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 December 25 (Christmas Day) and January 1 (New Year’s Day).
Early Closing: December 24 @ 1 pm
Open these Mondays: December 23 & December 30

  • No School? No Problem! Thanksgiving & Winter Break

    On Mankato Area Public Schools no-school days, make your way to Cecil’s Imagineering Loft and see what we’ve planned!

    These drop-in activities are developed for children ages 6 and up and their adults and are included with daily admission or Museum membership.

    Thanksgiving Break
    Science Rocks! – Climb into the Loft to learn all the secrets of rocks and minerals! We’ll experiment with some common food items to make our own rocks as well.

    Tuesday, November 26: 10 am – 12 pm & 1 – 3 pm
    Wednesday, November 27: 10 am – 12pm & 1 – 3 pm
    Thursday, November 28: Closed for Thanksgiving
    Friday, November 29: 10 am – 12 pm & 1 – 3 pm
    Saturday, November 30: 10 am – 12 pm & 1 – 3 pm
    Sunday, December 1: 1 – 3 pm

    Winter Break
    Escape the Loft! – Come check out our very own escape room in the Loft, designed and facilitated by Teen Volunteer Playworkers. Find the clues and solve the puzzles, then make your own and share with friends and family.

    Monday, December 23: 10 am – 12 pm & 1 – 3 pm
    Tuesday, December 24: 10 am – 12 pm (Museum closing at 1 pm)
    Wednesday, December 25: Closed
    Thursday, December 26: 10am – 12 pm, 3 – 6 pm
    Friday, December 27: 10 am – 12 pm & 1 – 3 pm
    Saturday, December 28: 10 am – 12 pm & 1 – 3 pm
    Sunday, December 29: 1 – 3 pm
    Monday, December 30: 10 am – 12 pm & 1 – 3 pm
    Tuesday, December 31: 10 am – 12 pm & 1 – 3 pm
    Wednesday, January 1: Closed

    No-school day programs are part of Reactivating the Potential of STEM-Powered Play Outside of the School Day, funded by the Consolidated Communications Community Fund of the Mankato Area Foundation.

  • Decorate a Gingerbread House – December 14 & 15

    Love the smell of gingerbread? Join us for our annual gingerbread house decorating activity at the Museum! Allow the children to get their creative juices flowing as you’ll be leaving the mess behind! Work on one house per family, or purchase one for each person. It’s up to you and your creative needs!

    The price includes one pre-constructed house and a variety of decorative foods.

    $20 per house for Museum members
    $25 per house for non-members*

    Workshop dates:
    Saturday, December 14, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm Click here to purchase a house.
    Sunday, December 15, 12:30 – 3:30 pm Click here to purchase a house.

    * Price of house does not include admission to Museum galleries for non-members.

    Gingerbread houses are made in partnership with Hy-Vee and are constructed by the Museum’s wonderful volunteers.

  • Outdoor Winter Adventure – January 20

    Monday, January 20
    10 am – 2 pm

    Stop by the Children’s Museum for an Outdoor Adventure Day. Dress for winter weather and enjoy outdoor fun in the Dotson Back 40 with snowshoeing, fort-building, and more! At 10 am, Scott Kudelka, Minneopa Area Naturalist, will be at the Museum to lead a snowshoeing adventure in the Museum outdoors. Learn how to put snowshoes on and go on a hike about the Dotson Back 40. Learn the history of snowshoeing, and see how you’ll do at one of the most accessible and easiest of all winter sports.

    This adventure day is part of SnowKato Days, a 10-day winter festival in Mankato, full of activities for all ages and interests. Included with Museum membership or daily admission.


  • Haydn Go Seek! Family Concert Series – January 25

    Saturday, January 25, 3 – 4 pm
    Saturday, April 18, 3 – 4 pm
    Free playtime starts at 2 pm each of these four dates. The performance is available to children and families at no cost.

    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 Museum an hour before the concert (at 2 pm) and enjoy hands-on play at the Museum at no cost!

  • Trivia Night – February 1

    Saturday, February 1, 2020, 6:00 – 10:00 pm
    Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Hotel and Conference Center, 1900 Premier Dr., Mankato

    It’s time for our annual fundraiser, Trivia Night! Join us for a night of food and fun, casual dress, and a cash bar. (P.S. You’ll need cash for a meat raffle and other fun games, too!)

    Have a team already? Reserve a table of 8 and make sure you all stick together! Your team table reservation will include dinner, beads for each person, and mulligans for your team. (Beads? You’ll need them to participate in a variety of games between the rounds of trivia questions. Mulligans serve as one free answer per round.) The cost of a table of 8 with all add-ons is $480.

    Individual tickets are $45 per person and include dinner. Individually purchased tickets do not guarantee seating at the table of choice.

    Reserve your table or buy tickets today!

    Doors open at 6 pm, dinner is at 6:30 pm, and Trivia and Games start at 7:30 pm. Dinner options include a burger & topping bar or vegetarian option.

    This year’s sponsors are Gislason & Hunter LLP and Minnstar Bank N.A.


    We are still looking for a few business sponsors. If your business is interested in supporting this event and the Children’s Museum, please contact Kaaren.


  • What’s in the AgLab?

    What’s the Scoop on Farm Animal Poop?
    The month of December

    Animal poop can tell us many important things about what an animal eats, where they’ve been, or the state of their health. Explore this farm animal exhibit to learn more about animal poop! Make sure to check out the model pig barn in the AgLab, too.

  • 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.

    December 4
    Winter Arts & Crafts – Stuck inside? Let’s get creative with materials we have around the house.

    December 11
    Winter Prep
    – We’ll talk about the importance of outdoor play in the winter months. Do you know how to dress for the weather and how to look for frostbite signs? This program is developed in partnership with Mayo Clinic Health System.

    December 18
    Big Blue Forts
    – Let’s crawl, walk, and move through forts built with our Big Blue Blocks.

    December 25
    Museum will be closed.

  • STEAM in the Loft

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

    The Museum will be closed on December 25 (Christmas Day) and January 1 (New Year’s Day).
    Early closings: December 24 @ 1 pm
    The Museum will be open on these Mondays: December 23 and December 30.

    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.

    December 1, 5, 7, and 8
    Science Rocks! – Learn the secrets of rocks and minerals and use common food items to make your own rocks as well.

    December 12, 14, 15, 19, 21, and 22
    Using Energy – Experience the use of energy with robots and light experiments. Discover different sources of energy and see how they can be used in your daily life.

    December 23, 25 through 31
    Escape Room – Can you Escape the Loft? Come check out our very first escape room, designed and run by Teen Playworker Volunteers. Find the clues and solve the puzzles, then make your own and share them with friends and family. This program is part of Reactivating the Potential of STEM-Powered Play Outside of the School Day, funded by the Consolidated Communications Community Fund of the Mankato Area Foundation.

  • Tabletop Activities

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

    The Museum will be closed on Thursday, November 28, for Thanksgiving.

    December 3 – 8 & 10 – 15
    Magnets – Explore how magnets attract and repel each other and test which found objects are magnetic.

    December 17 – 22, 24 & 26 – 29
    Stamping –  Use apples, lemons, oranges, and squash to create a beautiful stamped mural to hang in the Museum.

  • 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.