Free Twin Cities January Family Events & Activities

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Who doesn’t appreciate a whole lotta FREE after the holidays? Free events, free activities, free admission – January is stocked with opportunities for free family fun in the Twin Cities!


Thank you to our January Sponsor

As a neighborhood medical center, MedExpress offers a broad scope of urgent care, basic wellness and employer health services. With warm, welcoming centers and a full medical team, centers are open every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with no appointments necessary. Centers offer walk-in treatment for everyday illness and injury, including more advanced offerings such as X-rays, IVs, EKGs, labs, minor surgery, stitches and treatment for broken bones, sprains and strains. MedExpress also offers wellness and prevention services such as physicals, wellness exams, tobacco cessation counseling and flu shots.

MedExpress is located conveniently in Eden Prairie, Plymouth, and West St. Paul. Visit medexpress.com for more information.


TWIN CITIES JANUARY SPECIAL EVENTS – FREE

1/2: Minnesota Wild Outdoor Practice | Braemar Arena, Edina

1/3: Free Tuesday @ Washington County Parks | SE Metro, find a listing of parks hereExplore Washington County Parks with no vehicle permit required the first Tuesday of the month (non-holiday).

1/6: Forever Wild Family Friday: Fun on the Ice | Lebanon Hills Visitor Center, Eagan • 7-8:30pm

1/7: First Free Saturday: Here and There | Walker Art Center, Minneapolis • 10am-3pm • Activities are geared towards kids ages 6-12, but don’t let that stop you from bringing your littler ones! Free gallery admission for the whole family.

1/7: Home Depot Kids Workshop: Crate Toolbox | TC Home Depot locations • 9am-noon • The first Saturday of each month kids get a kit to build, apron and pin while supplies last; adults must accompany children.

1/7: Snowflake Wonders | Maplewood Nature Center • 1-3pm

1/7: Greater TC Youth Symphonies Family Concert: Musical Musings | Ordway Center, St Paul • 2pm, free tickets available online, at the door, or by phone.

1/7: Drop-in Discoveries: Owls Up Close | Tamarack Nature Center, White Bear Lake • 10am-12

1/8: Family Day: Cityscapes | Minneapolis Institute of Art • 11am-5pm • Build and design your dream urban landscape.

1/10: Ballet Tuesdays | Landmark Center, St. Paul • 12-1pm • Excerpts from the classics, perfect for budding ballerinas.

1/13: Friday Family Movie Nights: The Secret Life of Pets | Edinborough Park, Edina • 6:30pm

1/14-16: Polarpalooza | Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St Paul • 10am-4pm

1/16: Martin Luther King, Jr Day Celebration | MLK Recreation Center, Minneapolis • 6:30pm

1/22: Urban Expedition: Denmark | Landmark Center, St Paul • 1-3pm • Travel the globe without hopping a plane through music, food, crafts and more.

1/21: MacPhail Free Family Music Series: Peter & the Wolf | MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis • 10am-12pm • Designed for kids 8 & under, the musical open house features sample classes, crafts, snacks and live performances at 10 & 11am.


JANUARY FAMILY WINTER FESTIVALS & FUN DAYS – FREE ADMISSION

1/8: 27th Annual Winter Ice Festival | Centennial Lake Park, Edina
1/14: Winter Open House | Maplewood Nature Center
1/16: Snowman Making Contest | Silverwood Park, St Anthony
1/20: The Big Chill | Firemen’s Park, Chaska
1/21: Winter Trails Day | Fort Snelling State Park
1/21-29: 14th Annual Winter Fete | Bloomington
1/22: Kids Fest | Minnetonka Community Center
1/26-2/5: St Paul Winter Carnival | St Paul
1/27: Rock on Ice | Staring Lake Park, Eden Prairie
1/28: Anoka Winterfest Family Fun Day | Greenhaven Golf Course & Event Center

1/28: Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival | Lake Harriet Park, Minneapolis
1/28: 10th Annual Art Sled Rally | Powderhorn Park, Minneapolis
1/28: Snow Day | Wargo Nature Center, Lino Lakes

1/28: Bundled Up! Winter Fun Day | Oak Hill Park, St Louis Park
1/29: Pond Dakota Winter History Festival | Pond Dakota Mission Park, Bloomington ($2 donation)
1/30-2/1: City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival | Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis


SAINT PAUL WINTER CARNIVAL FAMILY EVENTS – FREE

1/26-2/5: Winter Wonderland in Rice Park | St Paul
Stroll through the 2017 Winter Carnival ice carvings and pick out your favorite and take a spin on the ice courtesy of Wells Fargo WinterSkate.

