Kids are definitely a hard crowd to please. If you take them on one of these fun and memorable holiday excursions around the metro, however, they just might stop their tantrums.

(Maybe. I guarantee nothing.)

But you get points, always for trying. Be the hero this year and take the kiddos on an adventure that they won’t soon forget.

Take the kids on these holiday adventures and you'll be their absolute favorite

Holiday adventures with the kids

Skate the Star at Mall of America

Granted, it’s not Rockefeller Center but MOA has created a magical winter wonderland for you and the whole family. Head to the north entrance where you’ll be able to skate around the iconic star sculpture. This 12,000 square foot rink has plenty of space for you to show off your moves or, if you’re more like me, you can fall without taking everybody down with you. It’s free to skate if you bring your own skates or you can rent a pair for only $5 with all the proceeds going to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities.

Dates: Saturday, December 8—Sunday, January 27

Elf the Musical

Who doesn’t love the classic holiday movie Elf? Well, you get to see Buddy in all his hilarity as your favorite elf has arrived on stage at the Ordway. Based on the movie, the story follows as Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity, and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. In Variety’s review, “Elf is happy enough for families, savvy enough for city kids, and plenty smart for adults!” Both you and the kids will have a fun and memorable night.

Dates: Wednesday, December 5—Sunday, December 30

North Pole Express

The little ones will be talking about this one for a while. Head over to the The Union Depot where you’ll step back in time and see an authentic 1944 Milwaukee Road #261 steam locomotive roll into the station. The kids can check out this historic rail car and get a visit from Santa and his elves from the North Pole.

Dates: Wednesday, December 5—Saturday, December 8

Gingerbread Wonderland

The Great British Baking Show has nothing on the Norway House as they continue their annual tradition of creating an incredible gingerbread wonderland. Made by both baking novices and your favorite professional local bakers, you’ll recognize familiar Twin Cities landmarks as well as whimsical creations concocted from the bakers’ imaginations.

You can also enjoy a few snacks from the Kaffebar that’s serving up Nordic Waffles, Peace Coffee and espresso drinks, a selection of wine and beer, hot cocoa and tea, as well as a variety of lunch options. And if you’re feeling inspired, once you and the kids head home, take the gingerbread recipe from the Norway House website and make your own gingerbread creation.

Dates: Saturday, November 17—Sunday, January 6

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The Children’s Theatre Company is putting on this favorite holiday classic. Take the kiddos to see the Grinch and Cindy Lou learn a little about kindness and opening up your heart through Seussical rhymes and music. With elaborate costumes and colorful sets, you and the kids will be treated to an unforgettable evening together.

Dates: Tuesday, November 6—Sunday, January 6

Wells Fargo Winter Skate

Right in the heart of downtown St. Paul, take the kids for a fun day of free ice skating. With the beautiful Landmark Center as the backdrop and the winter elements around you, this outdoor rink will get you into the holiday spirit. And not to worry if you’re not the best skater, as the rink also offers free skating lessons throughout the winter. Bring your own skates or rent a pair for $4 though be sure to also save some energy from all the skating because you’ll want to head over and see the light display and decorations at Rice Park and Landmark Center.

Dates: Open through Sunday, February 3

Family Zoo Adventure with Holiday Animals

The Minnesota Zoo is getting into the festive spirit and hosting an event geared for ages 3 to 6 that will teach them all about the more ‘holiday-friendly’ animals. The kids will learn about reindeer, make edible “decorations” for the lemurs, hear a winter story from Mrs. Claus, decorate cookies, play games, make crafts, and take a few excursions around the zoo.

Date: Saturday, December 15

Holiday Train

Have the kids join in on the excitement as the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train rolls back into town for the holidays. Decorated with colorful lights, the train is expected to arrive around 7:55pm but you’ll want to come early for s’mores, bonfires, and caroling. When the train does arrive, make sure you’re on the north side of the tracks where you’ll be treated to a 30 minute concert featuring The Trews and Willy Porter. This event is completely free though you’re encouraged to bring food or financial donations for the East Side Neighborhood Services Metro Food Programs.

Date: Tuesday, December 11

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