Winter Frolic – North West Company Fur Post

North West Company Fur Post Winter Frolic

This Saturday (January 20th) would be a great time to head to the North West Company Fur Post, located near Pine City.  The Fur Post is part of the Minnesota Historical Society.  The Winter Frolic event takes place from 12-4.  It’s supposed to be a bit warmer, so only minimal layers will be needed.  If you have a Historical Society membership, you can save 20% on admission to the event.

North West Company Fur Post Winter Frolic

Shake off the winter blues by heading outdoors at the fur post. Learn about winter travel during the fur trade and join in activities like throwing a curling stone, playing a round of Ojibwe snow snake, or snowshoeing along two miles of trails.

Guests can also relax indoors, enjoy a cup of cocoa before a blazing fire; watch the outdoors festivities from the visitor center and play period parlor games.


Central Park Ice Skating Loop: Maple Grove

Maple Grove Central Park Ice Skating Loop

One of our favorite things to do in the winter is ice skating.  We enjoy exploring different ponds and skating rinks.  It can be a great thrifty sport, especially if you own your own skates.  Skates can be found at thrift stores or check with friends and neighbors to see if they have skates collecting dust.

Some friends of ours recently moved to Maple Grove and told us about the Central Park Ice Skating Loop.  We’ve visited the park in the summer and loved it.  It’s now on our list to try the loop for skating in the winter. You can find more information here, on their website.

Do you have a favorite ice skating spot that we can try out?  We love to explore new places!

Centennial Lakes Park Winter Ice Festival

Next Sunday is the 28th Annual Centennial Lakes Park Winter Ice Festival in Edina.  The festival is a free event, no admission fees although if you need to rent ice skates there’s a fee.  If you have your own skates, bring them and skate for free.

Hopefully the weather cooperates, this is a great family friendly event.  The first year we went we had to bundle up but enjoyed a horse drawn wagon ride.

Join us at Centennial Lakes from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14 to celebrate the 28th-Annual Winter Ice Festival! The event is free and will have face-painters, horse-drawn wagon rides and ice sculpting demonstrations.

Tech Nature – Bloomington Wildlife Refuge

Your smart phone can be a great tool in nature.  Not sure how?  Join others at the Bloomington Wildlife Refuge for Tech Nature, a chance to learn about making your smart phone be a tool in nature.

The sessions are free and no registration required.  Tech Nature will be offered January 6, February 24 and March 17th from 1-3pm.

Saturday, January 6
Saturday, February 24
Saturday, March 17
1-3 p.m.
Bloomington Education and Visitor Center (Auditorium)

There are a million apps available for smartphones and now there are many apps specifically for enjoying nature or engaging in citizen science projects. Join Ranger Sharon to learn more about how to find and identify wildlife, report your sightings and even take pictures and video- all with the amazing smartphone in your pocket.

with National Park Service Ranger Sharon Stiteler

S’more Nature Fun at the Maplewood Nature Center

Winter doesn’t have to mean we stay inside.  It just means we bundle up more.  S’more Nature Fun at the Maplewood Nature Center is an event for all ages.

The event takes place Saturday, December 30th from 1:30-3 and they ask that you register in advance.  Click here to register on their website.  Cost is $5 per person.

(All Ages) It is FUN to be outside in the wintertime! Take a walk or snowshoe down to the pond with the naturalist for a fun exploration then make some Smore’s on the campfire. Yum! Gluten-free and vegan S’more options available upon request. Fee: $5/person. Register by Thursday, Dec 28

Outdoor Candlelight Event Roundup

We thought we would share several fun outdoor candlelight events coming up throughout Minnesota.  The common thread is that each of them includes some sort of luminary or candlelight. Some are hiking or walking, while others include snowshoeing or cross country skiing.  Each event is unique with different scenery offered.  Several are free, however some have a small admission or advance registration required to participate.

