Alex’s Camp Awesome 2012

Every summer we host Camp Awesome at our house for Adam’s younger siblings. When we first moved to Minneapolis, Adam’s younger brother Alex wanted to come visit; we wanted to make sure he had a good time doing things he was interested in. And so Camp Awesome was created. Now we have Camp Awesome for both Alex and Azure, Adam’s youngest sister.

Camp Awesome comes with all the typical camp material including a welcome letter, camper survey, permission form and packing list that is mailed a few weeks before coming to camp. We also include a list of activities to choose to do while at Camp Awesome. They range from learning a new dance to making camp t-shirts to outings to one of the museums. We also included silly options like sleeping in past 6am and changing light bulbs. (This is how we try to make it special for our “campers”. They get to choose the activities we do so it’s up to them to make their time be as fun as possible.)

Alex came to Camp Awesome this year right after the 4th of July holiday.  Minneapolis was in the midst of a heatwave so a lot of our activities were chosen with a focus of keeping cool.


Day 1

The only required activity at Camp Awesome is to spend time reading a good book at Caribou Coffee. We launched Camp Awesome for Alex heading to our local Caribou, ordering some drinks and sandwiches, and enjoying a good book.

We were intending to go to Rusty Quarters Vintage Arcade in the afternoon, but due to a malfunction with their air conditioning unit, the arcade was closed. Instead we took Alex to a local bubble tea shop. Alex found he enjoyed the tea portion of the drink, but was convinced we were trying to poison him with the tapioca pearls.

To beat the heat, we went to see Moonrise Kingdom in Uptown. It’s very much a Wes Anderson movie, and wonderfully adorable.

We spent the evening at Barnes and Noble and Target getting top secret supplies for a project Alex was working on, and playing with Lego while watching episodes of Archer.

Day 2

The heat and humidity, along with a decent amount of rain, produced beautiful summer fruit crops in the Twin Cities. We made the early morning journey to a berry farm to pick blueberries. This was a new experience for all of us. The bushes were so full that we had picked over 5 pounds of berries from only 2 bushes!

Following berry picking, we grabbed some lunch and then went to the Waterpark of America for the day. We spent time relaxing on the lazy river, swimming in the wave pool, racing on the tube and body slides, getting soaked on the family raft slide, and practicing new tricks on the wave rider. (I avoided the wave rider for fear of losing my swimsuit…again.)


After we had our fill of the water we stopped at Mall of America where we did some browsing and mall walking, and grabbed a snack.

We had dinner in Uptown at our all-time favorite pizza place, Galactic Pizza. They have great pizza and do amazing things for the community as well.

Day 3

One of Alex’s favorite Twin Cities destinations (and ours too) is the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul. The museum is currently hosting the Real Pirates exhibit. Adam and I had already seen the exhibit, but it’s always nice to go through again and see what you missed the first time.

The Big Back Yard at the museum is always a hit with the water table, and panning for gems and fossils. You can play in the sand of the water table and see how it affects the landscape with the formation and disappearance of various landforms. We really got lucky with our gem finds this time around. We found quite a variety of gems, and lots of bigger ones.


In the evening we returned to Rusty Quarters Vintage Arcade to play some video games. I’m so glad Minneapolis is able to support an arcade like this. It’s so much fun to stop in and play a few games every so often.

We ended Camp Awesome with a bang by taking Alex out to improv. We saw the super-trio Splendid Things at HUGE Theater. HUGE is Minneapolis’ only long-form improv theater and is completely volunteer-run. The shows are amazing and admission is insanely cheap. It has become our place to hangout at least 2 nights a week.

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