Programs & Events

The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota is all about hands-on play and unique programs and events. Read below to learn more about what is happening in the Museum galleries. If you would like the Museum’s upcoming events delivered to your email address, click here to sign up for our mailing list!

The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota reserves the right to change the programming plans. Please watch this website and Facebook page for updates.

  • Harvest Festival 2017

    September 30 – October 31

    The month of October is all about harvest here at the Museum! Join us to celebrate fall and meet farm animals, learn how to care for them, what they eat and where they live, what they are used for, and more. Learn about farming, explore and sample the crops growing in the Museum gardens, run through the Toddler Maze, and play in the Corn and Soybean Pits. The Museum is the place to be, fall after fall!

    Follow our event on Facebook, too!

    We’ll kick off Harvest Festival on Saturday, September 30, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., with a third annual Vehicle Fair. Come explore tractors, tree service vehicles, haul and dump trucks, and other vehicles and equipment that can help at a farm. This is a free event located in the parking lot and boulevard, while regular admission rates apply to the Museum’s indoor and outdoor galleries.

    Here are some of the events during our third annual Harvest Festival. Make sure to check the website often for more detailed information!

    October 1 – 7: National 4-H Week
    National 4-H week celebrates 4-H youth by sharing their stories and recognizing their commitment to making a positive impact in their communities. The Museum will help celebrate by offering a special discount to 4-H members during the week: 4-H members wearing their 4-H T-shirt, hat, headband, or badge will get to enjoy the exhibits, galleries, and activities within the Museum for half price. During this time, we will have 4-H projects from the Blue Earth and Nicollet County Fairs on display.

    Saturday, October 7, 10 a.m.
    Come learn about dairy farms and products, and make butter to sample and take home. Meet Emily Annexstad, the 64th Princess Kay of the Milk Way and be here to unveil a new Dairy Barn exhibit.

    Saturday, October 14, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. & 1 – 4 p.m.
    Commodity Day at the Museum: join  Minnesota Soybean, Minnesota Corn, and Ridley, Inc. to learn more about crops and livestock feed.

    Sunday, October 15, 1 – 3 p.m.
    Join us to see an apple cider-making demonstration on a real cider press from the Haggerty family from Mankato. Holly Ellison, a Hy-Vee dietician, will be here  for some apple tasting and nutrition tips.

    Thursday, October 19
    9:30 a.m.
    – Join Scott Kudelka, Minneopa Area Naturalist, for a special program about owls. Learn about the 12 owls found in Minnesota.
    4 – 7 p.m. – Join our guests from Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP, and help harvest the popcorn in the Farmyard, then sample freshly-made kettle corn. Last year, visitors had a great time picking the small cobs of popcorn.

    October 19 – 20
    Spend your MEA break at the Museum, join our special guests and learn about science. We’ll have some great science experiment demos on site!

    October 20, 9 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
    Grain Bin Safety: learn more about staying safe around grain bins or on the farm with an interactive exhibit.

    October 21 – 22
    What glows and oozes? Work with slime and glowsticks!

    October 24 – 31
    Explore pumpkins; what’s inside? Pumpkin decoration and dissecting programs.

    October 28, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    Check in with Mayo Clinich Health System physicians to sample harvest foods and to hear about healthy lifestyle and eating.

    October 31: Halloween Parade
    Wear a costume and participate in a parade at 10:30 a.m. or 3:30 p.m. and receive a treat.

  • FIRST® LEGO® League Jr.

    FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota

    Fall/Winter 2017 Season

    FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. (FLLJr) is a hands-on program designed to capture young children’s curiosity and direct it toward discovering how science and technology impact the world around them. Each yearly challenge is based on a different theme and has two main parts, the LEGO motorized model and the Show Me poster. This year, teams will tackle the Aqua Adventure challenge. More information about the challenge can be found here.

    Our teams will consist of 6 children and are guided by 2 adult coaches. During the season, children will work together and as a team they will:

    • Conduct research about the current Challenge theme
    • Build a LEGO® model as a team, based on the Challenge instructions, that contains both a simple machine and a motorized part
    • Display their team’s discoveries on a Show Me poster

    This year the Museum will support 2 teams:  

    • Team 1: 6 year olds
    • Team 2: 7 – 8 year olds

    Teams will meet for 9 practice sessions on Mondays, 4:30 – 5:45 p.m. Practice dates include: October 9, October 16, October 23, November 6, November 13, November 20, November 27, December 4, and December 11.

