Today’s Rock the Cradle event at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) / Children’s Theater seemed and huge success despite the small blizzard pending. Since the snow started at 9:30a.m., many savvy event-going parents planned to get to this event early today to beat the crowds and the snow. We almost opted out entirely, but my 7-yr-old daughter and I decided to go, based on previous experience. The rest of the family voted to stay home and play cards.
We arrived at noon and there was nowhere to park – the surfaces lots, three parking ramps and streets were full. (Note: my earlier blog about ease of parking, getting in and out, apparently only applies to the monthly family programming, not this annual event.) We waited at least 10 minutes for an on-street parked vehicle’s owner to brush her car down and leave so we could grab her spot. Worth the wait.
We were greeted in the lobby by a Current staffer who handed us a program and coupon book. There were arrow signs on the windows and around both buildings directing people. There was plenty to do between some specific things with start and end times and other things going all day long that you could just happen upon. By 12:10 the tickets for the free hourly puppet shows were all but sold out – there were a few remaining for the 3:30 performance.
Moving from the Children’s Theater to MIA, we took our seats to hear Chris Monroe, the cartoonist and author, as she sat in a big overstuffed chair on the MIA Pillsbury Stage and read three of her books while the pages displayed behind her. Ava, my 7-yr-old, was annoyed with all the babies crying and kids talking. Monroe read over the din and chattering (which died down by book two) and even seemed to find it and rediscovering her own stories amusing. Ava liked the Sneaky Sheep best and I enjoyed the Monkey with a Tool Belt and The Noisy Problem story including monkey’s elaborate tree house with an elephant stuck in his laundry chute.
Then back over to the theater side. We just missed Koo Koo Kanga Roo and only joined the Kid’s Disco area briefly with Dave Campbell. This area feels like a winter picnic. Parents literally plop down anywhere on the floor with all their gear and people just maneuver around. Ava got some good snacks courtesy of Mississippi Market and a tattoo from Pizza Luce. We do some browsing in the central theater area where books, cds, t-shirts and merchandise is for sale. We got some cool Current buttons. I don’t recall there being a coupon book last year, but this year’s seems a good value with partners like Blooma Yoga, Crave, MN Children’s Museum and Creative Kidstuff with deals in the mix.
What next? A quick look outside to see it’s still snowing. We decided to head it out as planned at 1:30. True to form, another 1.5hour outing. Because I may only have one more year left for kids to fit in the event’s target demographics, I’m glad we made the effort to attend what’s currently one of the best winter arts and music outings for parents and kids in the Twin Cities.