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.

The Museum will be closed on Labor Day, Monday, September 2 and for cleaning on Tuesday, September 10.

  • Harvest Festival: October 1 – 20

    Join us for the 5th annual Harvest Festival, a celebration of everything-fall! Make memories at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota while you play and learn about harvest and fall traditions. Come explore our toddler straw maze, play with corn and soybeans, and make sure to participate in a variety of special events and programs.

    Saturday, October 5
    9 am – 4 pm: Tractor Alley –  Come take a look at tractors and equipment that may be used on a farm! This is a free event in the alley by the Museum and the Museum’s parking lot.

    9 am – 2 pm: Grain Bin Safety – Learn how to be safe around grain bins with our guests from Minnesota State Southern Agricultural Center of Excellence and their simulated grain bin exhibit. What happens if someone needs help in a grain bin? Are you strong enough to get them out?

    10 – 11 am: Owls in Minnesota – Owls are fascinating birds and come in many shapes and sizes! Scott Kudelka, Minneopa Area Naturalist, is coming to the Museum to share his knowledge about the 12 species of owls in Minnesota. We’ll listen to owl sounds, view feathers, talons, and taxidermied exhibits.

    Sunday, October 6
    1  – 3 pm: 4-H Engineering Design Challenge Demo – The Watonwan County 4-H team will demonstrate their machine with which they won a purple champion ribbon at the state level in the 2019 Engineering Design Challenge. This year’s theme was to help a superhero save the planet. During National 4-H week (October 6 – 12), check out exhibits from our local 4-H clubs in the Museum space.

    Saturday, October 12
    10 am – 12 pm: Wheat to Bread, and More – Knead dough, sprinkle dried herbs grown at the Museum on it, then bake bread with Bentley McGowan Wagomobile. Amy Kyllo, the 66th Princess Kay of the Milk Way, will be at the Museum, making butter with visitors.

     1 – 3 pm: Cider Making with the Haggerty Family

    Sunday, October 13
    10 am – 2 pm: Food Preservation with Under the Sun Herbs. Come see dried herbs and teas and learn about the ways you could use them in your cooking.

    MEA Weekend

    Thursday, October 17
    12:30 – 3:30 pm: Ag Afternoon with Midwest Dairy, Minnesota Soil Health Coalition, Minnesota Pork, Minnesota Turkey, and Alltech

    6 – 8 pm: Harvest Hoedown – a variety of harvest-themed activities, including Square Dance (6:30 – 7:30 pm), Chicken Poop Bingo, and harvest food tasting

    Friday, October 18
    9:30 – 10:30 am: Pets & Vets with Minnesota Valley Pet Hospital: dog wellness check-up (with a real dog!). Bring your stuffed animals for a check-up, too.

    9:30 – 10:30 am: Reading nook with therapy dogs, Louie and Niko.

    Saturday, October 19
    Old-fashioned Fun & Games: Pumpkin ring toss, egg & spoon, pumpkin tic tac toe, potato sack races, stilts, walking boards, and more.

    Sunday, October 20
    1 pm: Pet EXPO visit: come see amphibians and reptiles!

  • Girls Can: International Day of the Girl – October 10

    Thursday, October 10, 4:30 – 7:00 pm

    Inspired by global efforts to raise awareness of the unique challenges girl face, and to advocate for girls’ rights, the Children’s Museum has partnered with Mankato Area Public Schools, YWCA, Mankato West VEX Robotics, and community organizations and businesses to recognize this day and engage and empower girls in our community.

    Join us on October 10 from 4:30 – 7 pm to celebrate this day and engage in hands-on activities at no cost! Everyone is welcome!

  • Haydn Go Seek! Family Concert Series

    Saturday, September 28, 3 – 4 pm
    Saturday, November 9, 3 – 4 pm
    Saturday, January 25, 3 – 4 pm
    Saturday, April 18, 3 – 4 pm
    Free playtime starts at 2 pm each of these four dates.

    The Mankato Symphony Orchestra returns to the Museum! Join MSO for a new Family Concert Series created for children and their caregivers. The performance features musicians, actors, storytelling, and musical activities. Concerts have a run time of approximately 45 minutes and are performed without intermission and all ages are welcome.

    Come to the concert an hour early (starting at 2 pm) and enjoy hands-on play at the Museum at no cost.

  • Special Needs Accessibility Playtime – October 25

    Friday, October 25, 4:30 – 7:30 pm

    Children with special needs or sensory challenges and their families are invited to a playdate at the Museum on Friday, October 25, during a time when fewer visitors will be present. Come explore the Museum’s exciting exhibits and enjoy hands-on play!

