Twin Cities Guide To Family Activities This Week: December 11-15, 2023

Things to do this week in Minneapolis & St Paul with your kids!

This guide covers Twin Cities family activities for the week of December 11-15, 2023. If you are in search of things to do with your family this weekend, jump over to our WEEKEND FAMILY GUIDE.

Weekend Family Guide - Family Fun Twin Cities Banner.

For more early winter and seasonal inspiration you can check our ULTIMATE 2023 TWIN CITIES HOLIDAY GUIDE, DECEMBER FAMILY GUIDE or our FAMILY FUN CALENDAR for more fun ideas on what to do this week in the Twin Cities with your kids – satisfaction guaranteed (or close to it!) 

Fun things to do in the Twin Cities on Monday, December 11, 2023

Tot Time Open Gyms in the Twin Cities Minnesota this week

Let them bounce off someone else’s walls! Our list covers open gyms for tots across the Twin Cities where they can work their wiggles off during colder weather either FREE or at a low cost to you. SEE OUR FULL LIST OF TWIN CITIES TOT TIME OPEN GYMS THIS WINTER!

Tot Time Open Gyms on Monday:

MONDAY FEATURED TOT TIME: Preschool Playtime at New Brighton Community Center

Preschool Playtime in New Brighton is double the fun because it includes open play in the gym w/ equipment and inflatables AND admission to EAGLES NEST INDOOR PLAYGROUND. This special indoor playtime is held each Mon & Wed when school is in session. December 11, 2023. 12-3pm, $8/child. 400 10th St NW, New Brighton, MN 55112.

Twin Cities storytimes on Monday:

MONDAY FEATURED STORYTIME: Family Storytime at Eden Prairie Library

565 Prairie Center Dr, Eden Prairie, MN 55344
Kids and caregivers sing, play, read, and write at these storytimes appropriate for babies, toddlers & preschoolers. December 11, 2023, 11am. FREE.


  • PRAIRIE PLAY ZONE INDOOR PLAYGROUND: Kids play half price ($2.75-$3.25) after 1pm, Mon-Fri. Located within the Eden Prairie Community Center.
  • FUN AT SCHEELS SPORTING GOODS: Inexpensive family attractions include an indoor Ferris Wheel, mini-bowling, arcade games, a target game and a huge (taxidermy) animal display. We love it on a chilly day! Located within Eden Prairie Center.

Twin Cities holiday events today

Catch the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train

The cheery Holiday Train rolls through the Twin Cities area from December 9th -13th in 2023. This is a fun Christmas tradition for many local families and offers a chance to give back during the season. Food banks will be accepting donations at each site Today’s stops: Golden Valley (Railway Crossing at Golden Hills Drive), St Louis Park (rail crossing, intersection of
W. Lake St & Library Lane) and Minneapolis (Lions Park, 37th Ave between
37th & Stinson). The train stops for you to admire the lights and hear live musical performances.
  Read more here. December 11, 2023. FREE!


Christmas at the Riverview Theater 

SCREENING TODAY: Classic holiday films White Christmas (3pm), Elf (5:15pm) and It’s a Wonderful Life (7:15pm). $5/pp or $3 with non-perishable food donation. Don’t miss the excellent and reasonably-priced popcorn! December 11, 2023.

Fun things to do in the Twin Cities on Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Tot Time Open Gyms in the Twin Cities Minnesota this week

Tot Time Open Gyms on Tuesday:

Tot Time open gyms across the Twin Cities are absolutely a saving grace for parents of squirrelly kids when it’s too cold or sloppy to be outdoors:

TUESDAY FEATURED TOT TIME: Blast & Play at Eagan Community Center 

Eagan Community Center, 1501 Central Pkwy, Eagan, MN 55121
Blast & Play Tot Time includes admission to the space-themed Blast Indoor Playground and the community center gym for open play with equipment provided. December 12, 2023, 9am-12pm. $5/child.

The Blast Indoor Playground at Eagan Central Park, Eagan MinnesotaThe Blast Indoor Playground

Twin Cities storytimes on Tuesday:


2720 West 43rd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55410
This is a popular story time for toddlers & preschoolers in the sweet Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis. Stick around to see how many critters (yes, animal critters) you can spot slinking around the store! December 12, 2023, 10:30am. FREE.

Girl standing in front of the tiny people door at the Wild Rumpus Bookshop in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Twin Cities holiday events – where can I find Santa today?

ST ANTHONY: Santa on a Fire Truck

What a jolly good fellow! St. Anthony Fire Department and Santa will be collecting donations for Toys for Tots and bringing some holiday cheer to this neck of the Twin Cities. Location: South of 37th Ave NE & East of Silver Lake Rd. December 12 (and 13), 2023, 5:30pm. FREE. 

WHITE BEAR LAKE: Children’s Storytime at the Fillebrown with Santa

Fillebrown House, 4735 Lake Avenue, White Bear Lake, MN, 55110
Santa Claus will be hosting an old-fashioned Christmas story time at the Fillebrown cottage. Families can snap a photo with Santa and enjoy cider and cookies while he reads a holiday story. Pajamas are welcome at this evening event. December 12, 2023; 6:30-8pm. $10/pp. Pre-registration required. Where else can I find Santa Claus in the Twin Cities?

