When it comes to piles of snow and subzero temps mid-winter in Plymouth brings, most of us tend to be wimps. But maybe we just need a bit of inspiration, a little nudge to get us off that couch and into the city we love. The winter might be cold, but it’s also a great time to explore. And there are plenty of winter events—indoors and outdoors alike—to help us do just that. Here are a handful of our favorites this season.
Grab the kids, pack up the car, and hit the road to do some—treasure hunting? Well, medallion hunting, to be exact.
Leading up to Plymouth’s 25th annual Fire and Ice celebration, a medallion is hidden somewhere in town; clues are revealed in the Sun Sailor beginning this month. This friendly community competition, sponsored by the parks and recreation department, launched in 2010. The prize? A $250 Visa gift card and bragging rights amongst your neighbors for the year: You know Plymouth better than they do. Through February 1.
French Regional Park
Snowy landscapes and crisp, fresh air make the perfect backdrop for winter fun. French Regional Park, located within the Three Rivers Park District, offers several family-friendly activities, including snowshoeing, ice fishing and snow-shelter building—meaning the kids can create the ultimate snow fort.
Need some gear? No problem! Three Rivers offers rental equipment for almost any activity on a first-come, first-served basis (varies from park to park). 12605 Rockford Road; 763.694.7750.
Nature Play Dates
“Did you know that they now have potty-training toilets equipped for iPads?” asks Amy Blaubach, founder and CEO of Curious Minds. No, it’s not a joke. Turns out, the iPotty is a two-in-one potty chair with a stand to hold the iPad.
Blaubach’s point: “With technology in all forms literally at our fingertips, we’re moving further away from nature,” she says. That’s one reason she’s developed Curious Minds, an education program that makes science fun and real for kids between 18 months and 12 years. Blaubach explains that, although it’s cold outside, parents and kids shouldn’t be afraid to bring winter indoors. She suggests bringing the snow right to your kitchen table with a snow season activity that couldn’t be simpler. (Think: Bring snowballs to the table and see which melts them faster, salt or pepper?)
Kinderberry Hill in Plymouth has utilized Blaubach’s science lessons and experiments, and she also organizes in-house school visits for pre-K and kindergarteners, private birthday parties and play dates. Learning and fun go hand-in-hand, she says: “I tell parents to get outside or bring nature in.” curiousminds.info
Salt and pepper
Optional: Other common kitchen seasonings
Sprinkle a bowl of snow with salt and the other bowl of snow with pepper. Ask kids: Which do you think will melt faster?
The solution (for parents):
For added fun, try other spices from your kitchen.
Try an Indoor Tri
Life Time Fitness hosts another indoor triathlon February 1 for Life Time Fitness members and nonmembers. Cost is $25 for members, $30 for nonmembers, and more information is available online.
Let your kids get in on the fun, too. Life Time Kids Academy—a membership program for kids ages 3 months to 11 years that gives them access to classes like yoga, Zumba, karate and language immersion—is now offered at the Plymouth location. And mark your calendars: This program also includes spring break and summer camps. 3600 Plymouth Blvd.; 763.509.0909.
Open Ice Skating
It might not be new to you, but maybe it’s new to them: Bring the kids in for their first mild—in both temperature and talent—ice skating excursion. For just $4 a person ($3 for ages 18 and under and ages 60 and over) spend 90 minutes on the rink at the Plymouth Ice Center during open skate hours—that means not freezing those tootsies off outside. Don’t have skates? You can rent them here, too. 3650 Plymouth Blvd.; 763.509.5250.
Healthy Living Fair
Hosted by the city of Plymouth and Abbott Northwestern WestHealth, this free event offers wellness screenings, education sessions, fitness demos and door prizes to ensure that the winter chill doesn’t get you ill. Check website for date and time. Plymouth Creek Center, 14800 34th Ave.; 763.509.5280.
For Mom and Dad
Head to Cowboy Jack’s for live music and dancing, offered Friday and Saturday nights. A favorite regular is Javier Trejo. The late-night happy hour from 10 p.m. to midnight sweetens the deal, with $2 off select beers and drinks, and a select menu of half-price appetizers (try the flatbread). 4120 Berkshire Lane N.; 763.559.0257.
Add a little culture to combat those doldrums: Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre presents Pinocchio on February 21–22, starring local children along with two professional actors. There is a $100 fee for kids to participate, but space is limited (the maximum number of participants ages 8–14 allowed is 70) so reserve your spot early. Rehearsals begin on February 17, and free community performances are offered at the end of the week. 7 p.m. February 21; 2 p.m. February 22. Plymouth Creek Center, 14800 34th Ave.; 763.509.5280.
Little says winter in Minnesota better than some hotdish and bars, and The Church Basement Ladies supply ample of both—figuratively, at least. See them (again) in The Last (Potluck) Supper, performing at the Plymouth Playhouse through June 29. (If you missed it, check out the article about all five CBL installments from our September issue, online at plymouthmag.com.) Plymouth Playhouse, 2705 Annapolis Lane N; 763.553.1600.
Chase away the winter blues with some bluegrass music at the 35th annual Winter Bluegrass Weekend, where more than 50 groups from around the country perform right here at Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West in Plymouth. “When you walk into the hotel, it feels like an informal jam session,” says Jed Malischke, executive director of the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association, which is sponsoring the event. “Because so many of the performers stay at the hotel, there is always music being played—in front of an audience or just in the hotel lobby. It’s really fun to see.” This year’s headliner, Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, will play Saturday night; daily tickets or weekend passes are available. Ticketing information available on the website. February 28–March 2. Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West, 3131 Campus Drive; 763.559.6600.