Rice Park Tree Lighting

With the snowflakes falling last night I can finally say, the holidays are around the corner.  Prior to that, I was really hoping winter wasn’t quite here and the holidays were months away.  Yes indeed, sooner than later.  It also means, mark the calendars for upcoming holiday and winter events.

Next Saturday, November 18th, is the Rice Park Tree Lighting event.  The lights will stay lit until mid March, which means plenty of opportunity to see and enjoy the beautiful scene.

Date: Saturday, November 18 2017

Saint Paul will officially kick off the holiday season with the grand opening of Wells Fargo WinterSkate and Rice Park powered by Xcel Energy.

Location: Rice Park

Time: 3:30 PM to 10:00 PM

109 W 4th Street , Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102Those who attend the free grand opening event will be the first to skate on the free, outdoor, artificially-chilled ice rink in downtown Saint Paul as well as view the 11th annual lighting of Rice Park and the city’s holiday tree will be lit with 15,000 LED lights. There will be musical performances, photo opportunities, fireworks and more.

  • Wells Fargo WinterSkate Rink open November 18 – February 4, 201
  • Grand Opening – Saturday, November 18, 2017
  • Festivities begin at 3:30pm
  • Photo Opportunity with Live Reindeer and Sleigh
  • Teddy Bear Band
  • Skating Performances
  • Fireworks in Rice Park at 6:30pm
  • Ribbon Cutting at the Wells Fargo WinterSkate Rink at 7:00pm
  • Rink opens for Skating at 7:15pm

Bat Week Celebration

This week just happens to be Bat Week, an annual, international celebration of the role of bats in nature.  The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, will be hosting a Bat Week Celebration.  The event takes place on Saturday, October 28th from 9-3, a free event and all ages are welcome to attend and participate in several Bat themed events.

The third annual free Bat Week Celebration will be held from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28 at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge visitor center in Bloomington, Minn.

Bats! These creatures of the night, often associated with Halloween, are frequently considered to be scary and creepy, but they are actually fascinating and vital to the health of our environment and economy. Participants can learn more about bats (and why they need our help now more than ever) and build a FREE bat house to be used by bats to raise their pups. Other activities include a demonstration cave to explore, bat survey technology demonstration by MN DNR, U.S. Forest Service bat tracking activity, bat chats (including a talk on the latest in white-nose syndrome research by U of MN researcher), face painting, information on planting for bats (free seed packets), bat trivia, arts and crafts, and bat-related interactive art with local artists.

The City of Bloomington and Artistry are coordinating three free creative activities, led by Artists from Springboard for the Arts ReadyGo program, to join the event. Celebrate bats through art and make your own postcards using a 100-year-old letterpress, receive a 19th-century style photographic portrait, and help create a bat quilt which will be on display at the Visitor Center.

There is no need to preregister, all activities for the bat celebration are open to the public. For more information about the Bat Week Celebration event, call 952-854-5900 or email minnesotavalley@fws.gov.

Raptor Watch

The Dakota County Parks – forever wild, is hosting a Raptor Watch at the Spring Lake Park Reserve, just outside of Hastings.  You can join others, spotting Eagles and other birds on Sunday from 1-3pm.  It’s a free event but they are requesting that you register in advance so they can better plan for the event.  You can register here on the park website. 

Join our park naturalist (who is a birding expert) for the great raptor migration as seen from towering bluffs along the Mississippi River in Spring Lake Park Reserve, Hastings.

Search the skies over Schaar’s Bluff for migrating raptors. Binoculars provided or bring your own.
Ages: All ages.

Apple Celebration in Eden Prairie

What’s your favorite part of the fall season?  I love fall, mostly because I can finally wear my wool sweaters, but I also love apples right off the tree.  A little bit sour and a little bit sweet, that’s the best kind of apple.  This Sunday’s the Apple Celebration in Eden Prairie.  It takes place from 1-3 with a small fee of $7 per family.  The event will be at the Eden Prairie Outdoor Center.

  • Apple Cider Press Demo’s
  • Apple Stories
  • Games
  • Fun for the whole family

You can register here on the event website or pay when you arrive at the event.






Hyland Hills Fall Chairlift Rides

Mark your calendar for a different perspective on fall.  Friday and Saturday you can take one of the Hyland Hills Fall Chairlift Rides. A chance to check out some fall colors mingling with the city.  We went last year and enjoyed the event.  They had music, food and activities up on top of the hill.  If you purchase tickets in advance for the ride it’s $5 or $6 day of the event.

