5 Fun & Educational Winter Break Activities in Minneapolis/St. Paul

The Stone Arch bridge over the Mississippi River in winter in Minneapolis, MN

It may not feel like it, but winter break is nearly here for students and families across the Twin Cities. Minneapolis and St. Paul have a wide variety of opportunities for families seeking engaging winter break activities that seamlessly blend fun and education.

Whether it’s learning about the rich history of Minnesota, marveling at a six-foot-tall baby giraffe, or delving into hands-on STEM experiences, the Twin Cities boast a wide variety of experiences for the whole family this winter! Take a look at these five local winter break activities, each offering a unique blend of excitement and learning.

1. History Hijinx: Winter Break

Tuesday, Dec 26 – Sunday, Dec 31
11:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Minnesota History Center
345 W Kellogg Blvd St. Paul, MN 55102

Snoopy in a red winter hat
MN Historical Society

Calling all history (and Peanuts) fans! Learn about Minnesota’s most famous cartoonist, Charles Schultz, and his connection to Minnesota winters during this winter break event at the Minnesota History Center.

Explore the exhibit, The Life and Art of Charles M. Schulz, and decorate your own Snoopy doghouse. The exhibit runs through June 9th and includes a family-friendly lounge with books, drawing tables, and puzzles.

Did you know? Charles Schultz’s drawings faced rejection from his school yearbook, national publications, and animation studios–even Disney!1 Thankfully for today’s millions of Peanuts fans, he never gave up.

His perseverance led to the creation of one of the most successful comic strips of all time, whose beloved characters and stories resonate across generations.

2. Baby Giraffe at the Como Zoo

Open Daily
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Como Park Zoo and Conservatory
1225 Estabrook Dr. St Paul, MN 55103

Como Park Zoo And Conservatory

Go see her before she’s all grown up! The Como Park Zoo recently welcomed a new member to their herd; baby giraffe Ivy was born November 6th, standing 6 feet tall and weighing 132lbs.

According to zoo’s website, “during the first two years of a giraffe’s life, it doubles in height, often standing over 12-feet tall,” reaching up to 18 feet in adulthood! Meet other animals and learn more fun animal facts with a trip to the Como Zoo in St. Paul this winter break.

Also at the Como Zoo: While you’re there, don’t miss the spectacular Holiday Flower Show which runs daily December 3 – January 8, 2023 from 10AM to 4PM.

3. Winter Break at the Minnesota Children’s Museum

Tuesday 12/26/23 – Friday 12/29/23
Extended Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Minnesota Children’s Museum
10 West Seventh St. St Paul, MN 55102

Exterior view of the Minnesota Children's Museum in St. Paul, MN
Courtesy Minnesota Children’s Museum

With over 10 exhibits including a four-story climber, laser maze, maker space, and more, boredom is not an option!

At the Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul, interactive exhibits and programs “provide open-ended, self-directed experiences that give kids (and adults!) the space and freedom to explore their interests, solve problems and build life skills like confidence, critical and creative thinking, communication and more.”

With extended hours during Minneapolis/St. Paul winter break, kids have even more opportunities to play, make, and learn!

Temporary Exhibit : Get curious about STEM with everyone’s favorite ape!
Curious George: Let’s Get Curious, presented locally by New Horizon Academy, offers opportunities for fun and learning through a variety of interactive experiences that help build critical lifelong skills.

The exhibit includes a number of hands-on STEM activities, such as learning about physics and engineering in a round of mini golf, using wind power to move a variety of objects, and piloting a space adventure in a rocket ship! Through January 5, 2024.

4. Bakken Museum Winter Break Camp

Wednesday 12/27/23 – Friday 12/29/23
12:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Museum Hours
Tuesday – Sunday
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

The Bakken Museum
3537 Zenith Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55416

Students working on an engineering project and other activities during winter break camp at the Bakken in Minneapolis
Courtesy of the Bakken Museum

For budding inventors aged 9-13, the Bakken Museum’s Winter Break Camp offers a unique opportunity to create, learn, and think like innovators! According to the Bakken’s website, “projects are student-led and open-ended to provide space for students to plan, build, improve, and show off a project of their design.”

Camps registration tends to fill quickly. If you missed out this winter break, not to worry: the Bakken offers workshops and camps during summer, winter, and spring breaks, so stay tuned for future offerings!

Visit the Museum: What started as a collection of rare books and scientific instruments by Medtronic founder and bio-medical pioneer Earl Bakken has grown to include 4000 square feet of exhibition space and three acres of gardens in the historic West Winds Mansion on the shore of Bde Maka Ska.2

Interactive exhibits exploring invention, plant medicine, technology, and science inspire kids and adults of all ages to celebrate creativity and innovation. The Bakken’s Science Studios are open on weekends, and feature STEM-themed activities that change monthly. A visit to the Bakken is well-worth adding to your winter break activities list!

5. Animal Humane Society Winter
Break Camp

Multiple Days/Locations
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Animal Humane Society
Golden Valley, St. Paul, Coon Rapids,
and Woodbury Locations

Animal Humane Society Logo
Courtesy of the Animal Humane Society

Engaging and enriching, the Animal Humane Society’s Winter Break Camp is a perfect blend of fun and education for young animal lovers. Take part in a fun-filled day of animal-related educational activities, including games, crafts, animal interactions, and more!

This unique camp is offered on multiple days and locations, making it accessible for families across Minneapolis and St. Paul:

December 27, 2023
St. Paul
Grades 3-5

December 28, 2023
Golden Valley
Grades 3-4, 5-6

December 29, 2023
Woodbury: Grades 3-5
Coon Rapids: Grades 3-5

To register and learn more, visit the Animal Humane Society’s website.


Sources

  1. https://www.startribune.com/mackay-charles-schulz-learned-from-rejection-so-can-you/490028951/ ↩︎
  2. chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://static1.squarespace.com/static/60909f71a674926a39e73461/t/64f1511e4c65b033bf74fe1b/1693536543500/Bakken_Museum_Press_Overview%2B092023.pdf ↩︎

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