The Works Museum, Bloomington

I always thought my kids were too young for The Works Museum in Bloomington. And then something happened. They grew up. We got free tickets a while ago at a local mommy event and they sat in my kitchen for quite a while, waiting to be used. I always thought, meh. My kids are too young. They’d be so bored. Maybe next time.

In September, my sister in law asked if we’d join her and her youngest son (a teenager) in one last adventure before school started. I really like her, so of course I said HECK YES and dusted off those free passes that’d been taking up valuable space in my junk mail sorter.

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I was so wrong. This place is wonderful. My three year old, six year old, and the teen all had a blast. Let me start by saying, this place isn’t as fancy as our other local favorites. It’s small and has a definite DIY feel to the exhibits. Activities are much more limited than we’re used to, but my kids didn’t get bored.

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How could you possibly get sick of building towers only to knock them over again? Or seeing which K’NEX race car design goes the fastest (spoiler alert: it’s always Matilda’s, nope. Wilson’s. It’s always Wilson’s. Oh wait. You get the point. Arguments ensue.) They have a pinewood derby inspired race track that provides the race results, which makes cheating a little harder.

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They have a whole list of awesome sounding STEM activities and family events that you can take part in, including fort building over Christmas break. We haven’t tried those, but they sound like the could be a really great time, resulting in uncontrollable laughter.

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We went in September and Matilda begged to return until we finally did for Ryan’s birthday shenanigans. We picked a school day, so it was pretty busy with hoards of large teenagers, but the kids were all really nice and we just skirted around the much taller car builders and tower knockers.

According to their facebook page, they have Pre K Mondays, which sounds all sorts of amazing for many reasons, one of which is that all the other local museums (Minnesota Children’s Museum and the Science Museum of Minnesota) are closed on Mondays.

I’d love to meet up for a local Minnesota Mom Monday hang out! Who’s in for some half-priced play with littles?

Rosedale Center and their Winter Wonderland

Have you been to Rosedale Center lately? Because it’s gorgeous. As a former weekly mall-walker, I can safely say that I would definitely walk this mall willingly. Wilson, on the other hand, has long outgrown his stroller, and would prefer to run it. Anyway. It’s gorgeous – bright, airy, clean. Matilda and I can shop here, aimlessly wandering and coffee dating for as long as she thinks I’m cool enough to hang out with (and then I’ll push it a few more years). Rosedale, two huge thumbs up.

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We spent a few days hanging out with their Santa in their new Winter Castle. I’m sure some of you felt a big hole of holiday happenings with the closing of Macy’s Downtown. We were so bummed we wouldn’t be able to see our annual Santa display. That was (along with many Minnesotans) our holiday tradition.

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While Rosedale Center isn’t Santaland, it’s pretty fun. Santa took time to get Wilson to warm up. He listened patiently to all of Matilda’s stories. He did a great job.

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We really enjoyed finding the other hidden holiday displays throughout the mall. My personal favorite was the giant, Christmas light ornament that you can stand in for photos ( I think I take my ornament photos a little differently than most visitors). Wilson really like jumping under the giant star.

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Overall, Rosedale Center was a really doable and fun family outing for the holidays, without dealing with driving down to the Mall of America. I’m crossing my fingers that updating their play area is next on their to-do list.

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Halloween Bash at the Minnesota Children’s Museum

This year, I was so excited when the Minnesota Children’s Museum was bringing back their Halloween Party. It was our favorite Halloween activity before they stopped hosting it for renovations. They offered a few different times, which was great. We went Sunday evening with Matilda and Ryan, and Wilson and I went back Monday morning to help out with a few photos. Halloween during the week is always a drag, so it was nice that weekend options were offered so everyone could join in on the fun.

We’re frequent visitors to the Minnesota Children’s Museum (and I’m a play ambassador for them, which basically means I get a membership and coupon code to share so you can get discounts on memberships – “EmilyO” will save you money on your next membership!). We try to go every Friday night as a way to reconnect as a family, to play, to decompress. We don’t always make it, but we try.

The kids had so much fun being silly with so many new friends. Wilson went as “Marshall from Paw Patrol” or “nothing”, depending on when you asked him (he didn’t actually dress up, so I have a brand new Marshall from Paw Patrol costume I’ll send you for free) and Matilda went as THE WORLD because she’s literally the coolest kid I know. She drew her dress and ordered it from Picture This Clothing. It was a piece of cake to do – you just print their template, your kid draws whatever they want to wear, you take a photo and email it back. Boom. Custom dress.

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She finished it off with a yellow sun hat, a rainbow necklace she made, Lularoe road leggings, and some dirt boots.

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An unexpected favorite from the Halloween party was this amazing lantern, which we promptly ordered and added to our daily life.

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We love the quieter ticketed events at the Children’s Museum, where we can explore and play a little more freely. We’ve already bought tickets for their New Year’s Eve bash and we can’t wait to go! An 8pm “human ball drop” featuring Twin Cities Trapeze? Heck yes!

The Return of the Schedule

Here we are, at the end of August. I can count the days left of summer vacation on one hand. We did first grade orientation yesterday, we had our meet the teacher today (where I had to describe my indescribably wonderful human in 20 words or less.).

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And I’m bummed.

You guys. I’m so bummed. I mean, I’m less bummed at 7 am when they’re fighting over who gets which frozen waffle or whether or not Matilda can walk through Wilson’s construction site in the middle of the hallway.

But right now, I’m sad. I’m sad that someone else will get to spend more time with my tiny human every day than I will. That she’ll adventure without me. That I’ll adventure without her.

As an adventurous mother, I will stare Tuesday in the face and say OH HELLO TUESDAY. GREAT TO SEE YOU. LETS DO THIS. But as a stay at home mom, I’ll swing by the Caribou drive through, order my usual hot drink, and cry in the car a bit while Wilson and I jet set somewhere for the day.

I’m excited to introduce myself. To recap our summer. To share our grand adventures.