Once the holidays and hockey season are over, I tend to change my tune about winter. If you’re like-minded, we’ve got plenty of free ways to hunker down inside and wait out the rest of the cold snap. Or, if you desire to be out of doors, we’ve included some frosty winter festivals.
This month is brought to you by GoodKids!
BookHounds Storytime is BACK!
For the month of February in preparation for National Reading Month (March), our friends at GoodKids are hosting a special storytime for your whole family with authors and book lovers from around the Twin Cities.
BookHounds ClubHouse: GoodKids, 4758 Banning Ave, White Bear Lake, Minnesota 55110
BookHounds Storytime Schedule
Saturdays in February, 10 am
1) Winter Carnival Family Day | Rice Park & Landmark Center, St Paul
That coolest of winter festivals, the St Paul Winter Carnival, will host its annual Family Day in Rice Park Feb 2. If you haven’t yet made your way down to the park this season, here are a few family-pleasers you might want to seek out:
- Ice Sculpture Garden – Take a walk through Rice Park and pick out your favorite ice creation. As of Feb 1, all the sculptures have been completed and will be on display through the run of Winter Carnival (or as weather permits!) At night, the ice is illuminated and especially magical.
- Wells Fargo WinterSkate – Take a spin on the refrigerated rink through Feb 11. Skating is free for all, $4 skate rental for non-WF customers.
- Winter Carnival Family Day – Rice Park buzzes with a MN Made Market, live music, food trucks and Olympic Team USA’s Winterfest. Warm up inside Landmark Center with entertainment and events for all ages. Feb 2, noon-5pm.
2) Wonders of Winter | Central Park, Maple Grove
Skate a leisurely serpentine loop illuminated at night and in close proximity to a roaring fireplace in the adjacent indoor pavilion. Skating is free, bring your own skates or rent a pair for $6. Other wintry activities include fireside storytelling and smores, wagon rides, snowshoeing and lots more. Feb 9, 11am-3pm, FREE.
3) Love Local: Open House | Minnesota Center for Book Arts
Warm up for Valentine’s Day with an all-ages open house. Tour the studios, get those handmade Valentines for the grandparents taken care of, and more hands-on activities. Feb 9, 10am-2pm, FREE.
Love it? Find more Twin Cities Valentine’s Day family events.
4) Fire & Ice Festival | Parkers Lake Park, Plymouth
This free, fun family event includes hayrides, live entertainment, snow bowling, a bonfire and fireworks at 6:30pm. New this year is a cardboard sled contest; come show off your creation. Feb 2, 3-7pm. For more freezy February festivities, check our Winter Family Festival Calendar:
Festival extra! Join Snapology @ Minnetonka Kids Fest | Minnetonka Community Center
City of Minnetonka presents a day of winter fun, including dog sled rides, a DJ, magic shows, horse-drawn trolley rides and much more! All activities are free. 2/10/19, 11am-3:30pm.
5) Cozy up & play at coffee shops with free play areas
Shut the door against the often dreary weather in February and cozy up at one of the many Twin Cities-area coffee shops that dedicate corners (and, occasionally, entire rooms) to kids. We have personally visited each shop we recommend to ensure that it is quite possible to enjoy a cup of joe and some conversation while your little one is entertained. Here’s our quick list; visit the link above for more details:
- A Cupcake Social | Minneapolis
- Amy’s Cupcake Shop | Hopkins
- Community Grounds | Columbia Heights
- Dunn Brothers Coffee | Linden Hills, Minneapolis
- Gingko Coffeehouse | St Paul
- Riverview Cafe | Minneapolis
- Sovereign Grounds Indoor Playground & Coffeehouse | Minneapolis
- The Goat Coffeehouse | St Paul
6) First Free Saturday: Cabin Fever | Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
A trip to the Walker Art Center can always be an interesting family outing. And educational as well, in often unexpected ways as you tour the galleries together and talk about the art. Walker does its best to make the museum at its kid-friendliest during First Free Saturdays, where there are typically art-making activities, kid cinema and the like. Special in February: borrow a pair of snowshoes and hike through the revamped Minneapolis Sculpture Garden! Feb 2, 10am-3pm.
7) Family Fun Day: Owls, What a Hoot!| Carl Kroening Interpretive, Minneapolis
Drop in for naturalist-led activities and self-guided exploration of the visitor center’s interactive exhibits. Feb 24, 1-3pm, FREE.
8) 90-second Newbery Film Festival | Minneapolis Central Library
Kiddos get the filmmaking credits here! Their job is to condense Newbery award-winning literature into 90-second original films. The cross-country best of this year’s bunch will be screened at the annual film festival in Minneapolis on Feb 23 from 3-4pm. Tickets are free, but grab yours in advance right quick. This event is a sellout.
9) Second Saturdays at TPT | Twin Cities PBS, St Paul
It’s Mardi Gras at the studio this weekend! Play carnival games, make a mask, jump in the bounce house and do the cake walk. It’s all free but reserving a 1-hour time slot is required – you’ll want to hurry as reservations fill up very quickly. If you can’t grab tickets this month, watch the calendar for next. Feb 9, 8-11am.
Designed for kids ages 6-12, the program is a wonderful way to introduce children to classical music. Expect the concert to last about 50 minutes and include musical storytelling and a wee bit of education (perhaps don’t bill it as such). Tickets are free, but required in advance. Register for your spot at the link. Feb 2, concerts at 10 & 11:30am. To read more about St Paul Chamber Orchestra’s family programs, jump over here.
For more tips on how to stretch the family entertainment budget: Free & Cheap – 10 Strategies for Family Fun on a Limited Income is worth a read. It’s a good reminder of simple ways we can cut down on cost when out and about together as well as offering hints on where to seek out discounts at popular museums and events.