Friday, July 3, 2009

Free Outings

I love all the free things to do in the Twin Cities. Add in the free museum passes from the library and there are so many sights to see. Yesterday my wife's schedule worked out so that we could have the car for the day.

Our first stop was the Linden Hills neighborhood, which we hadn't explored before, but the local SAHD group had visited a bookstore there once, co I had been wanting to check it out. It was a great neighborhood with a lot of kid-friendly stores: Creative Kidstuff, Wonderment and Wild Rumpus. Wild Rumpus was our initial destination, but we checked out some of the other stores on the way. The boys don't usually get to go into too many toy stores. We weren't out to buy anything, and they can have fun just looking (maybe some day we'll have extra discretionary money for using beyond our needs, but at the same time, I want the boys to be able to have fun with what they have, not wanting more and more all the time). Wild Rumpus was a great store. They had live animals all over: chinchillas, ferrets, an iguana, a tarantula, birds of all sorts--even a roaming bantam rooster and cats. Plus, kids' books of all sorts.

From there we went down to Como Park for a picnic and time at the zoo. It's a lot smaller than the Minnesota Zoo, but it's free. And it's just enough to occupy the boys without wearing them out. We hadn't fought the summer crowds before to see the Sparky the Sea Lion Show and go through the butterfly tent. They were fun treats--especially the butterfly tent where they're flying all around you. The boys also enjoy the conservatory, just seeing all the plants and especially the koi in the garden ponds.

My wife was meeting up with a friend after work, so we had her drop us off at Lake Harriet so we could attend a concert. Most communities have concerts during the summer for at least one night a week. Lake Harriet has them every night of the week. We had already heard the Minneapolis Police Concert Band. This time it was a smaller band playing "hot swing with jazzy vocals." The boys can't sit through the whole concert, but the nice thing is they're not expected to--they can get up and dance around or roll down the grass "hills" surrounding the venue. Plus there's a playground right by the band shell as well as the lake for swimming or just playing in the sand.

What our your favorite free outings? Leave a comment.

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