29 Family-friendly Steals and Deals to Beat the Winter Blahs

We’ve got a variety of activities for everyone in the family to beat the winter blahs every day of this month.

It's leap year!

We’re proud our home state shows up regularly on “Best Places to Live” lists, but there’s an ugly rumor going around: In February, not so much. Children fidget, fathers sprout roots on the couch, mothers despair, grandparents flee.

Lucky for all of you, we’ve gotten a different word on the dark and snowy street. Plymouth businesses, recreational outlets, parks, the library and other city services are boasting so many ways to enliven your family’s winter, they’ve petitioned for an extra day in February this year just to show you how it’s done. Here are 29 ideas for steals, deals and fun in February, all welcoming families—and none more than a few miles from home.

Family-friendly Steals (Free!)

Furry Tales Story Time at the Humane Society
Children ages 2 to 4 years old (accompanied by a parent) are read a story about an animal, do a related craft, then are visited by a special animal friend chosen for its mellow nature. 10–10:45 a.m. February 10. The Animal Humane Society, 845 Meadow Lane, Golden Valley; call 763.489.2221 to reserve a place.

Inside Out: Movies at the Library
Parents and kids are invited to enjoy Disney Pixar’s hit animated movie together. Bring a pillow or blanket for soft seating. Space is limited. Free passes are required and will be available at the library 30 minutes before the program begins. 2 p.m. February 13. Hennepin County Library–Plymouth, 15700 36th Ave. N.; for more information call Linnea Fonnest, youth services librarian, 612.543.5831.

Take Me in to the Ballgame
Families with adults and older teens who are baseball fans can attend a “History of Baseball in Minnesota” lecture at the Plymouth Library. Sponsored by the Minnesota Historical Society. 7 p.m. February 19. Registration is required. Hennepin County Library–Plymouth, 15700 36th Ave. N.; for more information call Linnea Fonnest, youth services librarian, 612.543.5831.

Geocaching at French Regional Park
Geocaching is a family-friendly, high-tech treasure hunt that involves placing or looking for a cache using global positioning system (GPS) equipment. Families who’d like to try geocaching but don’t know much about it can get a quick tutorial at the French Regional Park Visitor Center. Rental of the GPS is free, but you’ll need to leave an ID. French Regional Park, 12605 Rockford Road; 763.694.7750.

Learn to Make a TV Show
Northwest Community Television (NWCT) offers free video production classes, equipment use, and channel time to residents and organizations in Plymouth. Yes, free.
Community Television Orientation: 7–9 p.m. February 1
Editing: 10 a.m.–noon February 6, and 7–9 p.m. February 29
Studio Production: 7–9 p.m. February 8
Portable Video: 7–9 p.m. February 22
Northwest Community Television, 6900 Winnetka Ave. N., Brooklyn Park; call 763.533.8196 to sign up for classes; info@nwct.org

Fire and Ice Festival (pictured above)
City of Plymouth’s annual winter festival, including hayrides, recycle bin races, youth ice fishing contests and a fireworks finale. Free. 3–7 p.m. February 6. Parkers Lake Road, County Road 6 and Niagara Lane; 763.509.5200;

Sledding on Your Favorite Hill
Grab your sled, and head out to French Regional Park sledding hill. Note: Sledding hills are unsupervised, so children should be accompanied by an adult. Skiing and snowboarding are not allowed on sledding hills. The hill will close when the conditions are poor or during extreme cold temperatures. Most Three Rivers Park sledding hills are located near a park facility with restrooms and concessions—and are lit at night.

One-week Trial Family Membership at Life Time Fitness
Families who never have been Life Time Fitness (LTF) members can sign up for a week’s free membership any time: Why not make it in February? Plymouth LTF general manager Ashley Wagner wants you to know that LTF is the ultimate in family-accessible options. February LTF member events include a daddy-daughter dance February 20, including a spa package for all member daughters attending. 3600 Plymouth Blvd.; 763.519.3867.

Next-best to Free: BOGO

Twin Cities Speed Skating Two-for-one Trials
Try speed skating! Grandparents and parents with kids as young as 4 are welcome together. Get two trial sessions, including rental of skates and all necessary equipment, for a total of $12.50/person with Groupon (normally $25/person). Trial sessions at Plymouth Ice Center are 6 to 7:15 p.m. Sunday evenings and 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays; a session includes warm-up, skate fitting and on-ice time. Skate at Plymouth Ice Center, 3650 Plymouth Blvd.

Two-for-one Dining for Seniors and Kids
Two area restaurants give you a free meal when you buy a full-price entrée:
IHOP: Seniors, from 2 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, buy one regular-priced entrée and a drink, and get a meal and a drink for free. Additionally, one child eats free from 4 to 9 p.m. for every adult entrée ordered. 5601 Xerxes Ave. N.; 763.560.9622.
Perkins: From 4 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays, one child’s meal is free with each paid adult entrée. 2945 Empire Lane; 763.559.0270;

Deals for Less than $15/ Person

Two hours of jumping on Friday evenings at Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park (usually $21) is $15/person. All family members jump in the same open area, although safety requires some segregation by age. Walk in, call ahead or sign up online. 13310 Industrial Blvd.; 763.331.3511.

