Archive - 2013

A Shark in Minnesota?
Family-Friendly Ideas for New Year’s Eve
Christmas Week Wish List

A Shark in Minnesota?

Less than a mile from my house is the biggest snow scultpure I have ever seen.  It literally covers an entire front yard.

And it’s a shark.


A 16 foot high shark.

Built by 19 year old Austin, 15 year old Connor, and 18 year old Trevor the massive shark is their 2013 labor of snow love.  This isn’t their first endeavor.  In the winter of 2011, the Bartz boys (then 17, 13, and 16) debuted their first work of art — a giant puffer fish — in their front yard.  Last year, they built a 15 foot walrus. And this year their 16 foot shark.

They determined that creating this sculpture has taken them at least 95 hours, and they have been working on it for the past month hauling snow in their sleds from their neighbors’ yards.  Those 95 hours do not include the planning time.   They usually  look online for their inspiration.  The guys want something that takes a lot of creativity and is distinguished so as you drive past, you can easily see what it is.  And each year they get bigger.


Along with building the shark, the Bartz brothers have also created a viewing area for the public, and they welcome the public to come check it out.  They love to make people happy, and if there is one thing this shark does is make people happy.

Even my sister-in-law visiting from North Carolina ventured into the subzero temperatures, the shark luring her out of the van and into the elements to get a closer look.

They have been featured on the local news stations and even on the Today Show. 

photo 5

Plans are already in the works for next year.    These guys are proof that kids still like to play outside!

Thanks, Austin, Trevor, and Connor for the innocent, creative, and exciting family fun you bring to the Twin Cities

Just take a look at how their Snow Shark Progression Video.


If you want to check out the Bartz’s Giant Snow Shark in person, you can find it on the 2700 block of 16th Street NW in New Brighton, just west of Silver Lake Road.

If you want to see their past creations, you can check out these WCCO Interviews.

The Puffer Fish

The Walrus



Family-Friendly Ideas for New Year’s Eve

Seeking out a few places to celebrate New Year’s Eve before the little ones crash? Here are a few ideas of where to party before bedtime:

Re’ZOO’lution: Como Zoo’s Noon Year’s Celebration
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory
December 31, 2013 & January 1, 2014
10am – 1pm; FREE!

Ring in the New Year with two kid-friendly celebration at the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory Visitor Center. Radio Disney will provide live entertainment on 12/31; KidsDance performs 1/1. There will also be crafts, dancing, giveaways, animal talk and a special ball drop at noon!

Toddler Tuesdays: New Year’s Eve Toddler Bash
Mall of America
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
10am – noon; FREE!

The longtime Toddler Tuesdays program gears up for the New Year this week at their regular timeslot with treats, party favors and a toddler countdown at noon. For older partygoers, Nickelodeon Universe is hosting a Moonlight Circus from 6pm – midnight. It appears the ball drop, games and live entertainment are free; add an unlimited ride wristband for (significantly) more ($30.99).

Wells Fargo WinterSkate
Landmark Plaza, 75 5th St, St. Paul
Open New Year’s Eve until 1am
Free skating, skate rental $2 or free with
Wells Fargo bank card

Skate into the New Year in beautiful Rice Park, Downtown St. Paul.

New Year’s Eve ‘Ohana Lū’au
Minnesota Children’s Museum
Tuesday, December 31 • 5 – 9 p.m.
$10/member, $14/non-member

Celebrate this New Year’s Eve at the Minnesota Children’s Museum, Hawaiian style. Dance to live music from Will Hale and the Tadpole Parade, create your own lei, construct a one-of-a-kind sand castle, and countdown to our 8 p.m. beach ball drop. Dress up in Hawaiian attire if desired. Registration is recommended; space is limited. A party meal (sandwich, drink, carrots, fruit & cookie) is available for $4 plus tax  per person from 5 – 8.45pm.