1/27-2/5: Snow Park at the State Fairgrounds | Falcon Heights
Chill out at the Fair with the following fun family-friendly events:

  • Jan 21-22: Giant snow blocks and walls created for the annual snow sculpting contest. 9am-4pm.
  • Jan 27-29: Come watch works of art whittled out of the snow during the Minnesota State Snow Sculpting Competition (Fri) and the Amateur Snow Sculpting Contest (Sat). Sculptures will be on display at the Fair through Feb 5, 9am-10pm.
  • Jan 28-Feb 4: Plummet down the Giant Snow Slide (if you dare!) A fee of $2 per ride is charged, sleds provided.
  • Jan 29: Hail the Vulcs on Vulcan Fun Day with free fire truck rides, a mini-medallion hunt for kids and more. 11am-3pm.

tm vulcan snow park 2

1/22-2/2: Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt | Ramsey County public land sites
1/26: Moon Glow Pedestrian Parade | 401 W Robert St to Rice Park, St Paul, 6pm
1/28: Winter Carnival Kids Day | Landmark Center, St. Paul
1/31: Frozen Family Fun Night | Rice Park, St Paul
2/4: Winter Carnival Family Day | Landmark Center


ONGOING JANUARY WEEKENDS – FREE

Minneapolis Institute of Arts | Minneapolis • Daily, 11am-5pm

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory | St Paul • Daily, 10am-6pm, suggested donation of $2/child & $3/adult, but all welcome whether or not you choose to donate. Seasonal events include the Winter Flower Show in the Conservatory’s sunken garden, storytime at noon, and animal programs throughout the day.

Materials Lab | Minnesota Museum of American Art, St Paul • Open during exhibition hours, ongoing Sat/Sun, 10am-4pm. All ages can drop in and get creative with available materials and a little guidance.

Saturday Live! | George Latimer Central Library, St. Paul • 11:15am • Fresh entertainment every Saturday including live music, puppetry, magicians and more.

Lakeshore Learning Free Crafts for Kids | TC locations • Ongoing Saturdays, 11am-3pm

Nature Rocks! Open House | Eden Prairie Outdoor Center • 9am-noon • The first Saturday of each month enjoy free family-friendly activities such as hiking, hands-on interaction with live animals, craft projects and more.

January Free Family Fun Days | Three Rivers Parks
Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park (Brooklyn Park side of the river) Sundays: 1/15 & 1/29, 1-3pm
Richardson Nature Center • Sundays: 1/1-1/22, 3-4pm

Naturalist’s Nature Table (Sat, 11am-3pm) & Family Funday (Sun, 12:30-3:30pm) | Carl Kroening Interpretive Center at North Mississippi Regional Park, Minneapolis • Drop in Saturdays for naturalist-led activities or Sundays for self-guided exploration of the visitor center’s interactive exhibits.

Gideon Pond House Open House | Pond Dakota Mission Park, Bloomington • Ongoing Sundays, 1:30-4pm • Drop by for a house tour and living history activities.

Metro-wide free outdoor ice skating rinks are open daily; many have warming facilities and lighting, some have free skates to loan! Find our directory of rinks here or below on the graphic:


ONGOING JANUARY WEEKDAYS – FREE

Parent/Tot Time & Preschool Open Gym | Apple Valley Community Center • Ongoing Mon/Wed/ Fri, 9:30-11am • Ages: 5 & under w/ caregiver • Burn off some energy with other kids, develop motor skills and coordination. A special tot time for tykes ages 2 & under is held from 9-9:30am followed by open play for 5 & under until 11.

MOA Toddler Tuesdays | Mall of America RotundaOngoing Tuesdays, 10am – noonLive entertainment and activities guaranteed to excite the stroller set. Upcoming event schedule here.

Bloom Room Playdates | Teeny Bee Boutique, St. Paul • Wednesdays, 10:30am-noon • Kids ages 0-3.

Wee Wednesdays | Midtown Global Market, MinneapolisOngoing Wednesdays, 10:30am – 1pm • In the past, MGM has offered dance troupes, cooking lessons, and live animals to entertain kids. Stay for lunch — there are many tasty ethnic vendors to choose from, and several offer specials on Wednesdays. Park in the adjacent Midtown Exchange Ramp up to 1.5 hrs. free with validation.

Games Galore | Union Depot, St Paul • Ongoing Wednesdays, 10am-8pm • Play giant-sized versions of classic games including chess, checkers, Connect Four, Dominoes and more.

Lil-Explorer-Card-cropped-for-marquee[1]

Lil Explorer Thursdays | Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St. Paul • Ongoing Thursdays through April 27, 2017, 10am-noon • The hall between the Visitor Center and the Conservatory is filled with hands-on activities, manipulatives, art projects and games perfect for the 4 & under set. Explore a different theme each week.

Free Children’s Entertainment | Edinborough Park Amphitheater, Edina • Thursdays, noon.

Drop-in Playtime | Amma Parenting Center, Edina • Ongoing Fridays, 11:45am-12:45pm • Drop-in play for newborns through walking age.

Top Preschool Storytimes in the Twin Cities – many local bookstores, libraries and other businesses offer FREE storytimes during the week. Click the link to read our picks.

Story Time Any Time

Kid-friendly Twin Cities coffee shops and cafes with dedicated FREE play spaces.

Coffee Shop Collage

Twin Cities Nature Centers offer FREE admission and hands-on exhibits and outdoor play opportunities most days of the week.

St. Paul Recreation Centers offer free open gym Tot Times at 16 sites across the city.

13 Open Play & Open Gym Spots for Tots in the Twin Cities

Minneapolis Recreation Centers also offer free options. Click this link and search “parent tot”.




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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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