A Twin Cities Mom’s Guide to January 2018

There’s always something to do in the Twin Cities, and the winter months are no different! We’ve worked to help you keep your sanity by bringing these activities all together in one easy guide. In 2018, we’re bringing back our monthly event guides so you don’t miss a thing! We’ll update with new additions as they come.

January 4: Knee High Naturalists: A Snow Flea Circus | 1:00-4:00pm Discover nature at Lebanon Hills with a child through hands-on activities, outdoor exploration, art projects, story time and more. Learn about snow fleas, discover how they and other insects survive the winter, and look for signs of these critters on a nature walk. Ages 3-6. Registration required.

January 5: Forever Wild Family Friday: Fun on the Ice | 7:00-8:30pm Head to Lebanon Hills for family fun on the first Friday of every month with park activities and s’mores. An evening of family fun on the ice under lights. Bring your sate or try one of our kick sleds for free. All ages. FREE.

January 5-6: Cinch World’s Toughest Rodeo | 7:30pm Cinch World’s Toughest Rodeo showcases champion cowboys from around the United States competing in bareback riding, saddle bronc riding or bull riding, while the ladies will be vying for the championship title in barrel racing. The top two in each event will return for a second time to go head-to-head to determine the night’s champion. Before the rodeo each night beginning at 6 p.m., fans are invited to come early and partake in the interactive activities for all ages including pony rides, all access meet-and-greets with cowboys and entertainers, hopping in the clown’s barrel for photos, sitting on Midnight the bull in the bucking chutes, or getting up close and personal with the Cinch World’s Toughest Rodeo animal superstars.

January 5-6: Championship Snocross | Varies AMSOIL Championship Snocross is the No. 1 snowmobile race series in the world, and brings together the best professional and amateur athletes in the sport.

January 5-7: Land O’ Lakes Dog Show | 10:00am Watch dogs compete for Best in Show. See live demonstrations of fun activities for you and your dog at the Unleashed 1.0 Dog Expo. Meet the Breeds! Partners in Performance will feature seminars on service dogs, therapy dogs, and more. Visit the Ringside Market for all kinds of goodies for your dog.

January 6: Building with Snow | 10:00-11:30am Learn and practice your winter engineering skills in constructing quinzhees, snow caves, forts and tunnels. The Dodge Nature Center will cover the art of packing snow and the use of a snow saw to send you home to make the best snow creations on the block.

January 6: Family Fire Day | 1:00-2:30pm Practice starting a fire in the snow. Experiment with using steel wool, magnifying lenses, and flint and steel. Roast a marshmallow over the fire you start. Reservations required. Children 17 years and younger must be accompanied by a registered adult.

January 7: Free Skating Event | 12:00-1:30pm Celebrate the winter skating season and National Skating Month at the Burnsville Ice Center. Attendees will receive free admission, discounted skate rental and free private mini-lessons for new skaters. Lesson space is limited and based on first-come, first-served. 

January 7: Parent Child Cross-Country Ski Lessons | 2:00-4:00pm Learn the basic skills of classic-style cross-country skiing in a family-friendly environment.  Ages: 5 and older. Registration required.

January 7: The Puppet Adventures of Ned the Naturalist | 1:00-3:00pm Follow Ned the Nerdy Naturalist as he stops Trasher the Trash Can from trashing nature. Try artmaking with a take-home activity related to the show. Performance begins promptly at 1:00 PM. Art making follows the performance and is offered until 3:00PM. Children 17 years and younger must be accompanied by an adult. 

January 8: Bouldering Divas | 6:30-8:30pm Come one come many to the all women, ONLY women, evening of bouldering in the Cave! Midwest Mountaineering employee and climber Malaz will be on hand to answer questions and help provide a fun and relaxing atmosphere. All abilities welcome from the, “I’ve never done this before,” to those who want to set routes, and everyone in-between. 

January 12: Candlelight Hike | 6:00-9:00pm Enjoy Thompson County Park by flickering candlelight and warm-up at roaring bonfires. Hot food available to purchase from food trucks.

