to be the best State Fair in the USA. The amount of people watching, greasy food and fun outdoor activities is exceptional! We will go one day for sure, typically in the first full week on a weekday morning. For more info: https://www.mnstatefair.org/
2. 4th of July Fireworks - Anywhere, USA
What a fun experience for kids! They love watching them, so why not on the 4th of July! I’m hoping the resort at the cabin has a good show this year... However, I feel like the bugs are always terrible!!!!
3. Linden Hills Farmer’s Market - Minneapolis
Did you know that I’m going to be popping up here 4 times this summer?! Okay, but seriously I would like to bring the boys here at least one time. There is such a fun vendor list and it’s always unique and delicious things! For more info: https://www.lindenhillsfarmersmarket.org/
4. Minnesota Irish Fair - Saint Paul
Basically, this is exactly what the name says. ;) There is Celtic dancing, food and craft show. I’ve been a handful of times and it would be awesome for H&L to experience the Irish culture. For more info: https://www.irishfair.com/
5. Teddy Bear Band - Metro Area
This band has been around for so many years - Sean used to go when he was little. I don’t remember if I did but lots of baby boomers took their kids to the shows! I’d get on their email list for the most up to date show list. Fore more info: http://teddybearband.com/
6. Toddler Tuesday at MOA - Bloomington
I don’t know much about this one but for a rainy day during the summer, I’d head to the Mall of America for events aimed at toddlers! For more info: https://www.mallofamerica.com/event/feature/toddler-tuesdays
7. Twins Day at the MN Twins Game - Minneapolis
A day where the MN Twins have special events for twins! We haven’t gone in years past because it would have been too much work to be honest. I’d like to go for the experience and for a game where the other fans would understand what I’m going through in getting the kiddos to the game! ;)
Aaaah - these all have me so excited for the next few months. In addition to the activities listed above, we are headed to the cabin a few times, making sure we get on the boat as often as possible and grilling good foods for the boys to try. If you like this list, please share it with your friends. Or, if you want to meet us at any of these places - I’d love to meet.
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