Monday, July 15
We’ve just returned from a trip to Toronto and, contrary to what I’ve been told, Canada does not feel just like the US. For example, they have taken the plunge and eliminated the penny. Prices are simply rounded up or down to the nearest five cents, so now might be the time to start that Canadian penny collection you’ve been thinking about. Single dollars do not come in paper form, either. A dollar coin is nicknamed a “Loonie” after the loon that graces one side, and their two-dollar coin is therefore nicknamed a “Toonie.” You can save several Toonies at Cafesjian’s Carousel today because the rides, normally $2 each, are free! Once you dismount your steeds, Como Park is your oyster. The zoo is always free, and a mini golf course and new pool stand ready for your amusement. You might also consider visiting the nearby Humane Society for a little face time with the furries.
Tuesday, July 16
I maintain that Lego is the greatest toy ever invented. I spent countless hours imagining and creating everything from sea monsters to interplanetary landing modules. And that was just yesterday. Today you are invited to Lego Mania at the Linden Hills library from 1-4 pm. The library supplies the Lego; you supply the design + build expertise. Once you’ve created your masterpieces, explore the Linden Hills neighborhood. There’s a nice park nearby as well as chic shops and restaurants. Visit the Wild Rumpus Bookstore for a unique experience, and enjoy lunch or dinner at Tilia. It’s one of my favorites.
Wednesday, July 17
If my childhood memory is accurate, I learned what a bicentennial is in 1976 with Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom” playing in the background on my parents’ car radio. For the last 37 years, I have believed that song was about the US bicentennial. It’s not. Sir Elton recorded it for his friend, Billie Jean King, who was a member of the Philadelphia Freedoms tennis team. I kinda feel like I just found out about Pluto. One thing we can count on, however, is that the Minneapolis Aquatennial really is “The Best Days of Summer.” Today is jam-packed with free events. You can watch pro tennis downtown, visit the Bakken or Hennepin History Museums, or attend the pre--party and Torchlight Parade tonight.
Thursday, July 18
Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to tell your kids that you actually saw a real, living dinosaur? Tonight you have the chance to experience a living dinosaur of another sort – a drive-in theater. Minnesota has seen 87 drive-ins in its history; we’re now down to five. And only one theater remains in the Twin Cities metro area – Valley-Hi in Lake Elmo. A family of four can experience this endangered species of Americana for under $20. If you take advantage of the $1 hot dogs or the mini Harley in the arcade, it’ll run you a few dollars more, but it might be worth it to see a dinosaur.
Friday, July 19
There is something cool about a bow and arrow. I mean, technology has advanced well beyond this weapon, and yet it maintains its appeal with hunters and recreational archers alike. You don’t see knife or spear-throwing ranges around town, so what’s so special about the bow and arrow? You can find out for yourself today during “Archery in the Parks” at William O’Brien State Park from 1-3 pm. This is a free program, but you will need a vehicle permit ($5/day or $25/year) to enter the park. May the odds be ever in your favor.
Saturday, July 20
We don’t normally consider raves to be family-friendly, but this RAVE might change that. In this case, RAVE stands for River Action Volunteer Event. These events are part river adventure, part service project. Today you can join a National Park Ranger on a river raft to explore the Coon Rapids Dam, visit an island, and search for mussels. While you’re there, you’ll work to restore habitat near the dam and on the island that you visit. This free adventure takes place from 10 am to 3 pm, and you will need to register ahead of time. If rafting isn’t your thing, check out these other events offered by the National Park Service today.