January 12-14: Paw Patrol Live! The Great Pirate Adventure | Varies X barks the spot in the new tour PAW Patrol Live! The Great Pirate Adventure! It’s Pirate Day in Adventure Bay, and Mayor Goodway is getting ready for a big celebration! But first, Ryder and his team of pirate pups must rescue Cap’n Turbot from a mysterious cavern. When they do, they also discover a secret pirate treasure map! The PAW Patrol set out over land and sea to find the treasure for Mayor Goodway’s celebration before Mayor Humdinger finds it first! The pups will need all paws on deck for this pirate adventure, including some help from the newest pup … Tracker!

January 12-14: Arctic Fever | Varies Arctic Fever is a fun winter festival for all ages designed to get families and friends outside to enjoy a Minnesota Winter. Activities include a pizza party, dog sled races, ice games, wagon rides, kids ice fishing, and more! Most events are free and accompanied by a great bonfire.

January 13: Explore It! 3M Visiting Wizards | 1:00-4:00pm Come in for family-friendly science and engineering demonstrations, and see the Wizards’ exciting 30-minute show. Experience engineering and technology with real scientists and engineers!

January 13: Winter Open House: Snowshoes and Tracks | 10:00am-3:00pm Learn how to walk, run, and turn around on snowshoes. Learn about Animal Tracks and Signs from self -guiding activities. A naturalist will answer nature questions, and orient you to the nature center trails. Try wood or metal snowshoes (wood snowshoes require 6+ inches of snow). Sleds will be available for pulling young kids. Dress in layers and wear winter boots. Hot chocolate for all attendees! Free to attend. Drop-in program. Snowshoe rental: $5/pair.

January 13: Take a Kid Ice Fishing @ Pickerel Lake | 12:00-3:00pm Ice fishing is a quintessential Minnesota outdoor sport and this is your chance to try your hand at catching a fish through the ice. We supply all the fishing poles and bait and even drill the holes you’ll be fishing through, although hand augers are available for those that want to cut their own.Watch for our large red tent where you will get your loaner pole, find a place to warm up, and where you’ll be able to use an underwater camera to view and learn about “Life Beneath the Ice.” Minnesota waives fishing license requirements on this weekend for anyone that is 16 or older, provided they are accompanied by someone age 15 or younger.

January 14: Centennial Lakes Winter Ice Festival | 1:00-5:00pm Visitors to the park will be able to have their faces painted and ride on a horse-drawn wagon. Ice Festival participants may bring their own equipment, but ice skates and kick-sleds are available for rental at the Hughes Pavilion, which serves as a warming house and concessions stand in the winter months. Behind the Hughes Pavilion on the terrace overlooking the lake, ice sculpting demonstrations will be given.

January 14: Princess Brunch | 10:00am-1:00pm Crafts, music and visits from Olaf, Princess Anna and Princess Elsa, plus the chance to win an American Girl doll and other prizes. Event free with brunch purchase at Lord Fletcher’s. Drawings at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

January 15: Winter Play Day | 11:00am-4:30pm Celebrate Minnesota’s most unique season. Make a kite and fly it over Silver Lake. Build and accessorize a snowman, snow-woman, or snow-monster and compete for a chance to win awards. Roast marshmallows over a fire and enjoy an indoor concert by the Roe Family Singers. First 40 kite-making kits are free, otherwise they are $6/kit. In partnership with the Minnesota Kite Flying Association. 

January 15: Family Snowshoeing with Hot Cocoa | 1:00-2:30pm On your day off, explore snowbanks, search for animal tracks and warm up with cocoa afterwards. Equipment provided. Reservations required. Children 17 years and younger must be accompanied by a registered adult.

January 19: The Big Chill | 6:00pm Head to Firemen’s Park for an evening of winter fun. Ice skate on the Clayhole (weather permitting) to DJ music and participate in fun friendly winter ice activities including glow in the dark bowling, candy scavenger hunt and more. Enjoy free s’mores over the bonfire and hot chocolate sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department. Bring your skates (no skate rental available) and come out for some Minnesota fun. FREE.

