Traveling to Santa Barbara and Minneapolis - need info on fun activities to do - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 01-06-2010, 04:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey All -

We are taking our first trip as homeschoolers!

In the middle of January, we are leaving Hawaii and heading to Santa Barbara, CA and Minneapolis, MN to see family and see SNOW!!! My girls are Hawaii beach babies and they hardly ever see snow, so that is what they wanted to do.

So... those of you who are familiar with these places - can you recommend some fun, educational activities for us to do? My girls are ages 7 and almost 5.

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#2 of 8 Old 01-06-2010, 12:32 PM
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If you've got good winter clothes (nice warm coats, snow pants, etc...) you could sign up for cross-country skiing at a park near Minneapolis. The Three Rivers Park District offers private lessons. If you want to do some downhill skiing, there are several ski hills around-- it's not the Rockies, but I hear it's a great area for kids to learn to downhill ski. (I'm not a skier, but since you mentioned snow...) The ski areas often have tubing hills too.

Or, if it works with your schedule, this homeschool class looks like a lot of fun: Norwegian Kick Sledding and Snowshoeing It's not in downtown Minneapolis, but it's pretty close.

When you're done being outside (January in Minneapolis can be cold, even for the natives!), check out the Science Museum, the Mill City Museum, and the Minnesota Institute of Art. The amusement park in the middle of the Mall of America can be fun too.


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#3 of 8 Old 01-06-2010, 01:52 PM
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I second the Science Museum. It's in St. Paul. Very nice. There's also some kid's exploratory museum-type thing in St. Paul too, but I don't remember what it is called. I wanted to bring my kids when we were last there, but it didn't work out. A GREAT thing to try would be the St. Paul Winter Carnival. I don't know if they are doing an ice castle this year or not, but they do celebrate winter!

The Mall of America is something - although it isn't as magical to me anymore since Nickelodeon took over the amusement park. GIANT Doras and Spongebobs everywhere. Still an impressive retail space, and some fun kiddie rides.

In downtown Minneapolis, there is an extensive skyway system. Tunnels above ground. You can go for miles. That could be fun to explore a bit with your kids. There is also the metrodome, where they run a rollerdome (you can even rent rollerblades). And there's Ice Skating in the old depot on Washington Avenue, although you'd have to check times on both of those. There are other places to skate too - outdoors may be more fun if it isn't tooo cold.

I'd be sure to walk on a lake somewhere - there are lakes all over, in the city and suburbs, so it shouldn't be that hard to find one to try out. Also, since you are complete skiing novices, a simple ski hill like Buck Hill in Burnsville is close and would be fun.

Theodore Wirth Park has a lot of outdoorsy things. I used to cross-country ski there, and there is a nice little tubing hill as well. Looks from their site you can explore other stuff like ice fishing in the Minneapolis parks.

You can always ride the light rail trains too. That network is getting more extensive.

Well, that was fun! I love MN in the winter. I miss it terribly.

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#4 of 8 Old 01-06-2010, 02:26 PM
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Writing in a hurry - heading out on another road trip today...

If you google "snow activities for children," you'll find all sorts of fun things they can do when they're at the family's home in Minnesota!!!

Here are lots of fun ideas for southern CA in a guide to field trip ideas I compiled:
Southern CA & Southern Ca Outdoors

Have fun!
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#5 of 8 Old 01-06-2010, 04:06 PM
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For sure, hit the SB Zoo. It's amazing. Right across the street from the beach, so there are views of the ocean from several areas of the zoo.

Jen...wife to Shawn...Radically Unschooling Mommy to Connor (4/03), Autumn (1/07) Aiden (1/08) and Ella (10/14/09) Just had the of our dreams!
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#6 of 8 Old 01-06-2010, 11:50 PM
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The Minnesota Zoo is fun, we live about 10 minutes from it and would love to meet up with you if you go. PM me.
Como Zoo and Conservatory
Mall of America
Jackson Street Roundhouse St. Paul
Children's Museum St. Paul
Cathedral in St. Paul
History Museum in St Paul
Dodge Nature Center
Lebanon Hills Visitor Center
Centennial lakes in Edina for nice outdoor ice skating
Minnehaha Falls - see the frozen falls, see the statue of Hiawatha carrying Minnehaha across the creek. It's a nice lightrail train ride from the mall of america too.
St Paul farmers market on Saturday morning.
Edinborough - a great indoor park in Edina

that should keep you busy, especially with the other great MN suggestions

Wife to my wonderful Pablo, mum to Roo 8/10/01, Vin 1/10/07, Bug 6/3/07, Butterbean 12/12/09
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#7 of 8 Old 01-07-2010, 01:01 AM
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IMO, the Children's Museum in St. Paul is geared toward preschoolers, and kind of spendy for what it is. I wouldn't go out of my way to take a 5 & 7 year old there.

You might want to consider the raptor center, if it seems like something your kids would enjoy: I think it would be something pretty different from what you could see in Hawaii-- birds of prey are very common here in the upper midwest.
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#8 of 8 Old 01-07-2010, 02:41 AM
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mamasuarus, ive read some of your posts and your left of center politically? yes? join the twin cities liberal homeschoolers group. i bet they have some fun activities planned or know of fun stuff.

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