More family fun ideas for Tuesday: Indoor activities

Mall of America Toddler Tuesday

This week features storytime with Mrs Claus and a talent show starring Santa’s elves. Plus, on Toddler Tuesdays you can purchase an unlimited ride wristband for Nickelodeon Universe for just $15 and kids eat free at participating restaurants w/ purchase of an adult meal. December 12, 2023, 10am-12pm.

Family fun Twin Cities' Guide to the Mall of America - floor by floor - Title backdrop Pineapple Poppers ride at Nickelodeon Universe in the Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota

More family fun ideas for Tuesday: STEM outing

Visit Como Planetarium

780 W Wheelock Pkwy #1315, St Paul, MN 55117
Learn all about the night sky during the winter and see it for yourself on the planetarium screen. Educational, entertaining and a budget outing at $6-$8/pp. December 12, 2023, shows at 5:30 & 7pm.

Fun things to do in the Twin Cities on Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Tot Time Open Gyms in the Twin Cities Minnesota this week

Tot Time Open Gyms on Wednesday:

WEDNESDAY FEATURED OPEN GYM: Plymouth Fieldhouse Open Play

When the temps dip, field house opens up for kids who need to run and scoot around indoors. Balls and objects for free play are provided – and inflatables for kids up to age 12 make a special appearance on Wednesdays. The fieldhouse is heated to 55 degrees so dress accordingly. December 13, 2023, 10:30am to 1:30pm, ages 12 & under, $5-$7/pp. 14800 34th Ave., Plymouth, MN 55447-1482.

Twin Cities storytimes on Wednesday

WEDNESDAY FEATURED STORYTIME: Red Balloon Bookshop Storytimes

891 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105
We love to feature independent bookshops and encourage you to explore and support them. Red Balloon offers baby & toddler storytime each Wednesday. Get there early for the best seating! December 13, 2023, 10:30am.

Summer Reading Programs at Local Bookstores

Twin Cities holiday events today

Canadian Pacific Holiday Train

Today’s stops: Loretto (Hennepin County Road 19 railway crossing, 4:15pm) & Buffalo (5th Street Northeast crossing, 5:45pm). December 13, 2023. FREE.

Where can I find Santa in the Twin Cities?

Oakdale Firetruck Santa Visist

Santa will be cruisin’ around Oakdale via firetruck today starting at 6pm. Catch him along his route with this schedule: North Fire Station (6-6:15pm), Oakdale Discovery Center (6:20-6:35pm), Hadley Ave and Eberle Park (6:40-6:55pm), Hadley Ave and Stillwater Blvd (7-7:15pm) & Oakdale City Hall (7:20-7:35pm). December 13, 2023.

More family fun ideas for Wednesday: Try a new indoor play space

For Minnesota parents it’s a must to know where to escape the elements and still keep those kids active and having fun. During the months of November through March we feature the best indoor playgrounds in the Minneapolis-St Paul area in the hopes of helping you discover something new: This week we highlight MAPLE MAZE INDOOR PLAYGROUND within the Maplewood Community Center. Four whole levels of slides and obstacles to navigate make for a full afternoon of fun. There’s a dedicated toddler space, too. 12951 Weaver Lake Rd, Maple Grove, MN 55369.

Find our ultimate list of twin cities-area indoor playgrounds!

Maple Maze Indoor Playground in Maple Grove Minnesota

Toddler Day Open House at the Raptor Center

1920 Fitch Ave, St Paul, MN 55108
Here’s your chance to attend a preschooler-friendly open house at this University facility that treats hundreds of injured raptors each year. On the schedule: mini-tours, storytime and a coloring activity. December 13, 2023, 10-11am. $10/adult; up to 2 kids FREE.

Collage of visit to Raptor Center in Saint Paul Minnesota: Left: two bald eagles; Right top: little girl playing with eagle puppet. Right Bottom young by examining wing and nest.

Fun things to do in the Twin Cities on Thursday, December 14, 2023

Tot Time Open Gyms in the Twin Cities Minnesota this week

Tot Time Open Gym on Thursday:

THURSDAY FEATURED OPEN GYM: Tot Times at St Paul Recreation Centers

It’s fun, unstructured, nearly always free and a total sanity-saver during our cold months. I used it routinely when my firstborn was a toddler. He thrived on the small bikes, balls, tumbling mats and other provided equipment for free physical play. The following St Paul recreation centers have tot times on Thursday mornings this winter:

Indoor Toddler Activities

Twin Cities storytimes on Thursday:

THURSDAY FEATURED STORYTIME: Lil Explorer Thursday at Como Zoo

Lil Explorer Thursdays program includes themed storytimes. This is a fantastic free event aimed at preschoolers and includes all kinds of hands-on activities, manipulatives, games and crafts. Meet in the Visitor Center. December 14, 2023, 10am-noon. FREE.

