If you only associate the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum with flowers and springtime, you’re missing out. From lavish holiday dinners to family-friendly activities to keep the kids from saying “I’m bored” during their break from school, the arboretum will be “making spirits bright” all season long. Taste flavors unique to the season at the Traditional Holiday Tea (throughout the month), Family Holiday Breakfast (December 8, 9-11 a.m.) or Holiday Gourmet Dinner (December 14, 6:30-8:30 p.m.). Or learn how to make scrumptious sweets for holiday gift giving at the Truffle-Making Class (December 1, 9-11 a.m.).
Educate the kids’ palates about plants that spice up holiday baking at Sugar and Spice (weekends in December) or join in Holiday Cookie Decorating (December 15, 10 a.m.-noon). The Holiday Kids’ Shop (weekends through December 23, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.) gives kids a chance to “buy” gifts for their whole family with the help of adult volunteers.
Growing up, the first big snowfall always meant two things: the chance of a snow day off from school and breaking out the “skinny skis.” Celebrate the last day of 2012 with free admission to anyone arriving with skis or snowshoes as a part of Ar-brrr-etum (December 31). The arboretum offers 10 miles of groomed trails for cross-country skiing (classic only) and an additional three miles for snowshoeing. Tip: Check the website for updates on snowfall and trail conditions.
Other activities include complimentary Nordic walking and snowshoeing lessons and equipment usage from Hoigaard’s (December 28, 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.), Winter Wonderland Walk (December 29, 10 a.m.-noon) and Pictures with Santa (weekends through December 23).
Fees vary for activities. General Admission $12, free for children 12 and under and every Thursday all day.