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15 Fun Summer Activities For Kids In and Near Shakopee
Memorial Day signifies the unofficial start of summer in Minnesota. The Shakopee area is a true summer destination for people to enjoy, with many activities and events perfect for families. With great attractions like Valleyfair, Canterbury Park, Minnesota Renaissance Festival, and more, there is so much to do that you will need to stay an extra day.
The largest amusement park in the Upper-Midwest has over 75 rides and attractions for people of all ages to enjoy. Older kids will enjoy the amazing thrill rides, including: Renegade, Steel Venom, Wild Thing, and Power Tower. For younger kids, Valleyfair has Planet Snoopy for them to have a great day at the park. In Planet Snoopy, kids and their parents can enjoy fun rides such as Cosmic Coaster, Flying Ace Balloon Race, Peanuts 500, and Lucy’s Tugboat.
There is also great entertainment happening throughout the summer. The All Wheels Extreme show takes place July 1 – September 4 in the amphitheater. Come and see talented bikers, skaters, and gymnasts from all over the country as they perform amazing stunts. Peanuts characters also have live performances at the Peanuts Playhouse for the kids to enjoy.
New for 2017: North Star is the only ride of its kind in the upper Midwest. Riders spin 20 stories above the ground at speeds over 40mph! See the 360 video to see what it is like to be on this thrill ride. Riders must be 44 inches tall to ride.
2) Canterbury Park
Canterbury Park does a great job of being one of the few family-friendly horse racing tracks in the country. They have great amenities, promotions, and entertainment for people of all ages. You can bring your younger children out for an evening of racing on Buck Night, which is every Thursday from June 8 through August 24. Enjoy dollar hot dogs and soda, while watching the beautiful thoroughbreds race around the track. Or, come out Sundays for Pepsi Family Days at the track and enjoy a day of outdoor fun in a family-friendly atmosphere. Canterbury Park also has a long list of promotions and special events happening throughout the year. Bring your kids to see the Belmont Block Party on June 10, the Fireworks Show on July 3, Wiener & Corgi Dog warmup races and free hotdogs on the Fourth of July, Extreme Race Day with ostrich, camel, and zebra races on July 16, or the Corgi Dog Races and Cupcake Festival on July 29.
3) Minnesota Renaissance Festival
Beginning August 19, the past comes alive at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. Bring your family to this living history event and enjoy some of the family friendly entertainment that helps make this one of the largest renaissance festivals in the nation. Kids can venture into the magical Fairy Wing Forest to see the fairies and pixies that call this forest their home. Or, they can check out the enchanting Mermaid Cove and watch as mermaids dive, twirl, and swim majestically through the water.
Other fun, kid and family-friendly activities to enjoy at the Festival include the Children’s Costume Contest, Grand March Parade, Free Fairy Wand Making, Games and Rides, Jousting, Petting Zoo, Sheep Herding, and more.
Soak City Waterpark, included with your admission to Valleyfair, is a great place for all ages to enjoy a day soaking and relaxing under the warm Minnesota sun. Older kids can enjoy some of the largest side-by-side drop slides in the world at Breakers Pipeline, or feel the exhilaration of being dropped from a platform at Breakers Plunge. Younger kids can enjoy great attractions in Soak City like Breakers Bay Wave Pool, Giggle Run, and the Ripple Rapids.
Soak City opens on May 27.
SandVenture Aquatic Park has a unique, chlorinated pool modeled after Shakopee area lakes and offers a sand beach leading out to a sand-bottom. People will enjoy the park’s 300-foot water slide; two, 12-foot drop slides; and a diving board. There is also a picnic area for families to enjoy, or relax, as the kids build sand castles along the sand beach.
SandVenture is tentatively scheduled to open June 5.
5) Kangaroos at the Minnesota Zoo
This summer, come see a special Australian-themed exhibit at the Minnesota Zoo. Kangaroo Crossing offers an up-close look at the outback by featuring red kangaroos, wallabies, and emus. People have the option of walking the trail through the exhibit and having an up-close-and-personal experience with these wonderful animals.
The exhibit will be open daily from May 27 through Labor Day, with bonus weekend opportunities through October 15.
6) Spend a Day at Mall of America®
About 20 minutes from Shakopee is North America’s largest retail and entertainment complex, Mall of America. This attraction mecca holds more than 520 stores, 50 restaurants, world-class attractions and events, and more! Nickelodeon Universe®, located in the center of MOA®, features seven acres of fun including 28 terrific rides, entertainment, and more!
7) Rhythm on the Rails
A new music experience in Downtown Shakopee. Rhythm on the Rails is a FREE, five week outdoor concert series taking place every Wednesday night from 6-10 pm on Lewis Street in Downtown Shakopee. The series begins on July 19 and runs through August 16. This concert series will feature live music from regional headliners, family fun activities, food & brew vendors, and much more!