Twin Cities holiday events: Light it up tonight!

LAKE ELMO: Valley Lights at Rockpoint Church

5825 Kelvin Ave N, Lake Elmo MN 55042
Over 100,000 LED lights to enjoy. Tune your car radio in to 97.9 to experience in your vehicle. Now thru December 31, 2023, starting at 5pm. FREE.

RICHFIELD: Holiday Lights Parade

1901 East 66th Street to 67th & Lyndale, Richfield, MN 55423
Enjoy holiday lights on festive parade floats and vehicles. Santa & Mrs. Claus will be part of the parade. December 14, 2023, 6:30pm.

Map your own holiday lights route

Load the kids in the car, pack some snacks and popcorn and enjoy dancing lights, giant candy canes and glowing snowmen on your own schedule anytime before Santa’s sleigh arrives (or at least by New Year’s day). Get the whole sparkling schedule in our enormous list LIGHT IT UP: TWIN CITIES HOLIDAY LIGHTS DISPLAYS 2023.

Twin Cities Holiday Lights - Map Your Route Banner

Where can I find Santa today?

Winter Wonderland at North Dale Rec Center

71414 St Albans St N, St Paul, MN 55117
Santa will visit this wonderland of winter activities. Best for kids 12 and under. December 14, 2023; 6-8pm, FREE.

Make it a holiday movie night

Once Upon a Holiday Movie Night at Phalen Rec Center

1000 E Wheelock Pkwy, St Paul, MN 55106
Dig out your favorite PJs and cozy up for a holiday movie and hot chocolate. Spots are limited, please register in advance. December 14, 2023, 6:30-8pm. FREE.

Fun things to do in the Twin Cities on Friday, December 15, 2023

Tot Time Open Gyms in the Twin Cities Minnesota this week

Tot Time Open Gyms on Friday:

FRIDAY FEATURED OPEN GYM: Gleason’s Gymnastics Open Gyms

2015 Silver Bell Rd #180, Eagan, MN 55122
So flipping fun! This used to be a family go-to when the cold set in and my kids needed to get their wiggles out. Yours will love the opportunity to bounce on trampolines, scoot through obstacle courses, and play on the gym equipment. Register in advance for a discount. And hey, teens and tweens! There’s an open gym for you, too. Preschool open gym: Friday, December 15, 2023. 9:30 – 11:30am. Pre-register: $10/child; $15/family ($13/$20 at the door).Collage of Preschool Open Gym at Gleason's Gymnastics School in Minnesota

Twin Cities storytimes on Friday:

Nature play on Friday: Discover a new nature center

Roughly two dozen nature and interpretive centers in the Twin Cities metro are just begging to get your kids excited about the natural world. Through hands-on exhibits, naturalist-led activities and plain old play, these venues make learning fun! This week we would like to introduce you to RICHARDSON NATURE CENTER in Bloomington. Inside, visitors can meet Richardson’s resident raptors, reptiles, and amphibians up close. There are many kid-friendly exhibits such as a puppet theater, child-sized tables and chairs for reading and puzzles, and aquariums at just the right height. Outside enjoy the nature exploration area. Admission is free. 8737 East Bush Lake Road, Bloomington, MN 55438.

SPECIAL EVENT: MY PRESCHOOLER & ME: WHEN WINTER COMESExplore nature outdoors with your preschooler (age 2-6) plus an indoor story and craft. Reservations are required. December 15, 2023, 10-11:30am. $6/person. 

Have yourself a historical little Christmas

Christmas on Oliver Kelley Farm Tours

15788 Kelley Farm Rd. Elk RiverMN 55330
Board the sleigh for a ride out to the nineteenth-century farmstead to discover how farm families celebrated Christmas. Enjoy light refreshments, too. Tours last approximately one hour and must be booked in advance online. December 15, 4:30-7pm, $8-$12/pp.

Shine on: Twin Cities holiday lights displays & events

GLOW Holiday Festival

CHS Field, 360 N Broadway St, St Paul, MN 55101
CHS Field is converted to a walking tour of holiday decorations and Christmas delights. There will still be a parade of dozens seasonal scenes featuring a plethora of holiday lights, a 60-foot illuminated tree and an art-created mosaic flame, a festive Santa Land, and other attractions. Grab a map and follow the trai to find a “sElfie Plaza”, an enchanted forest, a s’mores station, concessions and more. Tickets: $12.75-$20.75/pp. Now-December 31, 2023.

GLOW Holiday Festival - The Great Minnesota Holiday Get-Together Artwork Horizontal

Sever’s Holiday Lights

Sever’s Festival Grounds, 3121 W 150th St, Shakopee, MN 55379
Holiday light shows, Winter Carnivals, and more. Now thru January 2024, Sun & weekdays 5pm-9pm; weekends 5pm-10pm. $25-$55/vehicle.


Too many fun things to list here, I’ll tell you that. So we publish a separate guide each weekend with up-to-the-last-minute ideas for spending family time together.


Weekend Family Guide - Family Fun Twin Cities Banner.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top