By Cortney Mohnk
As the days of summer dwindle, take advantage of the last remaining moments of sunny skies and warm temperatures. Minnesota summers are precious. It can be hard to pack in all the outdoor activities you want to before the weather turns chilly. For some ideas on those last-minute must-dos for the family, read on.
Kangaroo Crossing & Butterfly Garden
1300 Zoo Blvd.
Apple Valley, MN 55124
Date: Daily through Sept, 4, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Minnesota Zoo brings a bit of the Outback to our state with their summer attraction, Kangaroo Crossing. Experience the red kangaroo during a walkabout or encounter other Aussie animals like the kookaburras, cockatoos, emus and wallabies. Also on display for the summer season is the North American Butterfly Garden. Your family can be among hundreds of beautiful butterflies of 40 different species, as well as learn from the interactive butterfly life cycle exhibit.
1 Valleyfair Drive
Shakopee, MN 55379
Date: Through Sept. 4, 2017 at 11 a.m.
While the warm days of summer are still upon us, take in Soak City’s many water slides and pools for fun in the sun. The little kiddos will love the splash pads and fountains at Barefoot Beach. The bigger kids will dart over to Panic Falls Speed Slides and Breakers Plunge. Grab some tubes for the Raging Rapids or Ripple Rapids. One is whitewater and waterfalls; the other is calm and gentle. When it’s time to relax, nothing beats a cabana poolside to enjoy a snack.
Movies In The Park
Fergus Falls Roosevelt Park
Randolph Avenue and N. Burlington Avenue
Fergus Falls, MN 56537
Date: Thursday nights through Aug. 24, 2017 at 9 p.m.
Your family can catch a free movie in the park on Thursday nights through the rest of the summer in Fergus Falls’ Roosevelt Park. Check out “Finding Dory” on Aug. 3, “UP” on Aug. 10, “Guardians of the Galaxy” on Aug. 17 and “Hook” on Aug. 24. All movies last about 90 minutes. Get there early to enjoy A Center for the Arts Concert in the Park before the movie.
Related: Best Minnesota Mountain Biking Spots
Minnesota State Fair
1265 Snelling Ave. N.
St. Paul, MN 55108
Date: Aug. 24 through Sept. 4, 2017 from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m.
The state fair is on the do-not-miss list for those who want to eat, people watch, and eat some more. New foods for 2017 include cranberry wild rice meatballs, deep-fried avocados, and sweet corn blueberry eclairs. In between meals, check out Grandstand entertainment like Stevie Nicks or Jim Gaffigan. Other spots to hit are the Mighty Midway for rides and games, animal exhibits like the CHS Miracle of Birth barn where you can hold baby farm animals, and the Giant Sing Along for budding songbirds.
9500 Spirit Mountain Place
Duluth, MN 55810
Date: Through Sept. 4, 2017
Adventure Park is a scenic spot to spend a fun-filled day with the family before ski season kicks in at this popular snow sport location. Overlook Lake Superior and Duluth as you race along a 3,200-foot alpine coaster track at 26 mph. Thrill seekers can also try the zip line which soars above the trees. Chairlift rides give you the same view but at a tamer pace. Other activities include disc golf, mini golf and a jumping pillow.