Twin Cities Guide to Family Activities This Week: January 1-5, 2024

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

This guide covers Twin Cities family activities for the week of January 1-5, 2024 — still winter break for many. If you are in search of things to do with your family this weekend, jump over to our WEEKEND FAMILY GUIDE.

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Best wishes for extra family fun in 2024! For more winter inspiration you can check our JANUARY FAMILY GUIDE, ULTIMATE TWIN CITIES WINTER SURVIVAL 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, January 1, 2024

New Year’s Day in the Twin Cities

Lots of kids are enjoying their last or last few days of winter break today (my own kids included). There may still be some ideas worth checking out on our list of 16 THINGS TO DO OVER WINTER BREAK IN THE TWIN CITIES (plus, many apply throughout the winter season).

Traditionally, we list the day’s Tot Time open gyms & library storytimes here, but most city facilities are closed today to observe the start of the New Year. Instead of an indoor activity, why not take advantage of the extra degrees added to the temp outdoors this week and explore some new parks on one of these hunts:

St Paul Gnome Winter Scavenger Hunt

St. Paul’s annual Gnome Hunt has been renewed for another winter season. Online clues will help you find 8 gnomes hidden in eight different St. Paul parks locations. Once found, post a selfie with the gnome using hashtag #stpgnometakeover. A hint from the city of St Paul’s website: “The Gnomes are hiding in some of Saint Paul’s best places to take a winter hike or walk.” Clever way to get the kids outside!

The Great Minnetonka Yeti Hunt

11522 Minnetonka Blvd, Minnetonka MN 55305
The City of Minnetonka presents their third annual Yeti Hunt! A stuffed Yeti will be hidden somewhere top secret in BIG WILLOW PARK. Check the city’s website for more info on solving the riddle & winning a prize. Through January 3, 2024. 


Como Zoo’s Noon Year’s Confetti Dance Party

1225 Estabrook Drive, St. Paul, MN 55103
A FREE dance party at Como Zoo. Make crafts, paint your face, take selfies, play games, dance, and countdown to noon. There will also be zookeeper and gardener talks, animal programs and the Sparky Show! January 1, 2024. 10am-1pm. FREE.

Kwanzaa Celebration at Midtown Global Market

920 E. Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55407
FINAL DAY! Celebrate Kwanzaa with freedom and gospel songs, food and more. The free event takes place in Center Court. January 1, 2024, 12-4pm.

Fun things to do in the Twin Cities on Tuesday, January 2, 2024

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 

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. January 2, 2024, 9am-12pm. $5/child.

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

Twin Cities storytimes on Tuesday:


Indoor play on Tuesday: Climbing the walls

Base Camp Open Climb & Archery

6202 Bloomington Rd, St Paul, MN 55111
Base Camp is an ideal place to try out exciting physical activities like open rock climbing and archery. Ages 5+ are invited to try scaling the indoor engineered rock walls on the first Tuesday of the month. Please pre-register. January 2, 2024, 6-9pm. $10/climber. 

Rock Climbers receiving instruction at Base Camp in Bloomington Minnesota

Fun things to do in the Twin Cities on Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Tot Time Open Gyms in the Twin Cities Minnesota this week

Tot Time Open Gyms on Wednesday:

WEDNESDAY 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. January 3, 2024. Preschool open gym: Wednesdays & Fridays: 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 Wednesday:

WEDNESDAY FEATURED STORYTIME: Storytime at Be With Me Playseum

Ridgedale Center, 12705 Wayzata Blvd, Minnetonka, MN 55305
Familiar with the Minnesota Children’s Museum? This is a similar, scaled-down version where kids can play around mini-sota-scapes. Storytime is included with admission and offered at 11am & 4pm followed by a snack and a sensory activity. $15/pp admission.


