Budget Twin Cities December Family Events & Activities

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It doesn’t have to break the bank to entertain the family away from home in the Twin Cities, especially during that often spendy holiday season! We have Budget Twin Cities December Family Events.Budget Twin Cities December Family Events

You’ll find December’s seasonal and monthly sponsor ongoing events and activities listed here that all cost $5 or less per person to attend. For more ideas on budget and FREE family outings, check our Family Fun Calendar or hop over to our Free Twin Cities December Family Events & Activities page.


12/6: Family Fun & Fitness Fridays @ Great River Water Park, St. Paul • $2/pp during Open Swim hours.

12/10: TMORA Family Day @ Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis • 12-3pm • $8 donation/family • Details: Storytelling, music and activities for the whole family.

12/10: Brickmania Toyworks Open House, Minneapolis • 10am-4pm • $5/pp or $10/group of 4 • Details: Intricate LEGO train layouts, hands-on LEGO activities and displays. This popular event is held the 2nd Saturday of each month. Read about a trip to the open house here.

Budget Twin Cities December Family Events

Budget Twin Cities December Family EventsThis post is sponsored by the American Swedish Institute.
‘Tis the season for holiday fun at the American Swedish Institute where you can enjoy many kid and family friendly activities including

  • the Nordic Holidays exhibition of decorated rooms
  • Kids at the Castle playdates Dec. 9, 16 & 17
  • our Making Traditions weekend music/craft series
  • Lucia Celebrations
  • Santa and Tomte visits
  • FIKA’s food for kids
  • a Family Gallery
  • a FREE Holiday Open House on Dec. 14.

For complete info., visit ASI at 2600 Park Ave., go to ASImn.org or call (612) 871-4907.

12/10: Family Dance @ Tapestry Folkdance Center, Minneapolis • 6:30-8pm • $5/pp or $10/family • Details: The focus is on teaching simple dances that everyone in the family can enjoy. Breaks will feature snacks and kid-friendly activities.

Budget Twin Cities December Family Events

12/16-17: Kids at the Castle: Tiny Tomtes @ American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis • 9-10am (feel free to stay after and explore the castle) • $8/family • Details: Before the museum opens, join ASI for visual play, storytelling, music, and movement inspired by ASI’s exhibits that will encourage creative young minds. Suggested for ages 2-5.

12/31: New Year’s Eve Celebration @ Silverwood Park, St Anthony • 5:30 – 7pm • $5/pp, discounted 20% for groups of 4+ • Details: Spend NYE creating a festive hat, visiting the photo booth with family, and roasting marshmallows. Reservations required.

12/31: Candlelight & Ice: New Year’s Eve at Wood Lake @ Wood Lake Nature Center, Richfield • 6 – 9pm • $5/pp, no pre-registration required • Details: Celebrate the New Year at Wood Lake. Follow a candlelit trail a walking trail through the trees, roast marshmallows over a fire and warm up inside with hot cocoa. Crafts, games and more.

12/31: New Year’s Eve Day Nature Chill-Out @ Maplewood Nature Center • 1-3pm • $5/pp, register & pre-pay by Dec 30 • Details: Indoor fun includes nature coloring pages, cocoa, and a funny scavenger hunt. Outdoor fun includes a self-guiding trail hike set up especially for the day to search for local yeti.


Riverview Theater, Minneapolis • Ongoing $2 matinees

Michaels Kids Club Crafts @ Twin Cities Michaels locations • Ongoing Saturdays in December, 10am-noon • $2 per project, ages 3+. Check the link for details.

FANtastic Saturdays @ The Blast Indoor Playground, Eagan Community Center • 5-8pm • $4/pp ages 18 mon-12 years, all others free. Details: Better bang for your buck every Saturday evening: $4 will get you into the Blast Indoor Playground, the gym for games, and provide a movie and crafts (parents must stay to supervise their kids).

$4 SundaysBudget Twin Cities December Family Events @ Great River Water Park, St. Paul • 11am-5pm • $4/pp • Details: Read about the kid-friendly amenities at Great River Water Park here.

Raptor Center Tours @ Gabbert Raptor Center, St. Paul campus of the U of M • 30-minute tours every half hour, 10:30am-3:30pm, ongoing Tues-Fri • $3/ages 3-17, $5/adults • Details: Bring kids of any age for a fun and educational visit. Meet some resident raptors, get hands-on with natural materials, and visit the kids’ play corner.

Bowl for a Buck @ University of MN’s Coffman Union (Thurs, 5pm-close) & St. Paul Student Center (all day Wed) • $1 per game plus $2 shoe rental.

Friday Family Funday @ Grove Cove Aquatic Center, Maple Grove • Ongoing Fridays in December, 9am-8pm • $5/pp or $19/family for all members.


Budget Twin Cities December Family Events

11/22-1/1/17: Holiday Lights in the Park, Phalen Regional Park, St. Paul • $10 cash per vehicle at gate or $8 online ticket only
11/19-2/12: Winter Holidays in Russia, Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis • $7-$9/pp, FREE ages 13 & under
11/22-1/6: Gingerbread Wonderland, Norway House, Minneapolis • $5/adults, kids FREE
11/25-27: Christmas at the 1855 Folsom House, Taylors Falls • $1-$3/pp
12/2: PJs With Santa, Vadnais Heights Commons • $10/res family, $20/non-res
12/2: Dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, Langford Recreation Center, St. Paul • $5/$25 family max
12/3: Holiday Tours, Fillebrown House, White Bear Lake • 1, 2 & 3pm • $5/pp
12/3-4: Santa’s Train Shop & FFTC Holiday Train, St. Paul • $5-$7/pp
12/3-4: Christmas on the Farm: A Norwegian Christmas, Brooklyn Park • $4-$6/pp
12/3-4 & 12/10-11: Christmas in the Village, Farmington • $3-$6/pp

