Children’s Museum: This is by far the best kid museum fun in the Twin Cities. The museum is closed for remodeling but will re-open Spring 2017. In the interim, there is an outpost at the Mall of America. They have Target free days the third Sunday of the month.
History Center Family Day: This is a fantastic kid-friendly museum! Currently, it’s my favorite museum to take my kids. We attended a special Spring Break event for children but the museum also hosts WOW moments on the last Sunday of the month and other special family days throughout the year. I was thoroughly impressed with the kid-friendly exhibits. The exhibits have hands-on elements, imaginative play, and lots of active play. You can don a hard hat and go “underground” to mine for ore and set off dynamite. You can open up a buffalo and scan its insides to see what body part you’re holding. You can go inside a war plane and in a basement during a tornado. You can play in a tee-pee, sod house, streetcar, railroad car, 1950’s ice cream parlor, and more! The grain elevator is an actual play structure. Plus, the museum itself is beautiful. We didn’t eat at the Market House Cafe but it smelled good. The only downside is that with limited street parking you will most likely pay for parking in their lot. The museum is free on Tuesdays from 3-8. They also have a Limited Income Program for discount tickets.
Science Museum: I loved going to the Science Museum back in the day, and now I am happily experiencing the museum with my kids. Not all the exhibits are toddler-friendly, but there’s enough to keep them interested and occupied – dinosaur bones, musical stairs, puzzles, a boat, etc. It’s a fun space to explore inside and out. In summer, take a walk around the building and you’ll see some gorgeous views of the Mississippi river. If you get a chance to visit on one of the few days when they have the back rooms open, do it. We got to see all sorts of fun stuff that’s normally packed away. There were a couple hands-on activities, such as fossil hunting, and lots to see and learn. There are wonderful treasures back there. I only wish they opened the back rooms more often. The museum also has a Toddler Tuesday with activities geared toward the younger set.
Kids at the Castle, Fridays at American Swedish Institute: I love the American Swedish Institute! The Turnblad Mansion alone is worth a trip. It’s a beautiful mansion, especially when it’s decorated for the holidays, and it’s very kid-friendly. The Kids at the Castle activities include a story, a hunt-and-find activity, and an art project. The third floor of the mansion has a colorful play area with a kitchen, toys, bean bag chairs, easels and more. The restaurant, Fika, has a box full of books and other kid fun and in summer there is a play cart out in the courtyard. After the Kids in the Castle fun, grab lunch or a treat from Fika – quite literally the icing on the cake for my kids! Wednesdays they host an “After Work” happy hour event for a fun and romantic date sans kids. (The pictures in this post are from our trip to ASI.)
Pre-K Mondays at the Works Museum: The museum is great for kids who love to build and explore. On pre-k days they have an art project and activities geared toward the youngsters. Some stations were physically advanced for pre-ks, some stations didn’t hold my toddler’s interest, and some might have caught her attention with a little more direction or a purpose, but there was plenty of other stuff to interest her and make it a fun trip. My youngest liked building towers with giant blocks and my pre-ker enjoyed rolling wheeled objects that she had built down a ramp.