After the excitement of school being out for the summer wears off, there is that realization that there is not enough for the kids to do without spending a lot of money. The option to grab a picnic lunch and head out to the park is always there, but can get old after awhile. In Minnesota, there is a wide variety of places that offer free activities and ideas to keep the kids entertained. Look up any of these ongoing events or hop in the car to travel out to a great activity that the entire family will enjoy. Remember, when the kids are entertained, your summer becomes a whole lot better.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Como Zoo
1225 Estabrook Drive
St. Paul, MN 55103
(651) 487-8201
www.comozooconservatory.org

A small zoo located in St. Paul, the Como Zoo offers free admission for a day of exploring, touring, and enjoying being out in the sun. Although not as populated as larger zoos, the Como Zoo does house all of your favorite animals, including Sparky the sea lion, who performs a free show during the day for all those that wish to enjoy his antics. Tour the reptile house, watch the monkeys, or just get some energy out walking around. Adjacent to the zoo is Como Park, a tiny area of rides and games you can participate in for a fee, but entrance to the park is gratis. Raining out? Check out the Marjory McNeely Conservatory, a large indoor greenhouse with hundreds of different flora to enjoy.

Free Family Flicks
Theaters At Mall Of America
401 S. Ave.
Bloomington, MN 55425
(952) 883-8901
www.theatresmoa.com

Free movies? Sounds perfect for the rainy days or hot and humid times that the summer brings. Each Saturday morning at the movie theater on the fourth floor of the Mall of America, a free kids movie is played to help get everyone out of the house for some weekend fun. The show starts at 10 a.m. – leaving you plenty of time to walk the mall or head to the park after the flick. Check the website to see which movies are planned to be screened and come early – seating is on a first-come, first-served basis and fills up fast.

(credit: Andy Swarbrick)

(credit: Andy Swarbrick)

Minneapolis Aquatennial
Downtown Minneapolis
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 376-7669
www.aquatennial.com

A tradition in Minneapolis, the Aquatennial is a celebration of summer and community. Free to all, this four-day event takes place from July 22 to the 25, 2015 and offers daily activities and entertainment the entire family will enjoy. The celebration kicks off with the Torchlight Parade, featuring music, dancing, costumes, and floats from local businesses and organizations. Other events include a waterskiing show on the Mississippi, fireworks over the river, and a 5K. Loring Park is included to host a family fun night during the festivities as well.

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Saturday Puppet Shows At Calhoun Square
3001 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 824-1240
www.hobt.org

In The Heart Of The Beast, a community organization dedicated to bringing the art of puppetry to the area, will be hosting a free and fun puppet show every Saturday morning this summer at Calhoun Square. After the show, children will have the opportunity to create puppets of their own and participate in their own show. Each Saturday offers a different show in the atrium of Calhoun Square. Enjoy entertainment and creativity this summer.

(credit: Lake Harriet)

(credit: Lake Harriet)

Kid Fest
Lake Harriet Bandshell
4135 W. Lake Harriet Parkway
Minneapolis, MN 55419
(612) 825-9205
www.minnesotaparent.com

On June 20, 2015, Minnesota Parent Magazine will be sponsoring a fun and free event to help engage and inform families of all the activities and opportunities Minnesota has to offer. Party with free entertainment and bands, participate in activities for the family, enjoy freebies and face painting, and let the kids enjoy exercise and yoga from a local studio. The best part is that many vendors and organizations will be on hand to share other options and activities for kids during the summer.

Related: Best Kids Art Classes In Minnesota

Andrea Wodele is a freelance writer who has lived in the Twin Cities for the last 10 years. Her hobbies include exercising, driving kids around, watching Minnesota sports, and reading self-help literature. Examiner.com.

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