Candlelight and Ice
Wood Lake Nature Center, 6710 Lake Shore Dr., Richfield
Tuesday, December 31, 6 – 9pm

Celebrate the New Year at Wood Lake! Follow hundreds of candle-lit luminaries on a walking trail through cattails and trees while on the lookout for deer, fox, and owls. Enjoy roast marshmallows and hot cocoa. Make a craft, play a game, or just sit back and relax.

Christmas Week Wish List

It’s the weekend between Christmas and New Years Day.  Things tend to be quiet this weekend, but there are a few things on my Wish List going on this weekend.

pippiPippi Longstocking Movie

American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55407
Saturday, December 28, 2013 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Price included with Museum Admission
$9 / adults $7 / ages 62 and above $5 / ages 6-18 and full-time students with ID
Free/ ASI members and kids ages 5 and under

We are into all things Swedish this Christmas.  Pippi Longstocking is a 9 year old Swedish girl, so this is a perfect time to introduce her to my third-grade daughter.  The American Swedish Institute is showoing the Pippi Longstocking movie on Saturday.  Afterwards, children can make a “thing finder” to explore the museum with.  I thought this would pair nicely with a trip to the Red Balloon Bookshop or The Wild Rumpus to get a copy of Pippi Longstockings to read.  They both carry the paperback version (that looks like the picture to the left) for $6.99.

ChooChooBob_365x200Choo Choo Bob’s Great RiverCentre Train Show

Saint Paul RiverCentre – Exhibit Hall A, 175 West Kellogg Blvd, Saint Paul, MN 55102
Saturday and Sunday, December 28-29, 2013; 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Admission is $8.00 and children ages 7 and under are free.

Everyone who is anyone will be going to the Choo Choo Bob Train Show at the RiverCentre this weekend. this weekend.  It’s so stock full of cool train activities, it’s got to be every little boys dream.  Tickets to this would have made a good stocking stuffer (doh!).  Some of the activities your family can enjoy are:

Model railroad displays in all gauges.

  •     Model train vendors.
  •     Three FREE inflatables…jump ’til you drop.
  •     FREE ride-on train for the kids.
  •     Multiple Thomas the Tank Engine play tables.
  •     Children’s activity area.
  •     Railroad museums and authors will have displays.
  •     The Choo Choo Bob Show will be performing live on stage. Meet the cast members, sing along to your favorite songs and enjoy the live show.

MCM_ExteriorCreativity Jam

Minnesota Children’s Museum, 10 West Seventh Street, St. Paul, MN 55102
Ends January 26, 2014
Admission: $9.50/pp

This exhibit is coming to and end soon.  There is one more Free Sunday before it’s done and January is not a bad month to attend the Target Free Third Sunday.  But since this is my Wish List.  I would like to visit the Minnesota Children’s Museum once when its not a free day.  This exhibit appeals to me more than the licensed character exhibits that have been popping up more and more often.  MCM wants our hlep in developing exciting, unique programs and exhibits. While you are there give them input and feedback on experiences while exercising your own critical thinking skills.  Some of the hands-on areas include:

  • “Change”: Over-sized art and construction projects encourage children to communicate, work together and to build off and add onto others’ work. Visitors can use stickers, paint, lights and other materials to transform a “big white room” into what they imagine or hunt through a clean and safe “junk yard” to find the perfect object take apart and put back together again.
  • “Make”: In a “maker space,” children design, engineer and build projects of their own choosing using authentic tools and materials. Adults and children can create something new with sewing machines or get an up-close look at how electricity works with circuits, batteries and conductors.
  • “Create”: A unique arts programming and exhibit hybrid will get minds and hands moving as families participate in recycled cardboard challenges or ramp play where children can use ramps of all sizes and objects to test how things roll, move, slide and fall.
  • “Collaborate”: Families can test out new exhibit concepts, provide real-time feedback and insights, both offline and online, and share their own experiences and ideas as they contribute, collaborate and co-create in a “Museum Lab.”

Joy Peters is a co-creator and writer for

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