Saturday, January 31, 2015

Minnesota Opera

The Opera is one of those things that either you love or hate.  I personally love the opera.  I love dressing up, I love the atmosphere, I love hearing the emotion of the songs even though they are sung in a different language.  It's one of the few places that seeing men in full suits and top hats is common.  I took my kids to see Hansel and Gretel and they did love the venue and the excitement, but did't love the opera, so I will have to take a friend next time.  The Minnesota Opera does put on an incredible show, and the orchestra is enjoyable also.  I think everyone should go to the opera at least once to see if they are going to be one of those that love it.  The link below will take you to their current performances.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 30, 2015

The "Cookie Factory"

Today I enjoyed another great cookie from Best Maid.  Their factory is in River Falls where you can watch the cookies cool on their giant two story spinning racks, and enjoy a free fresh cookie!  It is just as good as getting a free fresh donut from Krispy Kreme.  Their store is only open on weekdays until 4:30, so anytime we are in River Falls during that time my kids can easily talk me in to stopping by for a couple of bags of cookies.  It's also a fun day to pair a trip to the cheese factory with a stop at the cookie factory. They do not accept plastic, only cash or local checks.  All of their cookies are soft and delicious, but my favorite is their sugar cookies that are covered in sugar sprinkles (seen in the bottom of the bag), yes it is fitting that the only picture that I have is of an empty bag :)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Wooddale Fun Zone

The Fun Zone is a skating rink and play structure in Woodbury. Monday nights they have "Monday madness" where skating is just $2, pizza is $1 and soda is $1.  Note, they have a different special they are running for president's day. The link below details all of their different specials and birthday parties. It's a fun low cost place for the kids to skate off some energy, and I even enjoyed feeling like a kid with my skates on.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Excel Energy Center Concerts

As you can see the Excel energy center is a great place to see a concert with 20,000 other excited fans. The energy is definitely contagious. It is a little overwhelming, and a lot of fun! The link below is to their event calendar. Maroon V is coming, Fleetwood Mac, Ariana Grande, and Neil Diamond. They always have big names performing. It's the place to go for stars that can fill a stadium that large.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

UWRF Coffee Concerts

This Friday is another Coffee Concert at the University of Wisconsin River Falls.  Natalia Moiseeeva is amazing on violin, and I have heard and enjoyed Ivan Konev on piano.  I am looking forward to this concert especially.  It is a free concert on campus at the Kleinpell Fine Arts building.  There is metered parking behind the building, or you can try to get a parking spot around the residences north of the building.  The concert is free and about 45 minutes.  If you can attend I would highly recommend it!

The music department's website lists the upcoming music performances.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Daymond John at UWRF scholarship dinner

Tickets to the UWRF Scholarship Dinner this year are $60 each.  My family does enjoy watching Shark Tank, and it is fun to know such a big name will be in River Falls.  I thought I would put it out there on your radar.  April 24th is a ways off, but tickets are on sale now at the site above.  

The $60 ticket includes a buffet dinner and Daymond's keynote address.  If you donate more to the school, there is a private dinner with Daymond, and a private question and answer session too.  

Friday, January 16, 2015

Pump Boys Opens Tonight at The Phipps


Last night I enjoyed watching the dress rehearsal of Pump Boys.  It is showing at the Phipps in their black bock theater.  It's a small theater that seats 150 people and makes the show more personal and fun.  Remember when choosing your seat that the people on the front row need to be comfortable with the actors singing right to you.  They had great voices, played fun instruments, and it was a relaxing and funny show.  Tonight's and tomorrow's shows are already sold out, but it runs until February 1st, so I would recommend getting your tickets now.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Science Museum of Minnesota

This shot was taken from the museum's tugboat with a great view of the Mississippi below.  It is a fun museum to visit with many hands on exhibits.   We also enjoy their Science Live performances where they show fun science experiments.  There is an Omnidome on site, and tickets can be bought in combination with your museum entrance, or without the museum ticket.  Membership for a year is $99 per family and it includes free entrance to over 300 museums nation wide.  It is worth it especially if you are planning a trip to another city and will visit a museum there.  


