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Tim Kennedy

One Final Adventure: The Witch's Hat Water Tower

Well, Regal Guardians, the time has come for me to say goodbye to my StarTribune.com home. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said that change is the only constant in life, and the editors are reinforcing this dictum by changing their approach to the "Your Voices" section of the publication. I've been told they will feature fewer bloggers and rotate writers more frequently. Unfortunately, I won't be one of those writers.

The news was bittersweet. I have truly enjoyed writing for the Star Tribune over the last three years. Not only did I have an outlet for my work, but my association with the Strib opened the doors to some unique opportunities. I was fortunate enough to make an appearance on MPR's Daily Circuit in October, and I interviewed Minnesota Twins closer Glen Perkins and his wife, Alicia, to promote Fifteen's 5K last summer. These are experiences I won't soon forget, and for that I am grateful.

On the other hand, my boys are now 11 and 12 years old, respectively, and spent much of last summer asking if they could visit friends to go biking or play ball at the park. They are now creating their own adventures and are less dependent on me for finding things to do. I guess I'm grateful for that, too.

So, the future is a bit cloudy for me. It's possible I might find a new home in a different section of StarTribune.com, or perhaps in a different publication altogether. I might continue writing on my original blog site. Or maybe I slap Heraclitus on the back, embrace the changes swirling around me, and simply move on to the next adventure. Only time will tell. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my ramblings over the past few years. I hope you have stumbled upon some memorable adventures with your family and maybe had a few laughs along the way. It has been thrilling for me to know that my work had an audience. That is a gift. In the event that you might like to find future posts, you can check the blog site linked above or follow me on Twitter @AColdOmaha for Daily Adventure ideas. I am also posting music and restaurant reviews at MinnyApple.com, if you are into that sort of thing. If not, happy trails and thanks for the memories!

Friday, May 29

As I bid you adieu, might I suggest a visit to the Witch's Hat Water Tower in Prospect Park? If you've ever driven on the section of Interstate 94 that connects Minneapolis and St. Paul you've probably seen the mysterious green hat that brings to mind the Wicked Witch of the West. The 102 year-old tower sits on the highest natural ground in the city of Minneapolis and is open to the public only one day per year, the Friday after Memorial Day, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. You can enjoy music, performing groups and food vendors on the grounds as you wait to climb the 110 feet up to the observation deck. From there you'll get great views of downtown, the University of Minnesota, and the Pratt Ice Cream Social taking place below.

Enjoy! Many more adventures to you!

Family adventures: Creepy-crawly exhibition, Trains & Tots and ExploraDome

Even if you're sticking close to home during spring break this year, you can still explore some exotic locales. Here are a few things happening in the Twin Cities that might transport you to far-away places.

Monday, March 30: Thailand and Malaysia

Minnesota bugs are relatively innocuous. Our climate insures that they never really get too "meaty," and not many of them can kill you. But poisonous bugs tend to be pretty, so we generally end up with small, dreary critters in our neck of the woods. This is definitely not the case at the Creepy Crawly Exhibit at the Textile Center. This installation features big and colorful bugs, mostly from Thailand and Malaysia, pinned to the walls to evoke textile patterns and wallpaper. The show is free and open until May 16 from 10 am-7 pm M-Th, and 10 am-5 pm on Friday and Saturday. Don't worry, the website states that the artist, Jennifer Angus, is an insect advocate so I'm confidant no crawlies were harmed in the making of this art.

Tuesday, March 31: Sweden

IKEA started as a small furniture company in southern Sweden. Now they promise a "fun children's activity" every Tuesday at 1:30 pm, and kids 12 and under can get a free meal all day long with no purchase necessary! Now, I have no idea what this fun children's activity might be, so it's a bit of a gamble. Maybe this counts a detour to Vegas? At worst, we'll get a free plate of Swedish meatballs and the fun activity is trying to find our way out of the store without following the marked path. The best case scenario is that I refurnish my home office for $17.98. I'll take that bet. At 7 pm tonight, author Jane Yolen will present and sign books at the Red Balloon Bookshop. Her book, Owl Moon, is one of my favorites.

Wednesday, April 1: Seattle

James J. Hill's Great Northern Railway stretched all the way from St. Paul to Seattle. This railroad was so important economically that Hill was nicknamed "The Empire Builder," but his mighty engines of prosperity had trouble turning around on their own. That's where roundhouses came in. A roundhouse had a rotating platform that could turn an engine around or direct it toward a maintenance bay. The Jackson Street Roundhouse no longer serves this purpose, but it does host a Tots & Trains event today from 10am to noon. It's a little pricey at $10 for adults, $8 for kids 5-15 and $5 for 2-4 year-olds, but in addition to the displays they offer a play area, craft, story, snack and coffee. You might want to check out the video on their site before going to provide some context for what you'll see.

Thursday, April 2: France

You've probably heard of impressionistic painting - Monet, Renoir, and Degas painted in this style - but there was also an impressionism movement in music born about the same time, and all of it came out of France. The idea is the same in both disciplines: the artist suggests the theme of the work rather than clearly establishing a formal image for the audience. Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel are considered the pioneers of impressionistic music and some of their work, along with a composition by Francis Poulenc, will fill Courtroom 317 during a free concert at Landmark Center today from noon to 1pm. I wonder if anybody ever does impressions of impressionistic artists? Maybe that'll be the next event series at Landmark Center. Maybe not.  

Friday, April 3: The Edge of the Universe!

This day of space exploration lasts well into the evening. Would you expect anything less for such a lofty journey? Start at 3 pm in the ExploraDome at the Bell Museum of Natural History. This trip titled, Zoom! From Earth to the Edge of the Universe does just that. Fortunately, it also brings you back. The ticket costs $6 per adult and $4 per child over 3 years of age. Then it's off to the Science Museum of Minnesota where you can catch Journey to Space in the Omni Theater on the hour from 3-9pm ($8 adults, $7 kids). If you're so inclined you can also check out the special exhibit, Space: An Out-of-Gravity Experience. If you go that route look into a family membership to make it more cost effective. Finally, head to the Tate Laboratory of Physics and Astronomy on the U of M campus. There will be a short presentation on eclipses at 8pm in room 131 followed by the chance to skygaze with their telescopes.

Follow on Twitter @AColdOmaha for last-minute updates and unexpected discoveries. 

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