    The Museum will host a showcase for teams to share about their discoveries with families and invited guest judges on December 16, 2017.

    Information about opportunities for teams to participate in an off-site MN FLL Jr. Expo after the Museum’s program season finishes will be shared during the first 2 weeks of practice. In order to register for the Expo, a team must have at least three interested members who will be available to attend the event. An additional fee for the Expo registration may be involved.

    Registration Information:

    Registration fees:
    $60 members/$70 non-members*

    *Does not include MN FLL Jr Expo registration (if your team decides to participate, there may be an additional fee of up to $10).

    Team 1 (age 6) – full!
    Team 2 (age 7  – 8) – full!


  • After School in the Loft

    Tuesday through Friday, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

    Every week, Tuesday through Friday, spend your after-school time at the Museum, engaging in activities specially designed for school-aged children.

    October 3 – 6
    Weaving with Fall Colors: Use yarn and fabric, sticks, leaves, cardboard looms, and other found objects to create woven artwork.

    October 10 – 13
    Clay Lab: Join us for a fall edition of Clay Lab, where we’ll use polymer clay to sculpt foods that we harvest and enjoy during the fall.

    October 17 – 20
    What Glows and Oozes: Make slime and glow stick sculptures with us!

    October 24 – 27
    Pumpkins: Get to know them inside and out! Join us for a pumpkin dissection activity.


  • Tabletop Activities

    Available daily in the Kato Engineering Explorers’ Lab

    October 3 – 8
    Test your balance on the wooden beams and balance wooden shapes on a tabletop fulcrum.

    October 10 – 15
    Stamp a card with fruits you can find in the garden in the fall.

    October 17 – 22
    Roll, knead, cut, and squeeze a fun, rubbery goop.

    October 24 – 29
    Arrange a variety of materials to creae a face on a wooden pumpkin plate.


  • Toddler Wednesday

    Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m.

    Fall into Wellness with Mayo Clinic Health System during the month of October. This four-week series will be all about moving our bodies, healthy eating, laughing, and exploring autumn using our senses.

    October 4
    Let’s move our bodies and celebrate the colors of fall together!

    October 11
    It’s all about apples today! Join us for a variety of activities, including apple sampling.

    October 18
    Laughter is the best medicine! We’ll laugh as we read silly stories and make paperbag puppets.

    October 25
    This week, we’ll use all of our senses to explore autumn.

    Toddler Wednesdays sessions start at 10:00 am. Please arrive early to reserve your spot.


  • STEAM in the Loft

    Thursdays, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
    Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. & 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
    Sundays, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

    October 5, 7 & 8
    Join us in the Cecil’s Imagineering Loft to look at the colors of fall. We’ll check a variety of animal habitats and explore their colors and textures during fall.

    October 12, 14 & 15
    We’ll experiment with different ways to measure favorite fall foods. Let’s use scales, balances, cups, and other containers together!

    October 19, 21 & 22
    Experiment with us and learn about lights and shadows! We’ll make mini lanterns and shadow puppets.

    October 26, 28 & 29
    Do you know your pumpkins? Let’s look at them inside and out. Join us to decorate pumpkins with stencils, paints, and yarn.

  • Ridley Farm Animals

    September 29 – October 1: Alpacas from the Guhlke/Jobe farm near Lake Crystal

    October 5 – 8: Dairy calves from the Birr Farm are staying in the Ridley Farm for the weekend, joined by a dairy steer on Sunday, October 8

    October 13 – 15: 4-H horse program with horses from the Klecker & Hansen families

    October 20 – 22: Fritz the Pony from the Engel Family Farm near North Mankato

    October 28: A storytime with Charlene Bradley and her rabbit


  • 4-H Week – October 1 – 7

    October 1 – 7

    Learn more about the 4-H program the first week of Harvest Festival! During the week, 4-H members will receive half-price admission if they wear or bring their T-shirt, badge, hat, or any other proof of membership.

    Sunday, October 1, 1:00 p.m.
    The Watonwan County Rube Goldberg 4-H Team will be here to demonstrate their project and talk about this special program. They are the State Fair Purple Ribbon winners.