The kids zone will be the perfect spot for kids to have a great time while parents enjoy the great music from acts including Chris Hawkey, Martin Zellar, and more! There will be inflatables, face-painting, and other great kid activities.
Go to DowntownShakopee.org for more the music lineup and more information.
8) Scott County Fair
Dubbed the “Best 5 Days of Summer”, the Scott County Fair has been a favorite summer attraction near Shakopee since the early 1900s. The Scott County Fair features live acts, farm animals, a great midway with carnival rides and traditional fair food, and more.
The Grandstand features some great entertainment including the NTPA Tractor Pull, Motokazie Motocross, and Demo Derby. Fairgoers can also enjoy fun events like the Draft Horse Shows, Miracle of Birth Center, Blue Grass Festival, Strongman Competition, and vendors with all sorts of fun activities.
The Scott County Fair runs July 26 – 30 at the fairgrounds in Jordan, MN.
9) The Great Midwest Rib Fest
Located outdoors at Mystic Lake Casino, this free outdoor, family-friendly event showcases the nation’s top rib cookers as they compete for thousands of dollars in prices and bragging rights. Other activities people can enjoy at this event include The Great Midwest Art Fest, free outdoor music, and after-parties on Friday and Saturday night. Some of the performers for 2017 include The Romantics, Lonestar and Ann Wilson of Heart.
10) Themed Living History Events at The Landing
Bring your kids out to The Landing, located along the Minnesota River, to see what life was like for early Minnesota settlers. During the summer, the past comes alive during The Landing’s Themed Living History Events . Come out and see costumed interpreters, interactive demonstrations, scheduled tours, hands-on activities, and more. From meeting Civil War veterans on Memorial Day Weekend, to experiencing reenactments of popular western legends during Wild West Weekend, The Landing makes history fun for the whole family!
11) Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store
Located minutes south of Shakopee on Hwy 169 is Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store. This unmistakable yellow attraction cannot be missed, as drivers going toward the barn will start seeing a yellow picket fence as it is approaching. Inside the barn, you’ll fine more than you can imagine. There are all types of licorice and taffy varieties to choose from, types of candy difficult to find anywhere else, candy you thought no longer existed, bacon flavored candy, international candy brands, and so much more.
In addition to all the candy there are great apple wood smoked meats, a wide variety of unique sodas, salsas, and popcorn. Also, once you arrive, you will smell the delicious, fresh pies and pastries made daily at this fun attraction.
Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store is a seasonal destination, open now through late-October. See the video below on the new expansion to the Candy Barn for 2017.
12) Rock and Rockets
Looking for fun events for the family over the Fourth of July holiday? Come out to Mystic Lake Casino and celebrate our nation’s independence at the Rock and Rockets event. This summer holiday bash is a free, all-ages event which includes live music, food trucks, and a musically-choreographed fireworks show.
13) Shockwaves Water Ski Events
Beginning in mid-June, and running most Thursday evenings throughout the summer, come and see a fun, free water ski show put on by the Shakopee – Prior Lake Water Ski Association (Shockwaves). See the Shockwaves do a 90-minute production featuring water-ski stunts incorporated with music. Skiers will do everything from on-shore dance routines to high-flying jumps and pyramids. Three towboats are utilized throughout the production so there is never a dull moment during the show.
The shows take place at Quarry Lake in Shakopee.
14) Wacipi Pow Wow
The Wacipi is a celebration of life where Native Americans gather for a cultural and social celebration of dancing, singing and visiting. This a time to gather, share, reflect and thank the creator.
This event welcomes visitors to come and enjoy the multitude of colors, sights, and sounds of this annual tradition. Hear the inspiring rhythm of drum groups to Native American dancers in full regalia, as they invite you to experience their culture.
2017 Wacipi takes place August 18-20.
15) Enjoy Nature and the Outdoors
Located along the Minnesota River, the Shakopee area has an abundance of outdoor activities in nature. Bring your kids to the Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area and enjoy activities like cycling along the many miles of paved trails, hiking, horseback riding, bird watching and more.
Or, head over the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska and walk through the largest public garden in the Upper-Midwest. Families can learn about plant life in the Marion Andrus Learning Center, or get lost in the Maze Garden.
There are also many wonderful campgrounds which adorn the landscape of the Minnesota River Valley region. Come and enjoy a night under the stars at campgrounds such as Fish Lake Acres, Carver Park, Dakotah Meadows, Town & Country, MN Valley State Recreation Area, Cleary Lake, Minneapolis Southwest KOA, and the Cedar Lake Farm Regional Park.
Please go to VisitShakopee.org for more information on all the things to do in Shakopee.