Here in Minnesota March is a critical month for most, as by this time we are desperate for Spring to come around after a long dreary winter. This past weekend we finally hit 50 degrees, and boy, did it feel nice! We opened up the windows, turned off the heat, and basked in the sunshine. I keep telling my husband that as soon as the kids are grown we are moving to a state with a milder climate, preferably a place that gets sunshine almost daily! But until then we’ll celebrate Spring in our usual manner, spending as much time out of the house as possible!
Our Springtime routine includes quiet mornings out on the deck with a cup of coffee and listening to the birds, relaxing dinner meals hot off the grill, walking to the park with the kids, grabbing an ice cream cone at the local McDonalds while we’re out running errands, and for me, dreaming of planting berry bushes (I just never seem to get around to it!). For a little more structured family fun I like to look in the City Pages, as they have an extensive events calendar for the Twin Cities area, including festivals/parades, expos, and charity events. You can search by type of event, or by the area you live in. Another good site to go to is Minneapolis.org, which is the official site for the Minneapolis Convention and Visitors Association. Peek under the Family Fun-Free + Cheap category for a few good outings! And surprisingly this isn’t listed, but the Children’s Museum in St. Paul (so much fun for all ages!) is also free every 3rd Sunday of the month. We used to go a few times a year and they are always changing the exhibits, our kids love going there!
Now that you are set to get out of the house, the other struggle is always FOOD! It’s just a fact of life that as soon as you get the kids out of the house they all of sudden grow an enormous pit in their stomach and want to go out to eat. So I always pack snacks, or will give them each a “snack budget”, but you could also try one of the numerous places that let kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entree. Check out this site for a list of places that offer free kids meals, as well as some free places to visit. There are a also a few more places listed here, here and here. Since the “free meals” specials are constantly changing, make sure to call ahead and verify that it is still being offered.
And since we are the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, what summer would be compete without visiting a few lakes or parks?!? The Minneapolis Park & Lakes system is extensive, offering a variety of different activities for the whole family. To see which ones are near you and what they offer, go to the Minneapolis Parks & Recreation site and use the “finding” tool. From fishing docks to archery, bandstands to wading pools, whatever your family is in the mood for you can find it there!
And on a final note, for those who have a little cash to spend money and want to keep the kids busy for a few hours, try registering them for a class through your local school district, almost all of them offer Community Education. To find the site you need to go to, try typing in the name of your city or school district followed by “community education” in a search engine (for example: “minneapolis community education”). There’s always a variety of classes offered including arts & crafts, education courses, swimming classes, outdoor sports and even some day trips. These classes are not free, but I sign each of my kids up for one and it’s something they always look forward to and is considered a summertime tradition.