Monday, March 30, 2015

Ellsworth Creamery

I always thought that my favorite part of a stop in Ellsworth was picking up fresh cheese curds.  After my last stop my mind was changed to picking up a fresh shake from the creamery.  Don't get me wrong, they are both delicious and my cheese curds were amazing and even still warm.  The curds are made fresh daily and come in many different seasonings. The shakes, or actually I prefer a malt, are so creamy and fresh.  It was definitely the best malt I have ever had, and it's only a thirty minute drive from home.  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Bread Art Bakery

Are you headed into Stillwater? Bread Art is a great little stop in Bayport.  They have all kinds of baked goodies from pastries and breads to cakes and pies.  Their pastries are the best!  The pie was OK, but I was disappointed that I didn't choose a pastry like usual because they are alway so fresh and delicious.  As you are driving in Bayport it is on the left right next to the Holiday gas station.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lion's Easter Egg Hunt and Carnival

This free Easter egg hunt and carnival is held at the River Falls High School this Saturday March 28, 2015 at 11:30 AM.  There will be 25 different carnival games and the hunt.  It is also a chance to donate rood or money to the River Falls Food Pantry, or to donate used eye glasses and cell phones.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Hudson Bowling

If it's been a few years since  you have been to the Hudson bowling alley, you will enjoy the changes! It is no longer a smokey dark old beat up place.  They have electronic score keeping, bumper bowling, and it is a clean and updated place.  It's close and a cheap fun night with the kids.  They also have leagues for the more serious players, and party reservations.  They seem to always have open lanes, but it is always a good idea to call ahead to make sure they aren't hosting leagues.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Annie the Musical

Annie is coming to the Orpheum, a beautiful historic theater in Minneapolis.  Tickets are on sale now for shows March 31-April 5.  Tickets are $29-$99.  On their website when you are choosing your tickets they have a great option to see the view from your seat, which is especially helpful when buying cheap tickets for kids.   This is the original award winning production, which I would enjoy and I'm sure the kids would too.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mill City Museum

This museum was created from an old flour mill.  The mill went through an explosion and a fire before becoming a museum and the effects of the fire can still be seen in the ruins and half standing walls in the courtyard.  The highlight of the museum is an elevator tour called the flour tower.  In the presentation the history of the mill is told as you ride up and down in an elevator viewing the different levels of the mill.  There is also a nice video called Minneapolis in 19 minutes flat.  The whole museum trip will take less than two hours.  It is great done as a field trip, or I would recommend going as part of a tour.  This photo was taken from the top of the museum where, after the elevator tour you can stop to enjoy the beautiful view.  Tickets are $11 $9 and $6, or free with a historical society museum pass which includes the history museum, Hill house, and other locations.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cheesecake Factory

I think watching the Big Bang Theory contributed to my family's excitement for the cheesecake factory, but there are so many options for great cheesecake it's hard not to like it.   Known for their very large menu and great desserts.  The cheesecake factory is a great stop in Edina, (which is just a short hop from the MOA).  The outdoor seating is great in the summer and there is something for everyone on their menu.  Warning, the pieces of cheesecake are probably a sharable size.  We all ordered our own and no one was able to finish theirs, but then again no one ever complained about having leftovers.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

MN History Center

The history museum is really a lot more fun than it sounds.  This picture was taken in the WW2 section where you set the timer and see how many bullets you can assemble.  They also have an airplane simulator that recreates what it would have been like to be in the war.  I remember the look of fear in my son's eyes as the plane got hit.  It's a pretty real way to experience the realities of war.  They also have an old pinball machine, so I try to remember to bring a pocket of change in case it is working.  I think it takes nickels. They have a tornado simulator, and a grainland exhibit where the kids can climb and slide.  Their open house exhibit is an actual house from St. Paul that you can walk through as it tells the interesting stories of the different people that have lived there.  It is interesting for the  adults, and there is hopscotch in the backyard and activities for the kids.  In the Minnesota history section they have a tipi and a boxcar and the emergency exit door from the school bus that was in the I-35 bridge collapse.  This museum does an excellent job of making history come alive.

Tickets are $11, $9, or $6 depending on age, and admission is free on Tuesdays from 5-8PM.  Also on free Tuesdays they often have special events or free music.  One Tuesday they had free segway rides. Stop by, there is always something fun there.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Pinz Arcade

Pinz is the closest arcade to Hudson.  It is just off of 694 in Oakdale by their Target.  In this picture the kids were playing doodle jump.  They do a good job of keeping new and fun games out, and they have a lazer maze, where you have to step around and duck lazers in order to get money from a safe while you are being timed.  They also have bowling, and lazer tag on site.

