Pre-surgery tours: Children’s – St. Paul

Studies show that attending a pre-surgery program reduces anxiety and fear, decreases pain after surgery, and reduces recovery time and complications. Knowing what to expect makes anesthesia, surgery, and recovery less stressful for the whole family.

Program topics

Pre-surgery programs at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota are geared towards children 11 years old and younger. The program includes a tour of the facility, an opportunity for children to learn and explore through medical play and for parents to meet with staff to get their questions answered. Each program has a child life specialist who presents information about a child’s surgery in an age-appropriate manner. Even children who’ve had a previous surgery are still encouraged to attend.

Logistics: When and where

At Children’s – St. Paul, pre-surgery programs are held on Thursday evenings at 5:30 p.m. Please check in at the Welcome Center which is located on the first floor of Children’s Hospital. Parking is available in the Red Ramp connected to the Gardenview and hospital building (parking fees apply). See a map to the St. Paul campus.

Note:  Pre-surgery programs are held on Thursday evenings at 5:30 p.m., EXCEPT:

  • When a holiday falls on a Thursday, the program will be held on the Tuesday before the holiday. The following holidays are included: Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve/Day and New Year’s Eve/Day
  • If St. Paul Public Schools close early or cancel evening activities due to inclement weather, our tours will also be cancelled. Please check for updates.

For more information, or to register by phone, call 651-220-6116.


  • Who can come to the program? All family members are welcome. However, please do not bring anyone who has a cold, cough, other signs of infectious disease or has been exposed to chickenpox during the three weeks before the program. Exposure could mean canceling a surgery.
  • What if we cannot attend during the scheduled time? If you cannot attend during the scheduled time, contact the child life department at 651-220-6465 to make other arrangements.
  • What happens if my child is 12 years old or older? If your child is 12 years old or older, contact the child life department at 651-220-6465 with questions and concerns.
  • Do you have at-home resources for children who are scheduled for surgery? You can download our educational coloring book for young children scheduled for inpatient or outpatient surgery.



Hours, maps, and directions, plus team members and specialty services at each Children’s location.