    Wednesday, October 4, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
    Stop by for a 4-H open house and learn more about the program and how to sign up.

  • Dairy Day – October 7

    Saturday, October 7

    10:00 a.m.
    Come celebrate a new exhibit in the  AgLab! We’re excited to unveil a scale model dairy barn where children can take on the role of a dairy farmer by managing manure, controlling the climate, and keeping cows comfortable on various types of bedding. Cows can be fed and watered, as well as put on pasture in this new hands-on exhibit.

    Dairy Barn is sponsored by Nicollet County Dairy Producers, Brown County Dairy Producers, Waseca County Dairy Association, and Southern Minnesota Center of Agriculture.

    10:30 a.m.
    Meet Emily Annexstad, the 64th Princess Kay of the Milky Way, and participate in butter-making activities.

    Sunday, October 8
    Stop by the Ridley Farm and check out a dairy steer from the Birr Family Farm, that will be joining their dairy calves for the day. The Birr family will be here to answer questions about raising cattle and showing them at the fair.


  • International Day of the Girl – October 11

    Wednesday, October 11, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.

    Join a global effort to ensure a world free of discrimination for girls and young women and come participate in a free-of-charge interactive robotics workshop at the Children’s Museum! The purpose of this event is to empower the hands and minds of students to advocate for equity and to change the world. No signup is required and all ages are welcome, and students in grades K – 12 are especially encouraged to join.

    For more information, email Kim Mueller.

    In 2011, as the result of youth advocacy around the world, the United Nations declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child. It mission is to help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.”

  • No-School Programs – October 19 & 20

    Thursday & Friday, October 19 – 20, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. & 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
    Navigating at Night: How do we figure out where we’re going when it’s dark? How do bats and other animals do it? Join us for experiments that help us engage our senses, and discover how other animals are similar or different.

    Thursday, October 19, 10:30 a.m.
    Dynamic Demos: Exploding Science – Eric Koser and his guest will conduct an exciting (and messy!) science experiments.

    Friday, October 20, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
    Dynamic Demos: Brain Games – Adam Reiner will bring a real human brain and other models, and facilitate an activity with electrodes to measure electrical activity when we flex our muscles.

    Activating the Potential of STEM-Powered Play Outside of the School Day is a project that provides opportunities for Museum visitors to engage in hands-on STEM learning activities on days when there is no school. This project is funded through the Consolidated Communications Community Fund of the Mankato Area Foundation.

  • Minnesota Owls – October 19

    Thursday, October 19, 9:30 a.m.
    Join Scott Kudelka, Minneopa Area Naturalist, for a special program about owls. Learn about the 12 owls found in Minnesota and see if it can be figured out what owls eat by pulling one of their pellets apart.

  • Halloween Costume Parade – October 31

    Tuesday, October 31, 10:30 a.m. & 3:30 p.m.

    Trick-or-Treat with us! Wear your costume and come show it off at the Museum on Halloween. We’ll form a parade at 10:30 a.m. and again at 3:30 p.m., and hand out healthy treats.

  • FREE Family Fun Night at the Museum

    Thursday, October 19, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.

    Join us at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota and explore the galleries and exhibits, as well as participate in a variety of activities at no cost. This event is sponsored by Wells Fargo and their support helps to provide a Gateway to Play for families that experience barriers to Museum participation.

    These events are funded in part with money from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund that was created with the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008. Museum access opportunities are especially intended for families that may experience barriers to Museum participation, but everyone is welcome to attend these events.

  • Special Needs Accessibility Playtime

    Friday, October 27, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.

    Children with special needs or sensory challenges and their families are invited to a playdate at the Museum on Friday, October 27, during a time when fewer visitors will be present. Explore the Museum from 4:30 – 7:30 pm at no cost thanks to the sponsorship by Mayo Clinic Health System.

    To help prepare your child for this playtime, check out the Museum’s Social Story.

  • Bookmobile Visits

    Wednesdays, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

    The North Mankato Taylor Library Bookmobile  will stop at the Museum every Wednesday from 2:00 – 3:00 pm. Check out some new materials, or return any area library books. During the Bookmobile’s visit, Amy will come into the Museum for a storytime in one of the galleries.