Our family experienced the Saint Paul Winter Carnival Drive-Thru on opening day, January 28, 2021, and here’s what we loved and what you can expect!
I posted about this unique event a few weeks ago. The Saint Paul Winter Carnival of course isn’t new (far from it!), but the drive-thru experience is new this year, thanks of course to COVID.
But it’s a fun experience nonetheless!
This new drive-thru experience combines TWO of the Winter Carnival’s signature events – the Ice Carving Competition and the Snow Sculpture Contest. It will be each day of the Carnival – January 28th – February 7th, 2021, at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.
We went on opening night and enjoyed a slow drive through the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, admiring snow and ice sculptures on both sides of the road, and members of the Royal Family and Vulcan Krewe!
These guys welcomed all the cars as they arrived and posed for pictures!
Each car got a goodie bag with items, like a light-up snow wand, granola bars, and information about the event. There’s also a Bingo activity sheet you can turn in at the end if you want to do it for a chance to win prizes.
There were many sponsors of the event and so many cool sights to see (no pun intended).
The drive was slow – drivers are asked to turn off their headlights just like at other drive-thru events in the past year.
One of our favorite snow sculptures – the Mandalorian!
So many interesting sculptures of snow and ice, like a Viking (top right), and Gandalf’s scene from The Lord of the Rings “You shall not pass!” (lower left).
This was my favorite ice sculpture – I loved the colors! It was sponsored by the Minnesota State Lottery.
And guess what? At the end you could buy state fair food from your car!
You could either exit or drive to the food area, where there were several food trucks spaced apart.
You could buy eggrolls, pizza, Pronto Pups, Salted Nut Rolls, cheese curds, mini donuts, hot dogs, and so much more!
We couldn’t resist and got some pizza and garlic breadsticks!
I think this is a great family outing during a time when so many events are cancelled or limited. There were a variety of snow and ice sculptures, from cute to impressive to thoughtful. I don’t know if little kids would be as appreciative of it as older kids, as there wasn’t anything really entertaining or designed for young kids, but there is a BINGO/I Spy game included in the goodie bag that they can do, plus the goody bag has some fun things. Our time there was about 30 minutes, and it was continually moving so we never waited long. Plus being able to buy state fair food at the end was a nice bonus! If you can fit it in your budget, I would recommend it as a safe option for family fun.
The Saint Paul Winter Carnival Drive-Thru Ice & Snow Sculpture Park is January 28th – February 7th, 2021.
Timed ticket slots will be available every 30 minutes for the hours below.
Mondays – Thursdays 4 – 9:30 p.m.
Fridays 12 – 10 p.m.
Saturdays and Sundays 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Enter off Como Avenue. Event entrance is on the Ecolab Welcome Lot (Midway).
Tickets are being sold online at www.wintercarnival.com.
General Admission: $20 per vehicle (plus service fee)
Includes access for one vehicle plus UCare or Xcel Energy swag bag
Vulcan Torchlight Night – Feb. 6: $35 per vehicle (plus service fee)
Includes access for one vehicle after 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 6, plus one swag bag.
VIP Admission: $35 per vehicle (plus service fee)
Includes VIP lane access for one vehicle, a Winter Carnival ice scraper, an exclusive theme package, and one UCare or Xcel Energy swag bag filled with goodies.
Bus Admission – Feb. 3: $50 per vehicle (plus service fee)
10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (must be pre-approved)
For more information, visit the Saint Paul Winter Carnival website.
For more Minnesota Winter fun:
Print out my Free Winter Scavenger Hunt and explore the outdoors with your kids!
Get outdoors more with the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge!
Enjoy these drive-thru events in Minnesota this winter!
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(Disclosure: We received complimentary admission. All opinions are 100% mine.)