Indoor Playgrounds in the Twin Cities, Minnesota - Child Playing in a Ball Pit

More family fun ideas for Wednesday:

Special Open Swim hours at Great River Water Park

270 Lexington Pkwy N, St Paul, MN 55104
Monday, Wednesday and Friday hours are “children’s pool only” from 9am-10am at this perfect little indoor splash spot. And admission isn’t bad either – $7/pp or $25 for a group of 5. January 3-5 will also have winter break open swim hours from 1:30-5:30pm. January 3, 2024.

Student Climb Night at Dick’s House of Sport

12547 Ridgedale Ctr, Minnetonka, MN
Does your kid want to dabble in rock climbing without a big $ investment? Try this: 15 minutes to try 8 vertical climbing routes for just $5. Reserve your spot between 4-8pm. January 3, 2024 (and ongoing Wednesdays).

Where can I see the trains on Wednesday?

Mid-week is excellent to spot trains in the Twin Cities if that’s what your little ones (or big ones) are into. Here’s are a couple of places to consider; plan ahead and find more on our article MINNEAPOLIS-ST PAUL, A TRAIN LOVERS DESTINATION:

  • TOTS & TRAINS AT JACKSON STREET ROUNDHOUSE – Play at the train tables, run through a read train car, hear a train-themed story and more. Located in St Paul. January 3, 2024. Please note that the website ticket link says this event starts at 10:30 but the event description states 10am. Please call to confirm. $9-$15/pp or $45/family.
  • GAMES GALORE AT UNION DEPOT – Play life-sized versions of favorite games like chess & Connect Four in the historic depot, then watch some of the modern trains roll in outside. January 3, 2024, 10am-8pm. FREE.
Girl by train car at the Minnesota Transportation Museum in Saint Paul, MN
Minnesota Transportation Museum – Jackson Street Roundhouse

Fun things to do in the Twin Cities on Thursday, January 4, 2024

Tot Time Open Gyms in the Twin Cities Minnesota this week

Tot Time Open Gym on Thursday:

THURSDAY FEATURED OPEN GYM: TCO Sports Garden Toddler Thursdays

Little ones with energy to spare: Come to Field 1 for indoor activities such as a bouncy house, kicking around soccer balls and open field time with room to run.  The fieldhouse is kept at 55 degrees so dress with this in mind. January 4, 2024, 9:30-11:30am. FREE!

TCO Sports Garden sign on the front of the new sports complex.
Image courtesy of Ramsey County Parks & Recreation

Twin Cities storytimes on Thursday:

THURSDAY FEATURED STORYTIME: Nature Storytime at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden

1 Theodore Wirth Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55405
Nature stories and an activity for kids led by garden naturalists – meet inside the trailhead (and dress for the weather). January 4, 2024, 10-10:30am. FREE.

Lil Explorer Thursday at Como Zoo

1225 Estabrook Dr, St Paul, MN 55103
Lil Explorer Thursdays program includes two 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. January 5, 2023, 10am-noon. FREE.

First Thursday Nature Play at Wargo Nature Center

7701 Main St, Lino Lakes, MN 55038
Kids ages 2-5 can explore a nature topic each month both indoors and out. Dress for the weather. These spots fill quickly – act fast or plan ahead for next month. January’s theme is “Winter Fun”. Choose between 9am and 11am sessions. January 4, 2024, $5/pp.

Fun things to do in the Twin Cities on Friday, January 5, 2024

Tot Time Open Gyms in the Twin Cities Minnesota this week

Tot Time Open Gyms on Friday:

FRIDAY FEATURED OPEN GYM: Plymouth Fieldhouse Open Play

14800 34th Ave, Plymouth, MN 55447-1482
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. January 5, 2024, 10:30am to 1:30pm, ages 12 & under, $5-$7/pp. 

Twin Cities storytimes on Friday:

More ideas for Friday night family fun:

Forever Wild Family Friday: Sledding party

Lebanon Hills Regional Park, 860 Cliff Road, Eagan MN
Bring your own sled for a night of sledding and snow-sculpting. Meet at the visitor center. January 5, 2023, 6-7:30pm.

Fun things to do this weekend in the Twin Cities, January 6-7, 2024

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.


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