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Ice Fishing, Free Fishing Weekend

Wisconsin's free fishing weekend is this Saturday and Sunday.  It's a great time to try out the sport of ice fishing.  This picture was taken at Willow River State Park at their annual Kid's fishing Derby.  This year it is Saturday January 17th from 2-4pm.  The park provides all of the gear and drills the holes for you.  There are even prizes for the most fish caught and the biggest fish.  Actually I remember some of my kids that didn't even catch a fish coming home with prizes.  It's not a huge hobby in our house, but living in Wisconsin it is something that you must at least try and this weekend is the perfect time to go ice fishing. There are many events scheduled around the state.  Below is the website with all of the laws and info you will need for a good time ice fishing.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Pinz Lazer Tag

Monday night is our favorite night to play laser tag.  For $10 kids 17 and under can play as many games as they would like from 5:00 to midnight.  For the older kids, Tuesday night is 18 and up unlimited laser tag.  It is a great two story arena with many hiding places.  The players are split into two teams and after the game is over (in about 10 minutes) a screen displays each player's statistics.  Regular price is $5 for days and $7 for nights and weekends, which includes just one game.  The advantage to regular laser tag is that the whole family can play together which is a lot of fun.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Cady Cheese Factory

This is a fun cheese factory to visit because of their viewing windows.  Every visitor on their first trip to Wisconsin wants to see cheese made.  It's only a 30 minute drive to Wilson from Hudson and the view of the factory is free.  They are open roughly 9-5 every day of the week.  There is also a gift store where you can purchase fresh cheese curds, another great reason to love Wisconsin!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

James J. Hill House

This 36,500 square foot home was built by railroad tycoon James J. Hill.  The tours are fascinating.  They teach about his life and show all of the great details of this house.  It has 5 floors, 13 bathrooms, 22 fireplaces, servants quarters, beautiful hand carved woodwork, a three story pipe organ, and an ingenious security system.  Kids and adults love this tour.  The men even enjoyed seeing the two story giant and efficient coal room with huge stoves and system to heat and cool the house.  There are fun details, like a dust chute to use when sweeping the upper floors, hidden walls, and an ingenious security system built in 1891.  Tours are $6-$8 and about an hour long.  If you purchase a Minnesota Historical Society pass the tours are included for a year, as is the historical society museum and other home tours.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Trumpeter Swans on the St. Croix

It is amazing how many swans, geese and ducks can be seen in the open waters of the St. Croix. There are hundreds of birds. The trumpeter swans are huge and beautiful, weighing up to 40 pounds with a 7 foot wing span. The site is easy to access just off of 1st street and St. Croix street in Huson. On a really cold day they can bee seen from the warmth of your car, or there is parking available by the Hudson booster's football shed so you can take a closer look. The number of birds varies but right now is a great time to see them and snap a few pictures of these beautiful birds.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Weitkamp Park Sledding

This is our family's favorite sledding spot in Hudson.  It has a steep hill that is fun, which flattens out at the bottom for safety.  The hill is wide so on crowded days many people can sled without running over other people.  The last time we were there was on my son's birthday and it was -25 with the wind chill so we had the whole hill to ourselves, but with full gear including goggles there was no skin showing so we enjoyed a few runs down to satisfy the family tradition that when it's your birthday the family will do whatever you want them to :)

This is a great pick for kids of all ages.  The young can safely slow at the bottom of the hill, the adventurous can hit the jumps previous sledders have built, and if you have the whole place to yourself we found it is fun to ride down the side of the hill which then goes over another hill and lands you in the parking lot.  So the next time it is warmer than -25 I would suggest a fun time at this sledding hill.  It is by the water tower next to Hudson's business park, or off of Hanley near Carmichael.

Link to site showing Weitkamp amenities

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Hudson Torchlight Parade

Mark your calendars for Friday February 6th.  At 7:00 the torchlight parade will begin on 2nd street in downtown Hudson.  The parade is made up mostly of hot air balloon baskets from the Hudson Hot Air Affair.  It's a fun small town event.  The first year I went I just giggled as the balloonists aimed the hot air from their torches toward the side of the street that was cheering the loudest.  It's a short winter parade and it happens regardless of the weather, so bundle up and enjoy!

