It’s the 10th Anniversary of Urban Expeditions at Landmark Center in St. Paul


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DSCF7304The Landmark Center is a historical building right in the heart of downtown St. Paul.  It was once the federal building for the city which included courtrooms and the post office.  Today it is a landmark (ha!) and houses not only the historical information of the building but also many different museums.  

Beginning on January 19th,  the Landmark Center invites you to join them on their Urban Expeditions which takes you to a different country and experience the culture firsthand without leave the comfort of town and for FREE.
 
This is the 10th Anniversary and it promises to be extraordinary with extra prizes and giveaways!  Held on scheduled Sundays (see schedule below)  from 1:00 – 3:00 pm, the Landmark Center transforms into a center of cultural whirlwind. 
 
Last year, my daughters and I decided to give it a try, and visited the land of Argentina.  However,  our  first adventure when we made it to St. Paul was finding parking.  Street Parking is free on Sundays, but  it’s not easy to find.  I recommend finding a parking ramp along Wabasha Street instead of by the Xcel Energy Center.  They will be much more inexpensive along Wabasha Street, and it’s just a couple of blocks away. 
 
DSCF7300When we first entered the building, we were greeted with animals native to Argentina: llamas, alpacas, goats, a giant flemish rabbit, and a big rodent of unpronounceable name.  I wasn’t super thrilled with the rodent, but the other animals were adorable.  I kept referring to The Emperor’s New Groove for a point of reference for my children. 

 
DSCF7312From the animals, we walked into the Musser Cortile room where the programming was started.  Culture presentations and tango demonstrations as well as a folkdance workshop took place here inviting you to have a whole body experience.  We sat down to enjoy the dancing only to be asked to stand and participate in the Chacarera (a traditional Argentinian dance). 

We learned the baseball move–to go around the diamond, we learned how to run a homerun–to turn in a circle, and half of us learned to shine the floor and the other half perfected the baseball move.  All the while with our hands in the air.  It was hilarious!

 

When we tired of the dancing activity, we checked out the other activities.  They were spread around the entire room.  We picked up our passport and got our passport photos taken.  The girls made tissue paper flowers to wear in their hair.DSCF7325


DSCF7326I tried an empanada.  The girls didn’t think they would like them because they were told they were hot: which ultimately they interpreted as spicy….but they weren’t spicy.  They were really good. 

DSCF7327And we colored postcards and sent them to our family!  REALLY!  The Landmark Center mailed them for us.  The only problem was that we needed to know the addresses…so Grandma K will be receiving 2 postcards and Grandma F hopefully 1 ( I cannot remember their zip code to save my life).

DSCF7337This whole event was co-presented by the Tango Society of Minnesota (TSOM).  For the last hour of the event, dancers from the TSOM performed different tango dances.  I’m glad their were other things to do.  This part wasn’t as exciting as I was hoping.  

Ultimately, the girls loved the tango (and that’s the most important thing), but I don’t think I understand dance enough to be impressed.  What I saw was a bunch of couples standing too close to each other to move.  

However, I did learn that Argentinian men don’t ask women to dance with their mouths.  They ask them to dance with their eyes  (oooooh), and if the women don’t want to dance, they avoid eye contact at all cost!

Highlights

  • It wasn’t very busy.  There was plenty of room to move around and wasn’t overly crowded.  
  • The staff/volunteers were very welcoming and kind (minus one who was a little grumpy). 
  • There was a wide variety of activity and something for everyone to enjoy. 
  • It was interactive.  Learning to dance the Chacarera was especially fun with the engaging gaucho (Argentinian cowboy)
  • The other museums are open to enjoy.

Disadvantages 

  • There isn’t a lot of parking right next to the Landmark Center.  Since parking was free, every spot on the street was full (not that I’m good at parallel parking anyway, but you may be) 
  • If you come in the wrong door, you may go through everything backwards.  So if you do, just know that if you walk straight, you will run into the correct area to enjoy the festivities. 
  • We missed the free tour at noon–this would not be a disadvantage for you, but it was for us.
  • They hold Urban Expedition in cold winter months  in Minnesota.  It’s hard to get out the door when it’s that cold.  But don’t wait until April because it’s totally worth going, even in the cold!

 

Urban Expedition Schedule

January 19, 2014 Spain
February 9, 2014  Finland
March 2, 2014 Cambodia
April 13, 2014 Senegal
May 18, 2014  Brazil


Landmark Center 

74 W. 5th St. 
St. Paul, MN  55102
651-292-3225
 
Hours:  Monday-Saturday 10:00 am-4:00 pm 
               Sunday  12:00-4:00 pm

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About the author

Gianna Kordatzky

I am married to the craziest, most awesome man I know. We have four kids--Ranging in ages from 5-10. You can learn more about my life as a mother and wife at www.giannaraekordatzky.blogspot.com .

I love to throw parties and be with friends. I love to read my Bible and grow closer to God. I love to eat and exercise. I have learned to love coffee.
And I could really use a nap.

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