Winter Solstice World

5 Illuminating Ideas for the Winter Solstice

Last updated on November 13th, 2018

Did you know there are two winter solstices a year? One for the Northern Hemisphere and one for the Southern. This year, the solstice official time is at sunset on December 21nd at 4:23 pm. The day will be 6hrs and 51 minutes shorter than it was on the Summer Solstice in June. That is almost 7 hours less of daylight!

Are you getting a little depressed? I’m not! I’m actually excited. You have to know how to take advantage of our tilted earth and all its possibilities.

Here Are 5 Ways to Lighten up Your Winter Solstice:

1. Visit a Planetarium

If the weather cooperates, bring out your telescope and check out the stars. If you don’t have a telescope, you can always rent one with the Minnesota Astronomical Society. They also have a few designated viewing areas just outside the cities.  If the weather is not cooperating, go to a planetarium. We have three. The Como Planetarium in St. Paul, the Bell Museum of Natural History in Minneapolis, and the Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium in Duluth.

StarGazing Winter Solstice

 2. Go for a Christmas Light Tour.

The earlier nights will give you a more time to see some of the amazing light displays are around town. The MN Landscape Arboretums Making Spirits Bights is a great local destination. Or Kiwanis Holiday Lights display in Mankato is stunning.  Both displays allow you to get out of your car and explore the lights with the whole family. Just make sure to bundle up. For more idea’s on Christmas Light displays, check out Where to See Christmas Lights in MN

Tunnel of lights at Baking Spirits Brighter at the MN Landscape Arboretum

3. Moon Light Snowshoeing

Use the moonlight to go on a snowshoeing adventure in the cities. Most state parks, city, and regional parks have trails ready for you to explore. They even will rent out the equipment for you. I had the opportunity to do this with Women in the Woods with Wine at the Dodge Nature Center.

Snow Shoes

4. Mark the occasion at the American Swedish Institute!

The Amercian Sweedish Institute celebrates each year. Since pagan days, the winter solstice has meant the ‘year as reborn’. Enjoy a tour of the Turnblad Mansion during the celebration. They will have performances and other activities under the moonlight. Cost is $10 for adults and $5 for kids. No registration is required. 

The Turnblad Mansion


5. Take Shadow Pictures

Not everything about the winter solstice has to be at night. Because of the angle of the earth, your shadow will be extra-long. Take your kids out and get extra tall pictures. Or go into the forest and see what kinds of incredible shadows you can find.

Tree Shadows Winter Solstice

If you are still not excited about the thought of the longest night, don’t worry. December 21st also marks the date that we will reclaim more daylight each day. About 5 minutes each day! So hang in there. For those of you that love the night hours, what is your favorite PG to um let’s just say PG13 activity? Mine is movie night with the kids and some popcorn. For more exciting things to do this winter, check out A Minnesota Winter | 28 Things To Do in the Twin Cities.

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The shortest day or the longest night. Either way you look at it, the earth is pretty cool. Check out some of these ideas for ways to take advantage of the Winter Solstice in the Twin Cities. They won't disappoint.

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