January 19-20: Ski Rennet Race | Varies Bundle up for two days of racing on world-class trails with challenging climbs and scenic views of Hyland Lake Park Reserve! An all-day party with free activities for all ages includes music, fat bike and cross-country ski demos, a sponsor village with food, and more. 5K of guaranteed, man-made snow ensures this race is held in almost any condition.

January 19-20: Red Bull Crashed Ice | 6:00-9:30pm Red Bull Crashed Ice will return to Saint Paul on January 19 and 20 to kick-off the 2017/2018 Ice Cross Downhill Championship. Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Cathedral of Saint Paul for the seventh time, the event returns to the formidable location with its established reputation as the longest and most-challenging track on the schedule. Saint Paul will be the first leg of the four-event world series that brings 64 men and 16 women together from around the world to compete for the chance to be crowned 2018 Ice Cross Downhill Champion. New to this year, in addition to free general admission, spectators now have the option to purchase premium-viewing tickets. Starting atop the city’s iconic Cathedral, spectators will witness the Junior World Championship, Freestyle Show and Qualifiers for the world ranked athletes competing in two timed runs during day one (Friday, Jan 19) with the fastest athletes based off of their Friday times advancing to the Finals on day two (Saturday, Jan 20). 

January 19-21: Twinsfest | 9:30am-1:00pm TwinsFest will feature interactive activities and behind-the-scenes fan experiences that celebrate Twins baseball and Target Field. As in years past, more than 60 current, former and future Twins players are expected to appear throughout the course of the weekend.

January 20: Winter Ice Cream Social | Regular hours It’s all supply and demand: With below-freezing temps, ice cream from LEO’S MALT SHOP goes for free during Stillwater’s annual Winter Ice Cream Social. As for the chili? There’s a nominal fee.  

January 20: MacPhail Free Family Music Series: 4 Clarinets Gruff | 10:00am-12:00pm A free, family event for music-loving families and those who want to explore music for the first time! The centerpiece of this series is a live concert. Before and after each concert, the musicians will give free sample lessons to kids and adults on the instruments featured in the concert. Sing Play Learn with MacPhail® staff will also be on site to engage families in a music-themed art project. Light refreshments will follow the concert. FREE.

January 20: WinterFest | 9:00am-3:00pm Join other winter enthusiasts at the Lake Elmo Park Reserve Nordic Center and Eagle Point Trailheads to learn about all sorts of ways to stay active this winter. Activities include: Cross-Country Ski lessons, Fat Tire Bike demos, igloo-making and more!

January 20: Winter Trails Day | 11:00am-4:00pm Visit Fort Snelling State Park for Winter Trails Day 2017! This annual tradition is a day of fun, free winter activities. Partners from the National Park Service, REI, Minnesota DNR, U.S. Forest Service, and others will come together to provide a range of activities to help you make the most of the season. Try ice-fishing, cross-country skiing, skijoring, quinzee building, and much more! No registration required. Free, but a state park permit is required on each vehicle ($7/day pass or $35 annual pass. Available at park office upon entry to park)

January 21: Family GPS | 3:30-5:30pm Learn how to use a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit and hike or snowshoe to find hidden geocaches. Equipment provided. Reservations required. Children under 2 free. Children 17 years and younger must be accompanied by a registered adult.

January 25-28: U.S. Pond Hockey Championships @ Lake Nokomis | Varies Celebrate hockey “the way nature intended” on a Minneapolis lake with players reuniting with their youth and friends over a weekend when time can stand still and we can all be kids for three days. The champions do not win prizes, but go down in history with their names etched into the Golden Shovel, a symbol of our lifelong love and passion for the purity of this outdoor game.

January 27: Family Ice Fishing Event | 1:00-3:00pm Come try ice fishing in Eagan! Minnesota residents fish for free when accompanied by a child age 15 or under. No experience necessary. We provide equipment and bait while supplies last, or bring your own if you prefer. Bonfire, hot cooca, sheltered area, and portable toilet will be available at the Blackhawk Park pavilion. Ages Preschool to Adult.

