As America celebrates Presidents Day, kids kick up their heels with a day off school. Wondering what to do to keep them occupied? Here’s a list of ideas, including free events, happening Monday.
1. Go behind the scenes at the Children’s Theatre Company. The All Access Celebration Open House reveals tricks of theatre magic by allowing guests to view costumes, scenery and props up close. Play with shadow puppets, hear stories from CTC actors and watch performances by community artists. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. childrenstheatre.org.
2. Ever heard of a Rigamajig? No? Well, get on over to the Minnesota Children’s Museum to play with the all-ages building set that teaches engineering basics. There also are interactive displays, including “Very Eric Carle: A Very Hungry, Quiet, Lonely, Clumsy, Busy Exhibit” and “Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice.” 9 a.m.-4 p.m. $9.95. mcm.org.
3. Seek heat along the Tropics Trail at the Minnesota Zoo, where guests can play in the state’s biggest indoor sandbox. View shark feedings, bird shows and Hawaiian monk seal demonstrations. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. $12-$18. mnzoo.org.
4. Just because school is out, doesn’t mean the learning has to stop. The Works Museum creates mind-expanding fun with interactive exhibits. Experiment with simple machines, optical technologies and more. A design lab offers challenges that allow families to create and work collaboratively. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. $8. theworks.org.
5. Omnifest is showing breathtaking films on a giant screen at the Science Museum of Minnesota, including “Humpback Whales,” “Forces of Nature” and “Mysteries of the Great Lakes.” Inside the museum, see the exhibit “Race: Are We So Different?” Or check out interactive displays on the human body, dinosaur replicas and fossils. 8:45 a.m.-6 p.m. $10-$20. smm.org.
6. Inspect bizarre insects from around the globe at “Dr. Entomo’s Palace of Exotic Wonders,” at the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory’s exhibit gallery. Check out the giant African millipede, which looks harmless, but unleashes a dangerous cyanide secretion. Other curious creatures include Madagascan hissing cockroaches, tarantulas and house crickets. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. comozooconservatory.org.
7. Add extra layers and go visit the Eden Prairie Ice Castles, made of ice and snow with a floor of crushed ice. Walking through the blue-hued buildings is sure to chill out antsy school kids. Warm up with hot chocolate and treats from Taste the Love Bakery inside the castles. Noon-10 p.m. $6.95-$15. icecastles.com.