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Free Stuff to Do Around Twin Cities?

My husband just got laid off and I am afraid it is going to be a long winter with a 3 1/2 yr old a 2 yr old and a new baby due in March. Does anyone have any great free or cheep things to do around town? I will add that Marcus theater in Oakdale has frosty flicks on Saturdays at 10 am or so, tickets 2.50, for all ages and that includes a popcorn.

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Hi J.! Don't I know what that is like! My kids are 3 and 4 (boy and girl) and I always try to find things for them to do. I live in Shoreview and here are some of the things I try to do to get the kids out.
1)Take them to the play area at Rosedale Mall by JC Penney so they can run off energy and I can chill.
2)St. Paul Children's Museum is free of charge for children from baby and up the THIRD Sunday of every month. You can check out details on their website.
3)Our library in Roseville has story time in the morning during the week and on Saturdays and my kids LOVE it. They even have a headset where the kids can listen to a story on the computer.
4)Home Depot Craft day: Simple FREE crafts. The Home Depot in Maplewood, MN off Hwy 36 and White Bear Ave has this on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month from 9 to noon. Great for both kids...but better for the 3 1/2 year old. My kids made a wooden fire truck and a helicopter. They also have book ends you can make etc. They come with easy instructions that anyone who can pound a nail can do. (Great activities for dads especially!)

Hope that helps!

The American Swedish Institute in Mpls is free one day a month. Check their website, but it's something like the first Thursday of the month. The Walker Art Museum--this would be for you and your husband, not the kids--is free every Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to close (8:00 or 9:00 p.m.). The Art Institute is *always* free for all ages. (Some exhibits require an admission fee, but they are few and far between.)

I echo the recommendation to make good use of the library system. Merriam Park library has a *great* kids' area. We are always checking out videos and books at the library, and we go to storytime.

I don't know where in St. Paul you are, but there are two West 7th Community Centers, and they have different things going on in the mornings and early afternoons during the weekdays. One day is a folk singer, another is a science type project, another is art. They have a donation box, but it is free.

I wish you the best for your husband's employment. Here are a few things that immediately came to mind:

•Mall of America has Toddler Tuesdays at 10am with a character, then visit LeGO land and run through the play land without riding the rides or maybe do the 50 cents rides

•Como Zoo is free (suggested donation of $2 or so), but you can run and look at animals

•Eden Prairie mall (I hear, but never been) has a toddler play area in their mall

Great post--I think we can all use free or cheap places to go with our little ones!! Every 3rd Sunday is free at the Children's Museum in downtown St. Paul. Also, if you go to your local public library, ask about the free passes. Each library has a certain number of free passes to local zoos, museums, etc. They go quickly, so ask someone at the library for when the best time is to pick them up. Depending on where you live, you can use the local community centers for free. They usually have fun activities on different days of the week that are free. For example, I live in the Como area, and the rec center located on Dale St./ Arlington Ave has Tot Time on Mon and Wed mornings for little ones. They set up all kinds of mats, climbing structures, etc. for the kids to run around with. The local malls have fun play areas that are free to use--we usually go to the Roseville and Maplewood malls. One last free place is IKEA. We have a 20 month old boy, and he absolutely LOVED looking and running from room to room. They also have a little area near the kids' furniture with some toys set out to play with. And, their cafeteria serves organic kid's meals that are so cheap--like $2.99. We recently went to the Eagle's Nest indoor play area in New Brighton---it wasn't free, but it was $5 per kid. You can take your own lunch along, as they have tables and chairs, and you could definitely spend a morning or afternoon there. I'm anxious to see what others respond, b/c we're always looking for fun/cheap stuff to do! Take care!

Here are a few more ideas to add to the already great list :)
Toddler Tuesday at the Mall of America
Play area at Eden Prairie Mall
Como zoo
This is also a good webiste for ideas...

i hear you! go to www.gocitykids.com. it lists all events free and some with a fee for every day of the week! it's been really helpful for us...good luck!

The libraries have something called a museum pass. Stop in and ask about it. It is a great way to get free admission to many local museums and zoos.

Get on the mailing list for Choo Choo Bob's Train Store in St. Paul. They have free movies and story times.

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