Budget Twin Cities December Family Events

12/3-18: Folkways of the Holidays, The Landing, Shakopee • $5-$8/pp
12/13: Breakfast with Nature Santa, Springbrook Nature Center, Fridley • $7/pp
12/18: Skate with Santa, Richfield Ice Arena • $4/pp, $1.50/skate rental
12/18: Skate with Santa, Aldrich Ice Arena, Maplewood • $5/skate rental


12/2: Puppet Story Time: Hibernation Hijinks @ Westwood Nature Center, St. Louis Park • 10-11am • $4/pp res, $5/pp non-res.

12/5: My Preschooler & Me: Puppet Escapades – Winter at Gale Woods Growing Wool for Winter? @ Gale Woods Farm, Minnetrista • 10-11am • $4/pp ages 1-9 plus caregiver.

12/6: My Preschooler & Me: Bookworms Story Hour – Winter – Stars & Space  @ Eastman Nature Center, Dayton • 10-11am • $4/pp ages 2-6 plus caregiver.

12/6 & 12/7: Nature Adventurers: Winter Sleepers @ Wood Lake Nature Center, Richfield • 10-11:30am • $8/pair, ages 3-5 plus caregiver.

12/8: Big River, Small Fry: Nature for Curious Kids – Winter on the River @ Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, Brooklyn Park • 9:30am-12pm • $5/pp ages 2-6 plus caregiver, under 2 free.

12/10: Saturday Family Fun Days: Surviving the Cold @ Springbrook Nature Center, Fridley • 10-11am • $4/pp or $16/family max.

12/10: Meet the Animals @ Maplewood Nature Center • 2-3pm • $5/ per child with caregiver.

12/12: My Preschooler & Me: Lowry Little Ones – Winter – Magnificent Mice @ Lowry Nature Center, Victoria • 10-11:30am • $5/pp ages 2-5 plus caregiver.

12/13: My Preschooler & Me: Early Explorers – Winter – Fuzzy Furs @ The Landing, Shakopee • 10-11:30am • $5/pp ages 2-5 plus caregiver.

12/15: My Preschooler & Me: Puppet Escapades – Winter – Mouse Learns Math @ Richardson Nature Center, Bloomington • 10-11am • $4/pp ages 2+ with caregiver

12/18: My Preschooler & Me: Polar Fun @ Lowry Nature Center, Victoria • 2:30-4pm • $5/pp ages 2-5 plus caregiver.

12/20 & 12/21: Nature Adventurers: Storybook Hike @ Wood Lake Nature Center, Richfield • 10-11:30am • $8/pair, ages 3-5 plus caregiver.

12/21: My Preschooler & Me: Puppet Escapades – Winter at Eastman – Winter Celebration @ Eastman Nature Center, Dayton • 10-11am • $4/pp ages 2-6 plus caregiver.

12/26: My Preschooler & Me: Puppet Escapades – Winter at Lowry – Otter Amusements @ Lowry Nature Center, Victoria • 10-11am • $4/pp ages 2-6 plus caregiver.



Shoreview Community Center: Tropical Adventure Indoor Playground, Shoreview • Open Play hours: Mon-Sat: 8am – 8pm, Sun: 8am – 6pm • $5/per child ages 1-12, adults free.

Eagan Community Center: Preschool Open Play • Ongoing Mon-Fri, 9-11:30am • $4 per child, under 18 mons free • Details: A variety of fun toys and sport equipment are available to play in the gym as well as play time in the Blast Indoor playground.  For kids ages 1-5.

Eden Prairie Community Center: Tot Time Open Gym • Mon-Fri, 9:30-11:30am (9:15-11:30 Thurs) • $4/pp ages 1-4, $5/pp ages 5+, under 1 and caregivers free • Details: Participate in free play with balls, hoops, scooters, jump ropes, tumbling mats, parachutes, music and more. For $6/pp, admission to the Prairie Play Zone indoor playground is included.

Plymouth Field House: Open Play • Mon, Wed, Fri, 10:30am-1:30pm • $4/resident youth, $5/non-resident youth, caregivers free • Details: During the chilly months, heat in the field house is turned on to 55 degrees for fun with inflatables, slides, nets and lots of space to run the kids ragged. Best for ages 3-5.

Maple Grove Community Center: Parent/Tot Time • Ongoing Mon & Wed, 10-11:30am • $2.50/resident youth, $3/non-res youth, caregivers free • Details: Best for ages 5 & under.

Braemar Field: Tot Time, Edina • Ongoing Mon & Wed, 9-11am • $3/child • Details: Room to run, age appropriate toys and some organized games.

Brookview Community Center: Preschool Playtime • Fridays thru March 31, 2017, 10-11:30am • $2 per child ages 1-5, under 1 year free • Details: A variety of play areas will be set up for kids to run, jump, crawl and roll indoors.

Braemar Field: Family Night, Edina • Ongoing Saturdays through April 2, 2017, 6:30-8:30pm • $5/pp • Details: Stay active under the dome during the cold months with room to run and play. Temp is set at 55 degrees.

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About the author

Anne Kingston

If we left it up to Anne to write her own bio, it would never get posted. She doesn't enjoy talking about herself, but Anne does love exploring the Twin Cities with her family and sharing her finds here. She, her husband and their four kids are lifelong residents of St. Paul.

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