Free Fun

There's plenty of kid-approved fun to be had around the Twin Cities without spending a dime.

Kids at Como Zoo
Photo by Eliesa Johnson
Thursday mornings at Como Zoo are dedicated to “Lil Explorers.” From November through April, kids ages 1 to 3 get to meet animals, play games, and have story time with a different theme each week from 10 a.m. to noon. 651-487-8200,

Childish Films at the Downtown Minneapolis Library is a free Saturday program for families. Before the screening of a cool, off-the-beaten-path movie like Wallace and Gromit, there’s a pre-show activity, a film chat, and a healthy snack. First come, first served. 612-543-8100,

Don’t forget your lawn chair or blanket when you score a spot on the Mississippi River Bank along West River Parkway to watch the free TC River Rats water-ski show on summer Thursday nights. Your kids will be agog at the barefooters, the highflying jumpers, the pyramids, and the general amazingness of not falling.

Each spring, The Current offers a day of family fun and music at its Rock the Cradle concert, which includes a kids disco party, live performances, cool stuff to play and build with, and even a good-for-you snack bar.

Family Day happens one Sunday each month at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts with hands-on art projects, live music, dance, storytelling, and more. Plus you can roam the entire museum on a detailed scavenger hunt. 612-870-3000,

Save your Ikea shopping for a Tuesday, when kids under 12 get a free combo meal. 888-888-4532,

Kids bouncing off the walls? On Saturday afternoons during the school year, volunteers from inner city tennis in Minneapolis teach fundamentals to kids ages 3 to 17 at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Centerfor free! Healthy snacks included. 612-824-6099,

Catch a free Family Flick at Theatres at Mall of America every Saturday at 10 a.m. Especially excellent: the “sensory films” that honor kids with sensory issues. The lights are up, the sound is down, and kids are encouraged to sing, dance, and move around. Titles range from recent releases to classics. First come, first served. 952-883-8901,


Photo by Eliesa Johnson

Amelia's Picks

We invited Amelia Santaniello, WCCO-TV news anchor and mom of three, to help us put our kids cover story together.

Photo by Eliesa Johnson

Twin Cities Bookstores

One reason why all our children are above average? Great bookstores for kids.

Kid at Como Zoo

Little Hands, Big Heart

Kids love to help, and these volunteer outfits make getting involved easy for all ages.

Photo by Eliesa Johnson

Real Good Food

Picky eater problem? We've got upgrades on the classics to pique their appetites, farms to learn about where food comes from, and sweet solutions for crabby days.

Photo by Eliesa Johnson

Take It From a Kid

We asked the little guys and gals about their ideal nights out, favorite hangouts, best veggies, and more.

Twins Stadium

Busy Kid, Happy Kid

It's tough to keep up with energetic kids. Engage their passions and let 'em run wild with our ideas.

Kids reading at the Walker Art Center

Bright Young Things

The future's so bright for these kids, they better wear shades.

Tiaras at Lynden's Soda Fountain

Star Potential

Does your kid have what it takes? Proving grounds start here, from soccer to singing.

Playing around at the Walker

A Year’s Worth of Outings

Put these things on your calendar for the coming year, and you’ll have something to look forward to every month.

A child runs to her parents at the Como Zoo

Confessions of a Lazy Dad

Once skeptical of the behemoth Mall of America, one Dad comes around.