January 27: Art Sled Rally | Varies Details will be posted soon.

January 28: Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival | 12:00-4:00pm Kites of all shapes, sizes, colors and themes will fly over frozen Lake Harriet. Other fun family activities at the festival include ice fishing, horse-drawn wagon rides, snowshoeing, and a marshmallow roast. FREE.

January 28: S’mores and More | 2:00-4:00pm Give your child a wonderful winter experience at Farmington Parks and Recreation’s third annual event at the Rambling River Park Warming House and outdoor rink. There will be skating games, music, S’mores, hot cocoa, and don’t forget your skates! FREE.

January 28: Family Fun: Winter Campfire | 1:00-3:00pm Explore through hands-on activities that everyone can enjoy at their own pace. Drop in anytime. All ages welcome. Children 17 years and younger must be accompanied by an adult. FREE.

January 1: Minnesota Polar Dash | 8:00am Welcome to the 11th annual Polar Dash on January 1st, 2018! 1800M, 5K, 10K and Half Marathon. Compete in one of our two CHALLENGES! Yeti Challenge (1800M, 5K & 10K) -OR- Mt. Everest Challenge (1800M, 5K & Half Marathon). Complete the challenge and earn 4 medals (3 distances & 1 challenge medal)! All adult registrations get a performance fleece or jacket, medal, and post-race hot chocolate! Register a youth and they get a Polar Dash hat,

January 6, 20, 27: Eagan Parkrun | 9:00am This free weekly timed 5K event takes place at Thomas Lake Park.

January 9-31: Law Enforcement Appreciation Day 5K | Varies This is a 5K virtual run (or walk) to honor all law enforcement everywhere. When you participate you get an awesome medal! At least 15% of every registration is donated to Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), who’s mission is “Rebuilding shattered lives of survivors and co-workers affected by line of duty deaths, through partnerships with law enforcement and the community.”

January 13: 2018 Winter Games 5K and .5K | 8:00am The event will be run on the beautiful trails along the St. Croix River.  Scenic, no traffic, just you and a bunch of other crazy people ready for a good time! Don’t feel like running the full 5K?  Sign up for the .5k and still get a tshirt and beer without all the extra work!

January 18-31: Braver Than You 5K & 10K | Varies This is a 5-10K virtual run (or walk) to celebrate National Winnie the Pooh Day, being BRAVE and to help raise funds for those affected by Hurricane Maria.

January 21: Lake Minnetonka Flurry Scurry 5K Fun Run | 9:00am The annual Lake Minnetonka Flurry Scurry 5K takes place in conjunction with the North American Pond Hockey Championships on Lake Minnetonka. A family friendly run, this is a fun event for all ages and runners of all levels!

January 27: King Boreas Winter Triathlon | 7:00am Winter triathlon is run/bike/ski.  Distances for King Boreas Winter Tri are 5km run, 17km bike, 6km ski.

January 27: Securian Winter Run | 9:00am Securian Financial Group embraces what Winter Carnival is all about – enjoying Saint Paul’s great outdoors, all year long. The Securian Winter Run features four races: the Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, and Kids Fun Run – each starting at Securian Center on the corner of Sixth and Jackson Streets. The starting gun for the Half Marathon will go off at 9 a.m., while the 5K, 10K and Kids races will begin just minutes later.

Sensory Jump Night @ Pump It Up Third Tuesday of Every Month | 6:00-8:00pm During this evening event, the play areas are reserved for kids on the autism spectrum and their families. Kids have a great time meeting new friends. Jump, slide, and play with sensory-friendly games in a safe and controlled atmosphere.

Sensory Friendly Playdates at the Wishing Tree Play Cafe Wednesdays | 2:30-4:00pmThe Wishing Tree Play Café is an open plan, indoor playground and café designed for babies to pre-k kids and their caregivers. 

Sensory Friendly Saturdays at Select Dakota County Libraries | 10:30am Explore books, music, movement and play in a sensory-friendly setting that welcomes children ages 3–8 of all abilities including those who have difficulty in large groups, are on the autism spectrum, or are sensitive to sensory overload. One registration required per family. An adult must accompany each registered child. Siblings welcome.

