Sunday, Dec 4
This new exhibit - the first of 10 new features coming to the museum as part of a $30 million expansion - encourages critical thinking through open-ended, hands-on activities. Kids can create ball launchers with a variety of hoses, tubes, connectors and valves; test their own contraptions; set up chain reactions using unusual materials; and imagine new ways to configure water hoses, brushes and sprayers.
Minnesota Children's Museum, St. PaulCost:
Museum admission is $9.95 for ages 1 and olderWebsite: mcm.org
The Minneapolis Downtown Council and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will again bring the city's annual holiday celebration to Loring Park. Enjoy food, drinks, movie nights, carriage rides, shopping, fireworks and visits from Santa. Thursdays - Sundays, Nov. 25 - Dec. 23.
Loring Park, MinneapolisCost:
The Minnesota Children's Museum's pop-up location at the Mall of America features a wide variety of exhibits. 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Monday - Saturday and 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Sundays.
Mall of America, BloomingtonCost:
$7.95 for ages 1 and older and free for museum membersWebsite: mcm.org/MCMatMOA
Walk through an animated story of Santa's elves preparing for Christmas at the North Pole. Meet Santa for a chat and a photo. Visit Mrs. Claus' bakery and Santa's toyshop. Through Dec. 24. See website for a variety of holiday events at multiple metro-area Macy's locations.
Free but fees apply for photos and special events.Website: macys.com/believe and macysrestaurants.com/santa
View more than 60 holiday light sculptures and animated displays as you drive through Phalen Park to benefit the St. Paul Police Foundation. 5-10 p.m. Nov. 22-Jan. 1
1615 Phalen Drive E., St. PaulCost:
$10 per car at the gate ($8 online)Website: lightsinthepark.org
Meander through decorated booths modeled after German Christkindlmarkts, featuring the work of local crafters and artisans, along with performances by carolers, dancers, musicians, plus visits from Santa and his reindeer. Dec. 1-4, 8-1. See time schedule on the website.
Union Depot, St. PaulCost:
Test your brain power and problem-solving skills like never before in a brand new exhibition of brainteasers and puzzles. Visitors can try to manipulate a tilt table, form patterns in rolling chairs, compete with a conveyer belt, maneuver a flying machine and more.
Science Museum of Minnesota, St. PaulCost:
This exhibit is included in regular museum admission, which costs - as of Nov. 1 - $18.95 for adults and $12.95 for ages 4-12 and 60 and olderWebsite: smm.org
Santa and his elf friend celebrate the holidays with 20-minute theatrical performances for families. Guests are encouraged to participate in a sing-a-long of holiday carols at the end and to take their own pictures with Santa. Kids can also visit a corral of live reindeer and stop by the craft counter for children's activities. Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 18
Bachman's on Lyndale, MinneapolisCost:
This all-ages musical adaptation - based on Charles Tazewell's beloved book - follows the adventures and misadventures of a little angel who creates one disaster after another after he gets to heaven. Dec. 2-18. See website for performance times.
Youth Performance Company, MinneapolisCost:
Tickets start at $5.Website: youthperformanceco.org
Back-by-popular-demand, this rambunctious musical - created by Minneapolis' own Children's Theatre Company - tells the heart-warming, classic story of Cinderella's transformation, including holiday carols, updated pop-culture references, physical comedy, audience participation and silly gags, plus grand sets and lavish costuming. Various showtimes Nov. 8-Jan. 8
Children's Theatre Company, MinneapolisCost:
Tickets start at $15Website: childrenstheatre.org
Visit the historic Turnblad Mansion with the kids for a variety of holiday events, seasonal displays and children's activities. Celebrations of Light (Nov. 13), Let's Talk Turkey (Nov. 18), Gingerbread House Workshop (Nov. 25), Making Traditions (Nov. 26), Julgladje (Nov. 26-27), Julmarknad/Christmas Market (Dec. 3-4), Lucia's Legend (Dec. 9), Lucia Celebration (Dec. 10), Lucia in the Mansion (Dec. 13), Neighborhood Holiday Open House (Dec. 14), Tiny Tomtes (Dec. 16 -17), Winter Solstice (Dec. 21) and Little Christmas Eve/Lilla Julafton (Dec. 23)
American Swedish Institute, MinneapolisCost:
Various. Regular museum admission is $9 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for ages 6-18 and free for ages 5 and younger.Website: asimn.org
This second-annual multi-generational exhibit features elaborately decorated gingerbread houses from community members alongside iconic Twin Cities buildings made of gingerbread, including the Minnesota State Capitol, First Avenue and U.S. Bank Stadium, all made by local bakers and judged by local food critics. Nov. 22-Jan. 8. More details, gingerbread recipes and patterns are available online.
Norway House, MinneapolisCost:
Free for ages 12 and younger and $5 for ages 13 and olderWebsite: norwayhouse.org
This popular hands-on STEM-centered exhibit is back to teach little engineers problem solving, mathematics, physics, spatial relations and time telling, too, open through Dec. 4. Photo by Bruce Wilcox.
Minnesota Children's Museum, St. Paul
Museum admission is $9.95 for ages 1 and older.Website: mcm.org
Monday, Dec 5
This all-ages musical adaptation - based on Charles Tazewell's beloved book - follows the adventures and misadventures of a little angel who creates one disaster after another after he gets to heaven. Dec. 2-18
Youth Performance Company, MinneapolisCost:
Tickets start at $5Website: youthperformanceco.org
Does toast always land butter-side down? Does running in the rain get you less wet than walking through it? Can you really make a canoe out of duct tape? Spend a day as a MythBuster at this traveling exhibit, inspired by the Discovery Channel's Emmy-nominated series, which specializes in testing wild hypotheses through entertaining experiments. Through Jan. 15
Mall of America, Bloomington