Holiday Lights in the Park
Once again JuiceBox has done all of the hard work for you. See you out there, parentals.
Great for Everyone
1. Holiday Lights in the Park @ Phalen Park in St. Paul
Daily through January 1, 5:30–10 p.m.
It’s a holiday lights sightseeing drive without having to ask for directions. More than 60 light sculptures and animated displays cover Phalen Park for families to enjoy from the warmth of their own vehicles. JuiceBox recommends letting the kids take in the sights and sounds in their pajamas. Admission is $10 per vehicle.
2. 42nd Annual Folkways of the Holidays @ The Landing
Saturday, December 20, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.; Sunday, December 21, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Holiday traditions of the 1800s Minnesota River Valley are alive and well in this living history museum. Visit stations in The Landing’s historic homes, hear live music from folk artists, take a horse drawn trolley ride, and more. Admission is $3-5, and free for kids younger than 2.
3. Ice Castles @ Miller Park in Eden Prairie
Beginning December 29: Sundays–Thursdays 2–9 p.m.; Fridays 2–10 p.m.; Saturdays 12 p.m.–10 p.m.
Explore tunnels, rooms, and archways of an acre-sized ice castle reminiscent of the frosty creation whipped up in Disney’s Frozen. After dark, the castle is lit from the inside. Admission ranges from $6.95-12.95 per person, and is free for kids 3 years and younger. Bring your camera!
4. Commitment Day Festival and Fun Run @ Life Time Fitness
January 1–4 (the family 5K is on January 1 at select clubs)
The perfect way for families to kick off 2015—and it’s even for non-members. Family activities abound at all 23 clubs, including gym activities for kids and “Poolapalooza”—pool parties brought indoors with music and games. Do the 5K at Chanhassen, Coon Rapids, Fridley, Lakeville, Savage, St. Louis Park, and Woodbury locations. Enlist the children in the battle of the bulge.
Great for Younger Children
5. Choo Choo Bob’s Holiday Concert @ The Cedar Cultural Center
Saturday, December 27, 11 a.m.
Choo Choo Bob, his best friend Richard W. Kornbelt, and other characters take the stage at the Cedar for a train-tastic show geared towards kids ages 2 to 12. It’s $2 per person, and free for kids younger than 2.
6. Lil Sluggers Holiday Camps @ Edina batting cages
December 29 and 30
Who says there’s no baseball in winter? Lil Sluggers is a fun introduction to baseball and sportsmanship for preschoolers and kindergarteners of both genders. And they get to hang out with a cool college kid for three hours. There might be crying in baseball, though. The camps are for kids ages 4 to 6.
7. New Year’s Eve Sparkle-rama @ Minnesota Children’s Museum
Wednesday, December 31, 5–9 p.m.
It’s a young kid-friendly New Year’s Eve bash. There will be art-making, a dance party with live music from Will Hale and the Tadpole Parade, a magical ball drop at 8 p.m., and other festivities. Admission to the galleries is included, too. Tickets are $14.
Great for Older Children
8. Snow Tubing @ Wirth Winter Recreation Area
Beginning December 20: Wednesdays–Fridays 4–8 p.m.; Saturdays 10 a.m.–8 p.m.; Sundays 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
An enormous tubing hill with a tow rope maximizes the fun part. Tickets range from $8-$12 and kids must be at least 4 years old. Bonus: It’ll be open on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
9. Wells Fargo WinterSkate @ Landmark Plaza
Fridays and Saturdays 11 a.m.–10 p.m.; Sundays 11 a.m.–9 p.m.
Take a skate on the lighted outdoor rink, and then walk across the street to check out the humongous LED-lit tree in Rice Park. Skating is free, and skate rental is $4 or free for the immediate family members of everyone holding a Wells Fargo checking or credit card.
10. New Year’s Eve: Moonlight Circus @ Mall of America
Wednesday, December 31, 6 p.m.–12 a.m.
There will be music, party favors, live performances by Xelias Aerial Arts Studio under a Big Top in the Rotunda, and a family New Year’s countdown. Nickelodeon Universe will be open for rides, too. The event is free, and unlimited ride wristbands are $31.99 plus tax.
11. Full Moon Snowshoe with S’mores @ French Regional Park
Saturday, January 3, 6–8 p.m.
Snowshoe through wooded trails under the light of the year’s first full moon, then make your way back to a cozy fire for s’mores. It’s $7 per person, and snowshoes are provided. This one’s for kids 6 years and older.
12. Vertical Endeavors @ Minneapolis or St. Paul
Open all break, camps are $50, open New Year's Eve and New Year's Day
All winter break, Vertical Endeavors runs climbing camps for kids ages 6 and up. At the Minneapolis location, kids can climb something other than the walls of your home from December 26 through December 31. In St. Paul, camps run December 26, 29, 30, and January 2. Bonus: It's open on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day—8 a.m. to 11 p.m. in Minneapolis, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in St. Paul.