Monday, July 8
It’s been said that power is intoxicating, and that may never be more true now that the Minnesota Legislature voted to allow beer and wine sales in the Capitol Cafeteria last May. Come walk the chambers where this and numerous other laws of the land saw their humble beginnings. Guided tours of our state capitol are offered hourly 10 am to 2 pm Monday-Saturday. The tours are free, but a donation of $5 per person is suggested. Watch Schoolhouse Rock’s “I’m Just a Bill” before you go, dress your child(ren) like Bill, and recreate some scenes from the video. It could be the next big YouTube sensation.
Tuesday, July 9
I had a stuffed Smokey the Bear when I was little. I loved that bear. Smokey’s outfit resembled a park ranger’s uniform, which I think explains my urge to hug rangers when I see them. It’s not an overwhelming urge, mind you. I’ve never actually hugged one. I just kinda want to. Today a ranger will read a story at the Mississippi River Visitor Center, located inside the lobby of the Science Museum of Minnesota. After story time, borrow one of their ipods and take the 3.5-mile walking tour along the river. The walk takes you across the river to Harriet Island, up the bluff for views of St. Paul, and back down across the Smith Avenue High Bridge into Uppertown. Don’t miss Irvine Park; it’s so peaceful you might want to hug the ranger, too, when you return the ipod. Just make sure to ask them first.
Wednesday, July 10
I am an alum of the University of Minnesota, and I’ve never set foot in the Weisman Art Museum. It’s almost criminal. The building itself is a work of art; what a piece of sheet metal might look like if Pablo Picasso got a hold of it. One of the current exhibits, titled “The Youth/Dhallinyarada,” features photos of 13 Somali men working to make a positive impact on our community. This and several other exhibits can be viewed for free any day except Mondays. If you’d prefer a free tour with one of the “Weisguides,” stop by any Saturday or Sunday at 1 pm.
Thursday, July 11
John Dillinger was a Depression-era Robin Hood. He stole from the rich and gave the poor someone to root for. As you can imagine, the banks he robbed were not the most popular institutions at the time. His gang even robbed four police stations! That’s the kind of crazy one can get behind. Dillinger and other gangsters liked to hang out in St. Paul because the police protected them from the Feds, as long as they committed their crimes outside the city limits. One of their favorite haunts was a place called Castle Royal, a nightclub hidden in the caves along the Mississippi River. Tour the caves tonight, or any Thursday, at 5 pm. Tickets are $6 each, cash only, and sales begin 10 minutes before the tour.
Friday, July 12
When was the last time you went to a matinee? I’m not sure why, but to me there’s something decadent about going to a movie in the middle of the day. I mean, they’re only for rainy days and date nights, right? Today let’s throw our inhibitions to the wind and go the movies! The Northeast Library will show a feature on the big screen today . . . well, on a big wall anyway, at 1 pm. I don’t know what they’re showing, there might not be popcorn, and you’ll probably need to sit on the floor but, hey, it’s free! And you’ll be spending an afternoon at the movies. It’ll be like eating the whole bag of Doritos in one sitting.
This is not cheap, and may not be entirely family-friendly, but it looks like tons of fun! The Midwest Tomato Fest is Saturday, July 13 from 2-7 pm. Your $22 admission brings you dancing, live music, and the opportunity to throw rotten tomatoes at each other. It’s also loaded with antioxidants.
This isn’t exceptionally cheap, either, but if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to curl (and who hasn’t?) you have your chance on Sunday, July 14 at the Four Seasons Curling Club. The two-hour lesson costs $10 per person and begins at 2 pm.