This is a link to the 2015 schedule of events

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


On a cold Wisconsin day I love going to the Y.  Walking outside after a good workout is the one time that I love to feel the cold winter air on my face.  I'm usually just a treadmill runner, but i do like that there is a small track for when I want to do some real running.  The kids love the pool and waterslide.  The babysitting area is nice, the classes are fun and full.  There is a skate park outback for the teenagers, as well as teen nights the middle schoolers like.  The Y has a healthy retirement group that can be seen drinking coffee in the lobby. It really is a nice meeting place for the city and a place I especially love in the winter.

Membership is $66 for an adult and $122 for a family (and they do have a sliding scale according to income).  Memberships come with guest passes so you can bring a friend or your family member that doesn't have a pass.  You can also try out the Y free for a week, so I would recommend everyone in  Hudson should at least enjoy the Y for a week. Unfortunately they don't sell day passes anymore so you need to either have a membership or come with a friend to enjoy the Y after your first week.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Feed My Starving Children

Do you want an event that will be fun, help other people, and make you feel great all at the same time?  Packing food for people in starving countries is the perfect activity.  You will need to schedule a time as a group on their website before you go.  It is getting to be more popular and plans need to be made in advance, but all it is well worth it.  My children all love it and it is fun for the adults too.  First a short video is shown telling about the program, and where the food you will be packing is going to be sent.  After you are done packing their are samples to taste and an opportunity to pray over the food before it is sent.  The organization is not associated with any church and welcomes all groups to serve.  I have taken cub scout groups that have absolutely loved it.  It is a hour and 15 minutes from Hudson, but definitely something that you should experience at least once.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Mall of America

There are so many reasons to love the Mall of America.  I love it because it so clearly shows the Minnesota/Wisconsin attitude that the winters may be tough but that will not slow us down from having fun!  It's cold outside so, hey let's build our amusement park indoors!

MOA has Nickelodeon Universe (the amusement park), an Aquarium, Barbie Dream House, Mini golf, theaters, Lego store, American girl, and another 500 stores.  It's 4 floors and a half a mile to walk around one level, so there is plenty to do and see.

A typical visit for my family starts at the lego store, then Apple store, Marbles (a game store) and an occasional ride.  Rides can be purchased with points for individual rides or a wristband for the day.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Phipps Center for the Arts

This shot was taken from the Phipps upstairs gallery overlooking the St. Croix.  The Phipps is an art center with a small theater for great local plays and performances.  My favorite part is their two art galleries that are free of charge and open M-F 9-4:30 and Sunday noon-4:30.  The art pieces displayed change every month or so and there are usually three to five artists' work displayed at a time. The library across the street has also started to display a couple of the artists' pieces to encourage patrons to walk from the library to the Phipps to enjoy the larger collection.

The Phipps also offers a gift shop, and classes in art, dance, and music.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Pier 500 Restaurant

Pier 500 is a great restaurant on 1st street in downtown Hudson.  The food is good, and varied.  I especially like their asian chicken salad, and their flat breads.  They have a fun game room to play in while you wait for your table, with pool, shuffleboard, and most importantly, Mrs. Packman!  The atmosphere is relaxing, and the patio in the summer is beautiful.  In fact my profile picture seen at the bottom was taken on their patio, which overlooks the old welcome to Hudson sign.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Minnesota Timberwolves

NBA basketball is only 30 minutes from Hudson.  A fun night out, and very affordable because the timberwolves have not had a great record.  I looked for tomorrow night's game and on the tickets were only $20.  We have gone to games before for $5 a ticket.  It's a fun night at the Target center that is close and inexpensive.  My kids love it.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Afton Alps

A great winter destination 15 minutes away from Hudson.  Afton alps is a great little resort.  I love the years that I have a season pass and can drive the quick 15 minutes to enjoy a few hours on the slopes. It's a great way to enjoy and love Wisconsin winter (although the resort is in Minnesota).

Tickets are only $44, but by joining the free preferred visit program your return visits are $34 each time.  For kids in Hudson Middle or High school have them look into the ski club.  It is a great price and fun way to ski at Afton alps.

A Blog Beginning

My inspiration- a stack of pictures. A collection of memories of fun days in Hudson.  Each time family or friends come to visit we thumb through the pictures to decide what places we want to visit.  This stack of pictures I want to share with all, so more people can enjoy all Hudson and this area has to offer.

So enjoy my new blog, HudsonWi365, where I will post about different places to explore!