Twin Cities River Rats

Twin Cities River Rats

Monday, July 21

Those of us who are not true tennis fans probably associate the same thing with tennis matches: The trademark grunts of competitors as they put every ounce of their might into each shot. I don't know about you, but the only time I expend that level of effort is when I'm getting out of bed in the morning. I could probably count the number of times I've watched tennis on one hand, and I've never seen it live, so I think we'll take advantage of the free Aquatennial Tennis Classic taking place downtown this week. Matches are held daily from 9 am to 5 pm, and it sounds like you can just drop in whenever you'd like. A few other Aquatennial highlights include free admission to the Bakken Museum all week, a River Rats water ski show and Torchlight Parade on Wednesday, and the Global Smoothie Smackdown on Saturday. There probably won't be any grunting at the Smoothie Smackdown. Probably.

Tuesday, July 22

I wonder if ice cream trucks feel jealous. I mean, they were food trucks before food trucks were cool. Now it seems like there's a new, hot wagon opening up every other week. And it's not just food. There are vehicles offering camping gear, vinyl records, shoes and vintage wares popping up around the country. All while ice cream trucks continue to toil in anonymity. We're lucky to have another type of truck in the Twin Cities. Five days a week from 1-3 pm the Artmobile sets up shop at a St. Paul community center so local artists can share their ideas, skills and techniques with the community for free. And it's not just visual art. The themes for this week include dance and music composition along with mural making. So, while you can't get a Bomb Pop from the Artmobile, your experience will likely be da bomb. And it won't melt on your fingers.

Wildwood Amusement Park

Wildwood Amusement Park

Wednesday, July 23

At the turn of the 20th century the Twin Cities were home to one of the most extensive streetcar systems in the country. Not only did lines criss-cross the downtown areas, they also ran from Stillwater in the east to Excelsior in the west. The Twin City Rapid Transit Company was looking for ways to increase ridership on the weekends when they settled on the idea of building two amusement parks, one at either end of the line. The Big Island Amusement Park on Lake Minnetonka was the western installation, and Wildwood Amusement Park was constructed in the east on White Bear Lake. Like the streetcars themselves, both parks have long since disappeared. But you can "visit" Wildwood today for free during "Where Exactly Was Wildwood Amusement Park?" Beginning at 2 pm, you can view images and hear stories from the park's glory days. And if this experience captures your imagination, consider the Legends of Big Island cruise offered on weekends by Steamboat Minnehaha.

Thursday, July 24

"Old McDonald Had a Farm, EIEIO! And on that farm he had some bees, EIEIO!" The more I read about it, the more it sounds like bees belong in this song. After all, they do pollinate a considerable percentage of Earth's crops. I suppose that's why the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is throwing a Pollinator Party in their honor. Tonight from 5-8 pmĀ at Lyndale Park Gardens you can find ice cream made with honey, make a backyard bee hospital and meet the 2014 American Honey Princess. There will also be music, art and honey to sample at your leisure and, at dusk, Wings of Life will be screened in the gardens on the shores of Lake Harriet. Sounds as sweet as Tupelo honey to me.

Friday, July 25

When I hear "bird banding" I think of the Eagles, Counting Crows or Flock of Seagulls. But I'm pretty sure that's not what the Carpenter Nature Center has planned today for their Public Bird Banding event. Banding helps naturalists track how long birds live as well as their migration patterns and nesting areas. Today we get to observe as experts capture, band and release songbirds. The event takes place from 8:30 am to noon; please pre-register with Mayme Johnson at 651-437-4359, ext. 103. It's free, but they suggest a donation of sunflower bird seed or suet. Hopefully a "bird band" performs live as part of the schedule, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

Wildwood Amusement Park

Saturday, July 26

Today is Free Ink Day from 1-4 pm at Highpoint Center for Printmaking. No, you won't walk away with a sweet new tattoo, at least not a permanent one, but you might leave with a masterpiece! Highpoint staff walks you through the printmaking process, from design to template to ink on your way to a future family heirloom. Get their early - once the materials are gone, it's over. If you do arrive late, never fear! Open Eye Figure Theater will take a break from their own Ice Cream Social to perform The Amazing Cow Boat at 4:30 pm.

Sunday, July 27

Central Avenue NE plays host today to one of six Open Streets MPLS events planned for the summer. From 10 am to 4 pm the avenue transforms from bustling thoroughfare into neighborhood block party! I think one might have to experience Open Streets to get a feel for what it's all about, and we have yet to do that. But when "spontaneous play" is listed as a likely part of the day, I'm intrigued. Plus, Central Ave. is a Minneapolis hot spot for art, co-ops, and all things Hipster. If nothing else, we'll feel pretty cool hanging out there.

You can follow me on Twitter @AColdOmaha or search for #DailyAdventure for updates. Have fun out there!

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Daily Adventures: All-Star Activities, Minnesota History Center, Vikings Stadium Site, and Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

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Daily Adventures: Beatles Photo Archive, Paddleboard & Kayak Demo, Star Tribune Tour and Uptown Art Fair