Stay home or get out, carefully

Here are a few ideas to help you pass the time as you wait it out at home.

Visit virtually: Social distancing doesn’t have to mean loneliness. Take full advantage of video-chat technology to communicate often with friends and family. Don’t worry if your hair isn’t pretty. Connecting is more important than being impressive right now. At the very least, keep in touch by increasing phone calls, texts and emails to family and friends, who are also hungry for interaction!

Seek help: If you feel overwhelmed by what’s happening or if you’re suffering from anxiety, isolation or depression, call the national Disaster Distress Helpline 800-985-5990 (open 24 hours a day).

Catch up on the classics: Instead of idly flipping through TV, make your couch time a cultural event. Scan through a list of history’s greatest American movies — according to the American Film Institute. Take note of the ones you haven’t seen and look for streaming versions on Netflix, Amazon Prime or even YouTube.

Go international: If you’re interested in world cinema, check out the list from the British Film Institute. To see many of these you’ll have to stray beyond streaming services: True cinephiles will find a subscription to well worth it.

Turn on local radio: Jazz88 (88.5FM) and The Current (89.3FM) feature live broadcasters, sending comforting messages of hope, plus uplifting music (versus the latest COVID-19 analysis). Whether you stream these stations online or turn on an actual radio, it’s lovely to have a live local voice filling the house.

Listening care package: The On Being Project — a Minneapolis-based, nation- ally renowned podcast and radio show — has compiled A Listening Care Package for Uncertain Times, including podcasts and poetry to help folks process the pandemic. We promise you’ll enjoy the soothing voice (and gentle soul) of host/ founder Krista Tippett.

Catch some Baseball: Disappointed about the delay to the baseball season? You can at least watch six ballgames’ worth (that’s 18 hours) of Ken Burns’ Baseball documentary for free. It’s avail- able on and on many streaming services.

Check out ebooks: You may not be able to visit your library, but you can check out some of the thousands of ebooks ready for download. In Hennepin County and St. Paul you can gain access through an app called Libby; the Ramsey and Dakota County systems use cloudLibrary; Anoka County Library offers its own app.

Until next month: Hang in there!

Have an event coming up? Submit calendar events six weeks in advance to Photos welcome!

Looking for something to do with the grandkids? Check out the interactive calendar from our sister publication, Minnesota Parent!

Como Zoo and Conservatory


Marjorie McNeely Conservatory

Como Zoo remains closed, but the attached conservatory is open as a one-way walking path beginning at the Japanese Garden gate. Reserva- tions are required and face masks are mandatory.

When: Ongoing

Where: Como Park, St. Paul

Cost: FREE; online reservations are required.


Landmark Center St. Paul

Through Sept. 30

Better Angels Outdoor Art Installation

Several hundred pinwheels in shades of blue and white, re-engineered to resemble angel wings, have been strung on horizontal steel wires for movement in the wind. Visitors can enter the arched structure, which creates a “cloud tunnel,” to experience the moving wings.

When: Through Sept. 30

Where: Landmark Plaza, St. Paul

Cost: FREE


Big Red Barn Sale

July 18

Big Red Barn Sale

More than 30 artisans, crafters and vintage sellers — plus a band playing country and 1950s rock music — will be at outdoor and well-ventilated indoor environments. Shoppers will need to wear masks and observe social distancing.

When: July 18

Where: Bruentrup Heritage Farm, Maplewood

Cost: FREE, but registrations are required and visits are limited to one hour.


Fantastic Fungi

July 18

Film @ Franconia: Fantastic Fungi

The latest in a new monthly series of out- door films, Fantastic Fungi is a descriptive time-lapse look at mushrooms and other fungi. The art of Franconia Sculpture Park is also open to visitors. Masks are mandatory and social distancing is encouraged.

When: 9 p.m. July 18

Where: Franconia Sculpture Park, Shafer

Cost: Parking is $5 per car; the film and sculpture park are free. Registration is required.