Bored Already? Here’s a List of Fun Summer Things To Do in the Valley and Beyond

Are the kids already complaining?  Banish summer ennui with events and activities found locally in the St. Croix Valley, around the Twin Cities and across the river in Wisconsin.

A myriad of opportunities fill bulletin boards like this one at the Daily Grind in downtown Stillwater. (Photo by Stephani Atkins)

A myriad of opportunities fill bulletin boards like this one at the Daily Grind in downtown Stillwater. (Photo by Stephani Atkins)

Here’s a list of events happening this summer:

Treat yourself to The Sound of Music and enjoy local thespians young and old as Stillwater Community Theater presents a Rodgers and Hammerstein classic. Performances on July 9, 10, 11 and 12 at Stillwater Area High School promise to please. (www.stillwater.k12.mn.us/community-education/community-theatre)

Creative writing is play and imagination becomes real at the Shire Literary Center for Youth. Opening this summer in the classroom space of ArtReach St. Croix, the Shire provides a safe place for students ages 9 to 15 to challenge themselves, spark their imaginations, and learn about the art of storytelling. Sign your student up to create comics, express profundities through poetry, or write a novel in a month. (www.theshireonline.org)

Make sure to ink on the calendar Stillwater’s Old Fashioned Ice-Cream Social and Talent Show taking place at the Stillwater Historical Courthouse on Thursday, July 16 at 6 p.m.  Come as early as 4:30 p.m. to take advantage of the children’s activities, root beer floats, petting zoo, penny candy and food offered at the event. The talent show kicks off the Log Jam Summer Festival which runs from July 17-19 and features live concerts, fireworks, parade, and competitions on the river. (http://stillwaterlogjam.com/)

Need an adrenaline fix? Visit Trollhaugen’s Adventure Park and zipline across their aerial challenge course or play on a giant, floating playground.  This outdoor recreation area located in Dresser, Wisconsin, boasts of “over 3000 feet of zip fun up to 35 mph and 50 feet+ high.” (http://www.trollhaugen.com/aerial_adventure_park.php)

Reach out to those around you while being well fed. Become involved in “Our Community Kitchen.” Hosted by Ascension Episcopal Church, Our Community Kitchen “cultivates an inclusive community participating in the process of growing, preparing, eating and preserving food in order to adopt a healthy lifestyle.” A donation based breakfast every Tuesday and Thursday morning at Ascension nurtures a sense of belonging, cares for those in need, and fills the stomachs of all with delicious, wholesome food. (www.ourcommunitykitchen.org)

Fun, music and ice cream are available to kids every Wednesday night from June 17 to August 5th at People’s Congregational Church in Bayport. (peoplescongregational.org)

Go back in time and watch a movie the good ol’ fashioned way – at the drive-in theater. Vali Hi shows the latest and greatest features each night at dusk. Once upon a time, before the advent of light pollution, the Northern Lights occasionally entertained beyond the screen. No promises anymore, but maybe nature will join the show.  (www.valihi.com)

Travel back in time even further and take an antique train ride at William O’Brien State Park on July 5th.  A naturalist and train conductor lead participants on a mile hike to the tracks and share the history of the St. Croix Valley during the ride. The train stops for lunch at Osceola and turns around at Dresser, Wisconsin to return back to the park. (http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/calendar/app?jsp=/templates/event.jsp&id=42977)

Costumes, music, dialogue and feats of prowess all happen on skis on what the Twin Cities River Rats calls “aquatic ballet.” Water skiing shows include swivel skiing, strap doubles, free style jumping and human pyramids. The Twin Cities River Rats performs every Thursday night at 7:00 at the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, 1758 West River Road N in Minneapolis. (www.tcriverrats.com)

Play a round of mini golf at the Walker’s Sculpture Garden (http://www.walkerart.org/calendar/2014/walker-green-artist-designed-mini-golf) and then have a repeat match at the Science Museum of Minnesota’s Big Back  Yard which includes its nine-hole EarthScapes golf course . (http://www.smm.org/bigbackyard/minigolf)

Still looking for things to do? Road trip two hours or less on a Tuesday evening to A to Z Produce and Bakery’s farm in Stolkholm, Wisconsin. Buy a pizza hot out of the brick oven, picnic in the fields, explore this production farm and check out the animals.  (www.atozproduceandbakery.com/pizza-night)

And of course, Stillwater’s very own Summer Tuesdays promise week after week of engagement.  For 13 years, Summer Tuesday’s have “celebrated family fun” in downtown Stillwater’s Lowell Park from 5 pm until the movie finishes after dusk.  On Tuesday evenings in the summer, free music plays, performers entertain and vendors sell food and market goodies. (www.summertuesdays.com)

Still scratching your head on how to fill your summer? Check out these websites for help:

Twin Cities’ free outdoor summer movie calendar: http://www.thrillist.com/events/minneapolis/twin-cities-outdoor-movie-calendar-2015-free-summer-film-screenings-twin-cities

And,

A list of 100 free things to do in the Twin Cities:

http://minneapolis.about.com/od/eventsfestivals/a/100-Free-Things-To-Do-In-Minneapolis-And-St-Paul.htm

The Shire is a collaborative effort in the St. Croix Valley to build a dynamic and vibrant literary community for youth. For more information about the Shire, contact Stephani Halleen Atkins at 651-351-0804 or stephani@atkins.net.

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