Summer Activities for Kids (free or low cost)

Wondering what to do with the kids this summer?  Here are some suggestions for activities that won’t break the bank.  Post this list to help plan some outings with your kids this summer.  You’ll be surprised how much fun you can have on the cheap.  You might want to call first for details such as location and hours.

There are libraries, parks with pools, local community centers, walks on the parkway and lake paths, and many more places that you will discover on your own.  Enjoy your summer!

Gardens and Interpretive Nature Centers

Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, St. Paul   651-487-8200  (suggested donation only)

Spring 2011 Recitals Etc 008Raptor Center, St. Paul   612-624-4745  (Family Fun nights and some other events are free.)

Wood Lake Nature Center, Richfield   612-861-9365  (Free – Interpretive center and walking paths.  Some cost for activities and classes)

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Bloomington, 612 854 5900   (Free – Interpretive center and hiking paths)

Richardson Nature Center, Bloomington, 763-694-7676Summer Fall 2011 Etc 227

(Free – Interpretive center and paved walking path)

 Play Areas

Chutes and Ladders Park, Hyland Lake Park Reserve, Bloomington   952-941-4362 (Free)

Creative Play Area – toddler area and climbing net structure–Bryant Lake Park, Eden Prairie. (763) 694-7764 Also features swimming beach and fishing pier.


Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis  612-870-3200  (Free)

Twin City Model Train Museum, Bandana Square, St. Paul  651-647-9628  (Children 5 and under are free.)

Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis  612-375-7622  (Free – Note: no climbing on sculptures allowed.)

Minnesota Children’s Museum, St. Paul  651-225-6000  (Free on third Sunday of each month)  All exhibits are accessible to people with disabilities.

Hennepin History Museum, Minneapolis  612-870-1329 (Children under 6 are free)

Ellingson Car Museum, Rogers  763-428-7337 (Free to children under five.)

Historic Sites

Historic Fort Snelling, St. Paul  651-726-1171  (Free for kids 5 and under)

Minnesota State Capitol, St. Paul   651-296-2881  (Tours are free and held regularly.)

Lake Harriet Trolley, Minneapolis 651-228-2363   (free for children ages 3 and under, $2 per person)

Minnehaha Depot, St. Paul   651-228-0263  (Self-guided tours are free; train rides are not.)  Check out Minnehaha Falls nearby.

Lock and Dam #2, off Minnehaha Parkway near Minnehaha Falls, Minneapolis 612-673-5095  Observation deck. (free)

St. Anthony Falls Historic District, Minneapolis, 612-627-5443 (free) Take a walk or bike ride over the Stone Arch Bridge.

Gale Woods Farm, Minnestrista, 763-694-2001

Working farm.  Check for regular activities (Free admission.  Some programs have fees.)

Carver County Historical Society, Waconia 952-442-4234     (Free)


PACER has a list of many recreational and therapeutic activities as well:


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