Daytripping: Kid Friendly Destinations in Minneapolis/St.Paul, Minnesota

Our travel series is back! If you are in Minnesota or plan to visit soon, Breezy Mama turned to Alice Tank Van Dyke, ForKidsEntertainment’s Minneapolis Kids Events Editor and our go-to guru who regularly updates things to do daily with kids in Minneapolis. Though she’s an expert at finding family events each day, we had her boil down her top 10 kid friendly places to visit in Minneapolis/St.Paul, Minnesota.

From Alice:

10. The Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul is a great place to start if you are looking for fun activities for children in the Twin Cities! Their permanent exhibits are spectacular, including: Our World, Rooftop Art Park, World Works, and Habitot. My personal favorite is Habitot. This is an exhibit that is perfect for infants and toddlers. They can explore, on hands and knees, a prairie, cave, pond or forest! Concerned about your tiny one being overrun by loud school groups? Psst… visit on No Group Tuesdays, for a more peaceful experience.

9. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is a wonderful place to visit with kids. This majestic building with its collection of priceless art from around the world seemed intimidating to me at first with lively children, but I have spent many days at the Institute with my kids. The variety of art, artifacts and the period rooms will engage your child for hours. The Institute has a Family Center on the first floor, for families with young children to take a break. Stroller parking, snack and private nursing areas, computer activities, games, and quiet reading areas will make your visit more comfortable and convenient.

8. The Minnesota History Center offers daily activities for kids. Grainland features a replica of a grain elevator that children of all ages can climb on. In MN150 try an interactive quiz show that will stump older children & even some of their parents! My favorite display though is Open House, which traces the history of a house in St. Paul, offering interesting information about the various owners. This exhibit is good for all ages. Don’t miss the outdoor garden with hopscotch and other children’s games.

7. Nickelodeon Universe is the nation’s largest family indoor theme park. Kids will enjoy thrill rides, family rides, and there are plenty of rides for younger children.

6. Lake Harriet Band Shell & Minnesota Streetcar Museum-Como-Harriet Streetcar Line is a fun-filled destination for any family! Lake Harriet is one of my favorite places in the Twin Cities. Biking and walking trails are kept clear year round. There are 2 beaches and a playground near the band shell. Canoe and paddleboat rental is available in the summer. The rose garden area (a short walk from the band shell) is a wonderful place to explore with small children. Two fountains, gorgeous roses & a big hill make it a perfect play & picnic place. Kids will love to ride the Como-Harriet Streetcar. The cars are historic streetcars from the 1900s. You can take a short round trip ride to Lake Calhoun and back, or get off at Lake Calhoun to explore, and return on a later ride. The conductor gives a short talk about the history of the streetcar line.

5. Families will love the Science Museum of Minnesota! Regular exhibits include Human Body Gallery, Cell Lab, Mississippi River Gallery, Dinosaurs and Fossils Gallery, Collections Gallery, Experiment Gallery, Science Buzz, Collector’s Corner, and Big Back Yard.

4. Minnesota Sea Life Aquarium features more than 5,000 sea creatures that you can see and even touch! Come face to face with sea turtles, sharks, stingrays and more. Now enjoy the new Mysteries of the Rainforest exhibit!

3. The Walker Art Center and sculpture gardens are not to be missed. Explore the sculpture gardens, including Claes Oldenburg’s famous spoon and cherry, and Frank Gehry’s glass fish. Enjoy kid activities in the Open Field and eclectic modern art in the museum.

2. A trip to the Twin Cities is not complete without a visit to the Mill City Museum! This Museum was once the world’s largest flour mill. Learn about the history of flour industry, the Mississippi River and the City of Minneapolis! Kids will enjoy baking classes, water activities, a thrilling elevator ride & scavenger hunts! This is a wonderful museum with interactive exhibits for all ages.

1. The Minnesota Zoo offers a new Black Bear Exhibit, Discovery Bay, World of Birds Show or just putting your feet up and enjoying the zoo from the vantage point of a monorail! I highly recommend the zoo for fun for all ages.

About Alice Van Dyke
Alice Tank Van Dyke is a busy mom of three, juggling activities for her kids, while managing her dance business –Kid Steps Dance Classes for Kids, bringing creative dance to preschools in the Minneapolis metro area– as well as her writing career.

Alice views each day as an adventure, even at home. She prides herself on discovering fun family events in her current home city of
Minneapolis. She is excited to share these events with her readers and be part of their adventure in the twin cities!

To view her page for things to do with kids in Minneapolis and to read more of her bio, click here!

To contact Alice, email

For tips on traveling with babies and kids, click here.

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