Monday, March 16, 2015

MOA Aquarium

Another great Mall of America attraction, the Aquarium has 9 foot sharks, jelly fish, sea horses, and all kinds of sea life.  There are two ocean tunnels to walk through and enjoy, and a touch pool, which will have sting rays coming in spring 2015.  Tickets are $25 and $17 at the door or $19 and $16 if purchased online.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Orchard Restaurant, Baldwin

This restaurant is inside a beautifully restored old barn.  The atmosphere is fun and the apple characters did a very nice job of embarrassing the birthday guest.  The food was good, but not memorable for me.  It is a fun new place to meet friends when you are tired of always driving west.  On their website they have pictures of weddings in their banquet room, and a full menu to look over before your visit. The Orchard is in Baldwin, so 15-20 minutes east of Hudson.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

MOA Ropes Course

Dutchman's Deck Adventure Course is the official name.  There are many ways to climb and explore safely connected to a rope and harness.  Ringing the bell at the highest point is a highlight.  It climbs to 56 feet above Nickelodeon Universe.  The minimum height is 48" or 42" with a paying chaperone.  It is $11 or $9 with a wristband for an unlimited time of exploring.

There is also a spiral slide attached to the ropes course that kids 40" or taller can slide on.  It is $3 for a one time slide.

After a long day of exploring MOA, I enjoy sitting in the lower lounge and chatting with friends as the kids explore the ropes course.  It's a great adventure only 30 minutes from home.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Minnesota Children's Museum

A great place to spend the day playing with your kids.  The museum is great for about ages 10 and under. This picture is from Earth World.  Another favorite exhibit is Our World, complete with a grocery store, post office, and entire mini town they can play grown up in.  The rooftop has art they can play with outside on beautiful days.  The basement has water play and bubbles.  It's a whole day full of fun with the little ones.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Minnesota Zoo

There are two reasons I like going to the Zoo.  I enjoy watching the animals, and I enjoy watching the kids having fun at the zoo.  The MN Zoo is the perfect place for both.  There are tigers, bears, penguins, sharks, farm animals, and a lot of others too.  My kids also love the play park at the Zoo.  I even went with a middle school field trip and the playground was still well used.  Admission is $12 or $18, and the Zoo is open 365 days a year, a thirty minute drive from Hudson.

When you first get to the Zoo, remember to check out the schedule to see the different animal feedings and the bird show.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Hudson Soccer

Spring recreation registration is now open.  The deadline to register is April 1st.  The season runs from May 4th to June 29th.  The games are on weeknights and I love that the the date and time for each age group is listed on their website in advance.  The fees are as follows:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Dining in the Dark

At this event you can eat a meal blindfolded and explore activities to better understand the life of the visually impaired.  They will have guide dogs in training, long white canes to try out, a silent auction and prizes to win.  Tickets are $12 for adults/students, and $6 for kids four and under.  This is a fundraiser, and to raise awareness about the visually impaired kids in our school district. The event is at Willow River Elementary this Wednesday, March 11th, at 5:30.  For more information see the link below.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Boosters Baseball

With the warm spring weather here, so is baseball season!  The boosters sent out their reminder emails about registration.  Saturday March 14th is Boys Traveling Trouts for 10-14 yr olds
Saturday march 21st is Girls Traveling Tryouts for 10-18 yr olds

The in-house programs will start in May.  The Deadline for in-house registration is April 15th.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Wilderness, Wisconsin Dells

The Wilderness is a waterpark hotel in the Wisconsin Dells.  The best part is their wave pool ceiling.  It lets the sun in for year round sun bathing.  It was amazing on a sunny day in the winter.  On a cloudy day it is about 10 degrees colder.  They have 4 indoor waterparks at the hotel and a bunch outside too.  Other activities include, arcades, ropes course, indoor playground, indoor or outdoor go carts, lazer tag, indoor/outdoor mini golf, indoor maze, kids pottery painting, golf, and a zip line.

The best tip I got prior to going was that the food is expensive and not good.  Luckily we booked a room with a kitchen and brought our own food to enjoy. They don't use chlorine in their pools, which was nice not to have the chlorine smell, but there were also big signs warning that the chemicals can cause an itchy rash, which one of my sons unfortunately got.

Over all it was a fun get away that is only a three hour drive.  It was huge, but as long as you stay in one of the hotels that is connected it doesn't matter because there are covered walkways connecting everything indoor.   The arcade also has a giant claw machine that was easy to win at.  There were kids all over the resort bouncing their prizes up and down the hallways, and yes my son did win on his first try so he was super excited.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Let's Play Hockey Expo

Today and tomorrow 10-6 is the Expo at the Rivercentre (which is part of the Excel energy center).  At the Excel today is also the high school hockey finals for Minnesota so the place is packed.  Tickets to the expo are free.  Tickets to the games are $17 for adults $11 for students, and preschoolers are free. 

Giveaways and celebrity appearances

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Outlets at the Dells

Every trip to the Dells is better with a stop at the outlets.  It is an outdoor mall so dress accordingly.  They offer a VIP savings card that you can pick up for free at customer service.  I just use the website  I type the store name in at checkout and a lot of times they have a code for a discount. On my last trip they had a 20% off code for the Banana Republic factory store.  Below is a link to a list of all of the stores.  They are located right next to the Great Wolf Lodge, which is a block away from the Wilderness.