Beginner Ice Fishing
Try your luck at ice fishing, a favorite Minnesota winter pastime, from noon to 2 p.m. February 6. Learn about equipment, and basic ice and cold-weather safety. Children 17 years and younger must be accompanied by a registered adult. $8—a 20 percent discount for groups of four or more. Ages 6 and older; reservations required. French Regional Park, 12605 Rockford Road; 763.694.7750.

Open Skating at Plymouth Ice Center
Open skate Fridays (7:15–8:45 p.m.) and Sundays (1:45–3:15 p.m.) in February. Check schedule online or by phone. $5 for adults; $3 for seniors and students younger than 18. Plymouth Ice Center, 3650 Plymouth Blvd.; 763.509.5250.

Cosmic Bowling
Twelve lanes, options for bumpers, costs $3.75 to $5/person/game; shoe rental adds $3. Call for open and cosmic bowling times. Medina Entertainment Center, 500 Hwy. 55, Medina; 763.478.6661

Friday Night Open Swim
February 5, 19 and 26, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m; $12/family of four, additional kids $4 each. Families encouraged to enjoy swimming together; noodles and toys (but no inflatables) allowed. Wayzata East Middle School, 12000 Ridgemount Ave. Check times/dates at 763.509.5200.

Armstrong-Cooper High School Girls and Boys Varsity Sports
Don’t miss the action at Armstrong-Cooper. For calendars of all Armstrong-Cooper sporting events, visit the website here.

Girls Varsity Hockey vs. Simley: 7 p.m. February 1, $10. New Hope Ice Arena, 4949 Louisiana Ave. N., Crystal; 763.531.5181

Boys Varsity Basketball
vs. Irondale: 7 p.m. February 8, $10. Robbinsdale Armstrong High School,10635 36th Ave. N.; 763.504.8800

Wayzata High School Varsity Sports
And for a calendar of all Wayzata sporting events, visit the website here.

Boys Varsity Swimming and Diving Meet vs. Minnetonka High School: 5 p.m. February 12, $5–$7. Life Time Fitness, 3600 Plymouth Blvd.; 763.745.6600

Girls Varsity Basketball
vs. Minneapolis South: 7 p.m. February 25, $5–$7. Wayzata High School, 4955 Peony Lane; 763.745.6600

Minnesota Association of Christian Schools (MACS) State Basketball Tournament
Hosted by Fourth Baptist Christian School February 25–27, participating teams from Christian schools across Minnesota compete to be the best in the league. $15/day/family or $25 for the whole tournament; $6/adult/day or $12 for the tournament. Fourth Baptist Christian School, 900 Forestview Lane N.; 763.417.8240

Teach Your Family Street Self-defense
Dynamic Defensive Arts co-owner Jack Pettingill teaches “street self defense,” practical and reality-based self defense, to all ages. Every Monday night is family night; 7–8 p.m., $55 pays for a family of four. Dynamic Defensive Arts, 7600 Boone Ave. N. Ste. 5, Brooklyn Park; 952.240.8176

(Dynamic Defensive instructor David Bernstein coaches Noah Fransen in a family-friendly street-smart class. Photo by Marissa Martinson)

Mary Poppins, The Musical
Robbinsdale Armstrong High School puts on the classic tale at 7 p.m. February 19–20 and 26–27, $6–$8. Robbinsdale Armstrong High School,10635 36th Ave. N.; 763.504.8800

Country Roads: The Music of John Denver
The entire month of February at the Plymouth Playhouse, Wednesday through Sunday evenings and matinee performances will be dominated by the tunes of John Denver. $14–$39. Plymouth Playhouse, 2705 Annapolis Lane N.; 763.553.1600 ext. 1.

Go to the Movies for $5/Person
All movies, all performances, all Tuesdays in February (2, 9, 16, 23) cost $5—and if you purchase any size drink, you get a free popcorn. Plymouth Mann Theaters, 3400 Vicksburg Lane; 763.551.0000.

Performance Arts at Wayzata High School
All events are $10–$15 and take place at Wayzata High School:
Jazz Concert: Wayzata Jazz Band, 7:30 p.m. February 20. 4955 Peony Lane; 763.745.6624
Almost, Maine: Wayzata Players black box performance, 7 p.m. February 18–20. 4955 Peony Lane; 763.745.6624

Twelve Angry Jurors: Wayzata Players black box performance, 7 p.m. February 25–27. 4955 Peony Lane; 763.745.6624

Don’t Forget Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Massage Special
Lake West Chiropractic & Natural Health will run a Valentine’s week-plus (February 10–20) special where you’ll receive $10 off a one-hour massage any day of the week. Mention you saw this in Plymouth Magazine. Lake West Chiropractic & Natural Health, 4100 Berkshire Lane N., #124; 763.550.1205

Valentine’s Day Craft Party
Help your 18-month- to 5-year-old make a Valentine’s Day gift for someone special. 9:30–10:30 a.m. February 8. $18–$20. Plymouth Creek Center, 14800 34th Ave.; 763.509.5200.

Dress Your Man for Less

The Foursome Men’s Apparel and Shoes has an annual President’s Day weekend winter clearance sale, with 40 percent to 60 percent discounts. 3570 Vicksburg Lane N.; 763.473.4667.

Teach Your Whole Family to Ski
Blizzard Ski and Snowboard School is a traveling program, where kids get lessons and independent (or supervised) skiing time on daylong trips to local ski areas. If a child signs up, parents can learn to ski, too. Ask about family assistance funds. 11140 Hwy. 55 Ste. A; 763.559.3343.