Great Free Things You Can Still Do this Summer in Minnesota
Keeping a family entertained for an entire summer in Minnesota is not easy (or cheap). Here are ten cool things you can experience in Minnesota for free.
Take the Gang to Como Zoo & Conservatory
A trip to Como Park Zoo & Conservatory in Saint Paul is sure to engage all the senses. Admission is free to the zoo which features everything from giraffes and gorillas, to lions, monkeys, and polar bears. This year the seals & sea lions were treated to a beautiful new habitat makeover.
The conservatory and gardens are also part off the wonder of this park.
Open 365 days a year, from 10 am to 6pm, admission to the Zoo and Conservatory is free (however there are plenty of other things to spend money on like amusement park rides and food & drinks.
Visit a County Fair
Most county fairs across southern Minnesota offer free admission, and while the food & rides cost extra -- most of the exhibits don't cost a dime. Check out the animals, enjoy some music, watch a magic show, and more. The Olmsted County (7/25-7/31), Mower County (8/9-8/14), Dakota County (8/8-8/14), and Steele County (8/16-8/21) are all still to come this summer.
Visit the New & Improved SPAM Museum
A road trip south to Austin, Minnesota will take you to the one and only SPAM Museum. Opened daily from 9 to 5 (Sundays 11-4) the SPAM Museum features a trip through the history of SPAM, plus a gift shop. Say hi to the SPAMbassadors that volunteer their time at the museum. Admission is free.
Go Frisbee Disc Golfing
Disc or frisbee golf is the definition of free fun. Most cities have at least one disc golf course in a public park. It's a great way to get outside, enjoy some fresh air with the family, and mix in a little friendly competition. You can buy a disc for as little as five bucks, and while enthusiasts will have several for different situations, I just play with one.
Here's a list of 16 courses in our area.
Check Out the National Trout Center
Who would have thought that the National Trout Center would be in Minnesota. When most people thing of great trout fisheries they think of the Rocky Mountain West or the northeast part of the U.S. -- but southeast Minnesota boasts some of the best trout fishing in the country.
Located in downtown Preston, Minnesota, the National Trout Center is open mid-April to the end of September -- and features a gift shop with National Trout Center items, and some fly-fishing supplies, exhibits, maps and information related to trout fishing in the upper midwest. Free admission.
Stop & Smell the Flowers at Munsinger Clemens Gardens
Located on the banks of the Mississippi River in Saint Cloud, the garden feature flowers and plants or every shape, size, and color. There's a gift shop too -- plus live music on select Sunday afternoons in the summer. The Gardens are open every day from Spring to Fall from 7:00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. Free admission.
Learn About the Sacred Tradition of Pipemakers
Pipestone National Monument in southwestern Minnesota near the city of Pipestone features a trip back in time to when Native Americans quarried pipestone for the making of ceremonial pipes.
The destination offers a visitor center, museum, orientation film, exhibits, gift shop, pipestone carving demonstrations by American Indians, a ¾ mile walking trail along Pipestone Creek, Winnewissa Falls, and the tall grass prairie. Free admission.
Explore the Minneapolis Institute of Art
The Minneapolis Institute of Art is regularly ranked among the ten best art museums in the U.S. -- featuring more than 90,000 works of art. The museum is open Thursdays through Sundays from 10:00 am through 5:00 pm. And yes, admission is free.
Get Artsy at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
Since opening in 1988, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden has seen millions of visitors, showcasing works from the Walker Art Center’s renowned collections of modern and contemporary art in the setting of an urban park. The Garden is a partnership between the Walker and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board.
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is home to more than 40 outdoor sculptures. There Garden is open every day from 6:00 am to Midnight, and admission is free.
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