Sensory Friendly AMC Movies Second and Fourth Saturday of Every Month | Varies AMC is proud to partner with the Autism Society to offer unique movie showings where we turn the lights up, and turn the sound down, so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing! Our Sensory Friendly Film program is available on the second and fourth Saturday (family-friendly) and Tuesday evenings (mature audiences) of every month.

Second Saturdays at TPT Second Saturday of Every Month | 8:00am-12:00pm AMC is proud to partner with the Autism Society to offer unique movie showings where we turn the lights up, and turn the sound down, so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing! Our Sensory Friendly Film program is available on the second and fourth Saturday (family-friendly) and Tuesday evenings (mature audiences) of every month.

Sensory Friendly Movies at Marcus Theatre Select Saturdays | 10:30am We understand that sometimes it is difficult or uncomfortable for families with special needs children to attend movies together. Marcus Theatres Reel Movies for Reel Needs is a specially designed program to serve families with special needs such as autism or other challenges, who seldom attend movies. Reel Movies for Real Needs creates a welcoming and comfortable environment – lower sound, lights up – where families with children who need accommodations will be able to share the experience of seeing family friendly films at a theatre. A select first run movie is featured one Saturday each month at a convenient 10:30 AM showtime. 

Night Trains Saturdays, November-February | 6:00-9:00pm Night Trains Season comes to museum layouts in a magical way, the lights are turned down, the buildings and street lights glow warmly, setting the scene for specially lighted models of vintage passenger trains. The make believe town of Matlin is buried in a blizzard, and throughout the Museum the layouts are adorned with miniature Christmas lights and decorations.

Ice Castles January 5-March 31 | Varies Ice castles are the must-see winter wonderland where fairy tales are brought to life with twinkling lights, magnificent archways and towers, ice-carved tunnels, fountains and slides ready to be explored. By day this frozen castle glimmers with glacial blues and after dark the ice formations create a magical glow. For the 2nd year, the Ice Castles will be located in downtown Stillwater in Lowell Park along the riverfront. Come see this beautiful castle and plan to stay overnight to further explore Stillwater’s historic downtown shopping, dining, night life, and family fun.

In the Heart of the Beast and Mask Theater Saturdays, January 6-March 10 | 10:00am-12:00pm Every winter, different artists perform engaging puppet shows at 10 a.m. and 12 noon.  A great alternative to screen time, these performances will delight kids of all ages! Additionally, Make ‘n’ Take workshops are offered at 11 a.m. each Saturday morning where participants create a puppet in the theme of the day’s show.

Leo Lionni’s FREDERICK at Stages Theatre January 19-February 19 | Varies Cozy in this winter for the heartwarming story of Frederick as he shows us that everyone has something special to give to the world. While other mice are gathering food for the winter, Frederick daydreams the summer away. When the cold weather sets in, however, it is Frederick who has stored up something significant to survive the long, blustery winter. The Caldecott winning book by beloved author Leo Lionni has been charming readers for 50 years. Now, this award-winning adaptation, featuring a roots-flavored country and folk-infused score, will delight the heart and tickle the imagination.

The Wiz at Minnesota Children’s Theatre January 23-March 18 | Varies Ease on down the road with Dorothy and her friends in this dazzling mixture of rock, gospel and soul music. You don’t need a wizard – just believe in yourself to find home and feel that brand-new day! Best enjoyed by all ages

Saint Paul Winter Carnival January 25-February 10 | Varies It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and Rice Park has the events to prove it during the entire Winter Carnival. Ice sculptures are on display, sit in a Royal Throne made of ice, view the Ice Castle Sponsor Wall. Live entertainment in Rice Park, vendor booths and other activities. Decorated with beautiful lights and greenery. Enjoy a Summit beer or Cannon River wine at the ice bar. Free and open to the public throughout Winter Carnival!

Pre K Program at The Works Museum Select Mondays | 9:00am-12:00pm Pre K Mondays feature special activities just for kids ages 3 to 5 and their adult companions. Kids are natural engineers – experience the amazing fun of hands-on engineering together! Encourage your Pre K student to explore his or her curiosity and design, build, and create.