Enjoy the picturesque view from the top of Mt. Gilboa, one of Hennepin County’s highest points. Meet a live raptor, view the Minneapolis skyline through a spotting scope, and play a game. At sunset, listen to live folk music from Pig’s Eye Landing, relax by a campfire and follow a lantern-lit trail. Food and beverages available for purchase. No pets allowed. In case of inclement weather, activities will be moved into the new ski chalet. Children under 2 free. Children 17 years and younger must be accompanied by a registered adult. Cost is $6 day-of, $5 pre registered here: http://bit.ly/2hYvetJ

Friday Oct. 6 5-9pm
Saturday Oct 7 4-9pm

Live Music by Pig’s Eye Landing
Friday (6:30 – 8:30 PM),
Saturday (5:30 – 6:30 PM, 7:30 – 8:30 PM)


Normandale Japanese Garden Festival

This coming Saturday, September 23rd is time for the Normandale Japanese Garden Festival.  It takes place from 11-5:30 in Bloomington near the Normandale Community College.  This is the 4th year for the Festival and it keeps getting bigger and better, with more things added.  Food, martial arts demos, shopping boutique and more! They are asking for a $10 donation to go towards admission into the event.

11:30-12:00—South Metro martial arts, Harisen Daiko
12:00-12:30—Dedication of new donor recognition display outside the garden
12:30—1:00—Koi feeding in the garden
1:15-1:45—Seiryukan Dojo Japanese sword, Harisen Daiko
2:00-2:30—South Metro martial arts, Sansei-Yonsei Kai dance, Feb Davidson koto
2:45-3:15—MN Kyudo archery, Taikollaborative taiko
3:30-4:00—Seiryukan Dojo Japanese sword, Sansei-Yonsei Kai dance, Fern Davidson koto
4:15-4:45—Taikollaborative taiko
5:00-5:30—MN Kyudo archery, Sansei-Yonsei Kai dance

Leo Hansen will be performing with the shakuhachi flute throughout the day.


Music in the Park: Coyote Wild

With summer quietly passing us by, we need to take the chance for last minute outdoor evening events.  The final free music in the park for the 2017 summer season takes place this Wednesday, September 20th in Hastings.  The Coyote Wild concert takes place from 7-8:30 at the Rotary Pavilion at Levee Park right on the water.

Coyote Wild puts on a high energy country rock show you won’t want to miss! Enjoy a great mix of classic rock and contemporary country. This is a FREE event. Head to the RiverWalk for our final Music in the Park concert.

Party in the Prairie

We attended the Party in the Prairie last year, located at the Richardson Nature Center in Bloomington.  It’s a great event with live music, nature activities, food and fun.  It’s not a huge venue, so this year they are urging and asking for advance registration.  The event takes place next Saturday, September 23rd from 3-8:30.  You find more information as well as purchase tickets here. *discounted tickets available at Twin Cities The North Face retail stores.

Live music and local flavors in a beautiful setting. Enjoy Americana, folk and bluegrass performances by Chastity Brown, The Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League, The May North and The Eelpout Stringers. Scale a 25-foot climbing wall, meet live animals, and collect insects. Discover the beauty of prairies on a guided hike or digital scavenger hunt. Meet with plant and wildlife experts and create a “seed bomb” craft with native prairie seeds. Join Hennepin County Library for Storytime in the Amphitheater, go on a self-guided Story Stroll, and borrow a nature book. Play lawn games and sample honey made at Richardson with the University of MN Bee Squad. Prairie-themed facepainting by Mad Dash Art. Food trucks (TOT BOSS, Cafe Racer, The Cave Cafe Mobile Food Truck, and WildEarth WoodFired Mobile Pizza Bakery), craft beer from LTD Brewing, and other treats (Saint Pops and Joia All Natural Soda) onsite. Bring a blanket to sit on. Sponsored by The North Face and Minnesota Parent Magazine. All Ages. $9/person. $7 discounted tickets available at local The North Face stores.
*Children under 2 years old are permitted free.*
*Capacity is limited, and tickets are expected to sell out. Advance purchase is strongly encouraged.*

Field Trip at Silverwood Park

Tomorrow, September 16th is Field Trip day at Silverwood Park.  A day to get outside and enjoy all sorts of family friendly fun.  Join the fun from 11am-5pm.  Some of the activities include:

  • Live music
  • Creative play
  • Outdoor craft market
  • Artmaking
  • New sculpture unveiling’s
  • Poetry installations
  • Lawn Games
  • Food Trucks

You can find the schedule of events, parking information as well as a list of vendors here on the event website.

Twin Cities Veg Fest

The Twin Cities Veg Fest takes place this Saturday, September 9th.  The 6th annual event will take place outdoors and will be held rain or shine.  Whether vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore, you’ll all love what this festival has to offer, something for everyone.  There’s no admission and it’s held at Como Regional Park from 11-5. 

  • Vegan cuisine
  • Cooking Demonstrations
  • Presentations
  • Free Food Samples

You’re invited to the sixth annual Twin Cities Veg Fest! Join us on Saturday, September 9 at Como Regional Park from 11am to 5pm. This year, the festival is outdoors—rain or shine!

Twin Cities Veg Fest is for everyone! Come on out and bring your friends and family. Whether vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore, you’ll all love what this festival has to offer. Enjoy free food samples, delicious vegan cuisine, fun cooking demos, and inspiring presentations.

Twin Cities Veg Fest is FREE to attend! Produced by Compassionate Action for Animals, this fun festival has free entry so that it can reach thousands of people. Save the date and join us for this great Minnesota tradition. Let’s celebrate compassion together!