Kidding Around Logo


Kidding Around

Parenting in the Twin Cities.

Summer bucket list for families: Minneapolis Aquatennial Parade

The "best days of summer," aka The Minneapolis Aquatennial, is here! But of all the crazy fun events happening, the parade is our favorite.

Nine years ago a friend invited us to go to the parade so we went with two young kids and a 2-month old. It's been a tradition ever since. We are there every single year. Rain, sunshine, weather advisory heat. It doesn't matter because we are there.

The parade starts at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday night [July 22] and runs about 2 hours. Yes, this means your kids will be outside on Hennepin Avenue after dark. After bedtime.

They'll get dirty and they'll be so tired they'll likely pass out in the car and the next morning you'll not only have to scrub them clean but clean out the contents of your car which will surely be full of stickers and candy and glow sticks and everything else that is handed out at the parade.


It is worth it. {And really nothing a good bath and a quick cleaning of the car can't handle!}

It is one of our favorite summer traditions and though yes it's a parade, what I enjoy about it is so much more than the parade.

It's the up-past-bedtime, ice cream treats and glowing, twinkling lights. It feels like something special and magical that breaks all the parenting rules and is so fun. Those are the memories I want my kids to remember amidst the long days, the battles, the times they think I am no fun at all. I want them to remember that when they were little, they stayed up way too late and stood watching marching bands and lighted floats pass by on Hennepin Avenue. I want them to remember that we let them choose whatever ice cream treat they wanted and that we let them eat it as it melted all over their little hands and that they were so deliriously tired by the end that they could barely walk to the car afterwards. That is why Wednesday night matters to me and why I'll keep my kids out til nearly midnight when all is said and done. 

The Minneapolis Aquantennial Torchlight Parade takes place Wednesday, July 22 at 8:30 p.m. on Hennepin Avenue from Dunwoody to 5th Street

Do you have plans to attend the Torchlight Parade Wednesday night?

Family outings for summer: Day tripping to the Nisswa Turtle Races

Growing up in Minnesota, it wasn't uncommon to spend some summer time in Brainerd and Nisswa and one of my favorite parts was always the Nisswa Turtle Races.

Several years back, a friend and I reminisced about how fun that was as children and that while neither of had plans to be in Nisswa, we'd love for our kids to enjoy that too.

So, we did what some call crazy, some call adventure. Loaded up our kids {at the time, six between us} and drove to Nisswa for the day. Really.


If your kids are decent road trippers you can totally make a day trip out of it. We grab coffees and load up our electronic devices for our kids and drive.

Some years we'll pack lunches and stop at the rest area just outside of Brainerd, other days we'll grab lunch in town and picnic at the park.


Race registration begins right in the middle of Nisswa at 1 p.m. and races start at 2 p.m. We'll race our turtles, something that takes just minutes when all is said and done. 


And then we'll take a walk through the town and stop in The Chocolate Ox for ice cream before we begin the trek home.

One could stay later and do more exploring in Nisswa if so desired. There's the train and the park trails and even a little old school house to explore.

You can make it as much of a day as you'd like once you're there. 

If you go:

Nisswa Turtle Races take place every Wednesday at 2 p.m in downtown Nisswa. Registration begins at 1 p.m. The earlier you register the sooner your turtle races.

Turtle races are $4/person and you get a commemorative button to bring home.

The Chocolate Ox is located just down the way and sells ice cream and all sorts of good treats. It's a must stop.

Latest Columns