We have provided links to each event for more information.  It’s also important to mention that the weather does not always cooperate, so check with the individual event if there’s no snow or bad weather conditions.

If you know of others that we have not mentioned please let us know, we would love to include them in our roundup.

Dec 30-Feb 24th:  Minnesota State Park Events

Dec 31 Little Falls that we mentioned previously.

               Richfield Woodlake Nature Center 

Jan 12:  West St. Paul’s Thompson Park 

Jan 20:  Lanesboro Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center

Jan 26:  Hastings Spring Lake Park

Feb 2:    Roseville Harriet Alexander Nature Center

Feb 3:    Minneapolis Luminary Loppet

Feb 10:  Eagan Lebanon Hills Regional Park

              Duluth Hartley Nature Center






Northwoods Holiday Fest

The Northwoods Holiday Fest is a chance to bundle up and have some outdoor fun.  The Holiday Fest takes place December 30th, from 10-4 at the Forest History Center near Grand Rapids.  Make sure to dress for the occasion because you will miss out many of the activities if you don’t.  Sledding, sleigh rides, games and more.  More specifics can be found here on the Minnesota Historical Society Website. 

Revel in a winter wonderland of family fun with trolley and sleigh rides, dog sleds, sledding, snowshoeing, snow sculptures, a snow fort and launching snowballs and water balloons with a giant slingshot. Visitors can also tour the logging camp under winter conditions and enjoy wildlife shows and games inside the visitor center.

Family New Year’s Eve at Lebanon Hills

Still undecided what to do to celebrate New Year’s Eve?  There’s a great Family New Year’s Eve event at Lebanon Hills in Eagan.  Reasonably priced, with lots of activities both indoor and outdoor.  The admission is $10 per person for age 5 and up.  No registration required, pay at the door.

Celebrate all things winter with candlelight ice skating, hiking and snowshoeing; slide on our lit sledding hill; and warm up at a roaring bonfire; or head inside for a magician, live animals and storytelling. Stay for the countdown and ball drop at 7:59 PM. Bring your own sleds and ice skates. Snowshoe rental available. Hot food available for purchase from Kabomelette Food Truck & Bacon-Me-Crazy Food Truck.

Ages: All Ages

Fee: $10/person at the door. Ages 5 and under free.
Tickets at the door only. No pre-registration available

Cross Country Skiing at Night

Many of us look forward to Winter for one reason, the snow.  We live in Minnesota so we might as well embrace it and enjoy the winter activities right?  While cross country skiing is fun, many of us work during the day and have a hard time fitting it into our schedule.

The Three Rivers Park District has the perfect solution; skiing at night and saving money at the same time.  If you ski during evening after 6pm you can save 50% off of ski rentals.  With four different locations to choose from, it provides a nice variety of scenery. You can choose from: Cleary, Elm Creek, French or Hyland and take advantage of 50 percent off cross-country ski rental sets. View regular rental rates.

Newly Opened Backyard Indoor Playground

With below zero temps in the forecast, it’s time to look for indoor options for the kids.  The snow is fun too, however there are days we need warm fun.  We recently discovered a new indoor play area called Backyard Indoor Playground.

Located in Golden Valley and geared for kids up to age 12.  My favorite part is that there are areas for the younger crowd as well as the older kids.  Of course the fact that it’s reasonably priced is a huge bonus as well.

The west metro’s newest indoor playground is a 3,000-square-foot, temperature-controlled creative play space with areas for kids ages 2–5 and 6–12. It rises three stories high with slides, cargo climbs, and interconnecting tunnels children can explore for hours.

Go on a safari, or to outer space, or on a pirate cruise in search of treasure—the only limitation is your imagination. Try out their super slides, twisty tubes, cargo climbs, bumper balls, log rollers, cave crawls, and more!

Backyard Indoor Playground is open Mondays through Saturdays 9 am to 8 pm and on Sundays from 9:30 am to 5 pm.