“We set out to have an event that provides family-friendly activities for our community,” said Madelyn Grogan, director of education at the Washington Pavilion.

On February 20, buckle up the kiddos and head to the Washington Pavilion lobbies to experience Family Gras, a kid-safe Mardi Gras celebration taking place between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

“This is a great opportunity for families to get out of the house and spend the day together,” explained Grogan.

And it won’t cost a dime.

“Families should attend because it is a fun, safe, and free event for them to enjoy,” added Jason Pfitzer, director of Washington Pavilion guest services and sales.

Event activities span from mask decorating and Mardi Gras-themed slime to mascots and live entertainment.

“Our activities allow families to have the fun of creating without having to clean up the mess.” -Madelyn Grogan

Throughout the celebration, kids and adults alike will have the opportunity to hang out with the pavilion’s mascot, Radley Rex, and meet some princesses and fairies. Little Mermaid, Ice Queen, Ice Princess, and Tinker Fairy will all be attending.

“This truly is an event for all ages,” said Grogan. “Our wide variety of live entertainment and activities provide something for everyone.”

Get down and dirty in Jack’s Imagination Lab on the second floor and experiment with slime.

Extra Experiences

With paid admission, or free with an active membership, achieve access to extras in the pavilion museums and the Wells Fargo CineDome.

Spin Art // Raven’s Children’s Studio in the Visual Arts Center // 11:30 a.m.

Balloon Drop // Second floor of the Kirby Science Discovery Center // 12:30 p.m.

Pipestone Plinko Pig Facts // Third floor of the Kirby Science Discovery Center

“America’s Musical Journey” // Wells Fargo CineDome // 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m.

Don’t forget to catch one of the three children’s parades set to begin at noon, 1 p.m., and 2 p.m. 

Phil Baker is wonderful at interacting with children and making his shows interactive,” said Grogan.

Musician Phil Baker will lead these with his signature catchy tunes and red guitar, teaching kids about the world with Music for a Kid’s Life.

“Phil Baker performs three times for 30 minutes each,” said Pfitzer. “The other entertainers go all day.”

Be sure to look around for Mr. Twister, the balloon enthusiast, and magician Travis Nye.

Mr. Twister creates balloon art from squiggly, eccentric hats to sculptures to the standard balloon animal.

Nye the Magic Guy

Magician Travis Nye runs Spellbound Magic Shop and Theater in Sioux Falls where he offers tricks for all magic skill levels. He’s also made on-screen appearances on America’s Got Talent, ABC, and more.

When you find Nye, find out what tricks are up his sleeve because after 17 years of practicing magic, he’s got a bucket full. 

“The music is for younger children, while the some activities and the magic is for older kids,” Pfitzer said.

When you work up an appetite, there will be plenty of options at concessions and Leonardo’s Café to satisfy the grumbling.

Pfitzer says there will be beignets, cotton candy, hot dogs, chili dogs, walking tacos, and sloppy joes. 

The Washington Pavilion is partnering with the City of Sioux Falls and Experience Sioux Falls to present a series of events called Sioux Falls Alive, following special safety precautions that can be found on the Washington Pavilion website.

Grogan said, “We hope Family Gras is a fun environment for families with live music, art and science activities, and delicious food.”

For more information, visit washingtonpavilion.org.

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