Ballet Tuesdays at the Landmark 2nd Tuesday of every month | 12:00pm The Saint Paul Ballet performs excerpts from the company repertoire each year, highlighting events for their coming season. They are held the second Tuesday of the month at noon from October through May. FREE.

Toddler Tuesdays at MOA Tuesdays | 10am-Noon Toddler Tuesdays is a program that provides events, free entertainment and discounts especially for toddlers. Events include special character appearances, arts and crafts, story time and much more! FREE.

Storytime with Engineer Paul at Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store Tuesdays | 10:00am Engineer Paul hosts a storytime full of songs and smiles. Afterwards, enjoy the morning exploring and playing with the various train sets and tables at this fun train store. FREE.

Preschool Playdates at the Science Museum Tuesdays | Regular Hours  This special playdate includes make and take crafts as wells as special theater programs and demonstrations just for preschoolers. Kids age 5 and under are free with paid adult admission. Minnesota Children’s Museum members receive free admission during playdates.

Wee Wednesdays at Midtown Global Market Wednesdays | 10:30am-1:00pm Wee Wednesdays showcase free educational programming, fun crafts and great meal deals each Wednesday morning at Midtown Global Market!
 Dance with them, experience live puppet theater, learn to cook fun items together in the kitchen, and even pet live animals from the Como Zoo. FREE.

Tots & Trains at Minnesota Transportation Museum 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month | 10am-12pm Explore the Jackson Street Roundhouse & Museum with your little one. Check out their open play area full of train tables. Create a themed craft to take home. Cuddle up and listen to a train themed story read by one of the museum’s passionate volunteers. Snacks for the kids and coffee for the parents are provided.

Kids at the Castle: Third Friday Playdates (American Swedish Institute) In the hour before the museum opens, join ASI for visual play, storytelling, music, movement and crafts inspired by ASI’s current exhibits- activities that will encourage creative minds and active hands. Recommended for ages 2-5. $5 per family. Registration not required; check in at the Information Desk by 11 a.m. on the day of the program. Adult accompaniment required.

Free First Saturdays at Walker Art Center 1st Saturday of every month | 10:00am-3:00pm Free First Saturdays feature free gallery admission on the first Saturday of every month, plus performances, games, art-making, and kid’s films from 10 am to 3 pm. Family friendly food options are available or bring something from home to snack on in the lounge or in the garden.

MIA Family Day 2nd Sunday of every month | Varies On the second Sunday of every month, you’ll have a blast making art, going on artful adventures, meeting local musicians, dancers, and storytellers, and more at the Minnesota Institute of Art! FREE.

Drop-In Discovery Stations at Tamarack Nature Center 1st Saturday of every month | 10:00am-12:00pm Tamarack’s Discovery Hosts will be on-hand on Saturday mornings with nature’s most wonderful surprises! Participants can experience up-close visits with live animals, touchable artifacts, drop-in activities and outdoor explorations. FREE.

Nature Rocks! Outdoor Center Open House Saturdays | 10:00am-12:00pm Enjoy free family-friendly activities such as hiking, hands-on interaction with live animals, craft projects and more at the Eden Prairie Outdoor Center! FREE.

Kid’s Club Workshops at Michaels Saturdays | 10:00am-12:00pm Let your kids explore their creativity while you shop! Just $2 per child ages 3 and up. All supplies included.

Free Crafts for Kids at Lakeshore Learning Saturdays | 11:00am-3:00pm Ages 3 and up. No reservations necessary.

Sundays at the Landmark Select Sundays | Various Times Sundays at Landmark is a series of cultural and art events that are designed to entertain, enrich and educate an audience. All programs begin at 1 pm unless otherwise noted and are kid friendly and open to the public! FREE.

Three Rivers Park District: FREE Family Fun Days Sundays | Various Times Three Rivers offers family fun at Kroening Interpretive Center or Richardson Nature Center. Discover all the fun that life in and around the river and woods has to offer. FREE.

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