    To help prepare your child for this playtime, check out the Museum’s social story: “A Trip to the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota.”

  • What’s in the AgLab?

    Three Sisters Garden
    The month of September

    Many Native Americans believed the Three Sisters: corn, beans, and squash, could only thrive if grown together, in turn providing foods to support a healthy diet. This interactive exhibit provides visitors with a chance to plant and harvest a Three Sisters Garden.

  • Who’s in the Alltech Farm?

    Museum Chickens

    The chickens in the Farmyard hatched in the incubator at the Museum the first week in May. These chickens will be raised as egg-layers and the hens will start laying eggs this fall. Breeds that we have in the coop are: Barred Rock, Rhode Island Reds, White Chochin, and a Blue Andalusian.

    Thank you to Compeer for a grant that allowed us to build the chicken coop and update the pen for this exhibit, and to Alltech for providing feed for the chickens.

    Museum Pigs

    Our pigs have gone to market, weighing 364 and 395 pounds! The local Echo Food Shelf will receive a donation of almost 400 pounds of pork.

    Thank you to the following sponsors for assisting the Museum with its livestock program: Alltech, Minnesota Pork Board, Compart Family Farm, Hogslat, and Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council.

  • Toddler Wednesday

    Wednesdays, 9:30, 10:00, 10:30 am

    Toddler Wednesday is a weekly program geared towards the Museum’s youngest visitors. Children are naturally curious, and in these sessions, that curiosity is embraced and nourished. Toddler Wednesday enhances Museum experience by encouraging children to move around and take a closer look at things that are going on. There is no worry about making it through the whole session, or showing up at the very beginning. Your child will sometimes get into it and enjoy the program, and sometimes they won’t, which is perfectly okay!

    As you arrive and check in, pick up your “ticket” at the front desk, then take it to the Rotary Education Center at the beginning of your session. Toddler Wednesday program is included with Museum membership or daily admission.

    September 4
    Fall into Autumn – This session is all about apples! Let’s dissect, eat, and paint with apples.

    September 11
    Taking Care of YOU
    – Self-care is not just a catchy phrase. In order to take care of others, we must take care of ourselves. Let’s spend some time talking about you. Children and caregivers are encouraged to wear pajamas to this session of Toddler Wednesday–we’re making this day a Pajama Day! This program is developed in partnership with Mayo Clinic Health System.

    September 18
    Nature Walk
    – What can we find on an adventure outside? Let’s take a walk and do a scavenger hunt together!

    September 25
    Dog Safety
    – Come hang out with Louie, a therapy dog, and his owner, Brenda Allen. We’ll talk about safety around dogs.

  • STEAM in the Loft

    STEAM in the Loft
    Thursdays, 3 – 6 pm
    Saturdays, 10 am – 12 pm & 1 – 3 pm
    Sundays, 1 – 3 pm

    Climb into Cecil’s Imagineering Loft and enjoy STEAM programming seven days a week throughout the summer months! These programs are designed with children age 6 and beyond in mind, but everyone is welcome to play and learn in the Loft! Included with Museum membership or daily admission.

    September 5, 7, 8, 12, 14, and 15
    Generating Energy – What is energy? How do we generate it? Join us in the Loft to explore the different forms of energy around us. This program is part of Powering Play, a four session series devoted to learning about energy, funded by the Xcel Energy Foundation.

    September 19, 21, 22, 26, 28, and 29
    Pirate Takeover – Pirates have taken over the Loft! Create your own pirate hat and eye patch, design a flag for your ship, and maybe hunt for some treasure. Be on the lookout for a special pirate celebration day, too.

  • Tabletop Activities

    Available daily, Tuesday through Sunday, in the Kato Engineering Explorers’ Lab

    September 3 -8
    Stamping – Stamp a scene with animals and plants.

    September 10 – 15 & 17 – 22
    Loose Parts –  Sort various recyclables by color.

    September 24 – 29
    Balancing – Balance your body on a beam or blocks on a fulcrum.

  • Bookmobile Visits

    Wednesdays, 2:00 – 3:00 pm

    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.

  • Baby Café

    Thursdays, 12:30 – 2:30 pm

    New mothers and mothers-to-be interested in breastfeeding are encouraged to visit the Mankato Area Baby Café. Baby Café is a national network of breastfeeding drop-ins, combining breastfeeding information with a relaxed, informal environment where mothers can chat and learn about breastfeeding from skilled practitioners and each other. Mankato Area Baby Café is made possible by Mayo Clinic Health System.

    For more information, call 507.594.2967.