If you’re a parent who lives in an apartment, condo or townhome—or you’re a visiting family stuck in a hotel room—and you don’t have easy access to a backyard, finding outings for the family is important for everyone’s mental health. Last summer, I was counting down the days until my toddler took his first steps. Not only to reach such an exciting milestone, but because it meant we could go to the Minnesota Children’s Museum! We made our first trip last July, purchased a family membership, and have since been back several times. Who knew a place filled with screaming kids (all having fun, of course) would also be a great sanity break for mom and dad?
I’ve loved the Minnesota Children’s Museum ever since I went there as a kid, but I had no idea its breadth of fun until I returned as a parent. Last summer, with a 15-month-old, the Habitot room was our favorite place to be. It’s filled with ramps and steps to climb, tunnels to crawl through, a toddler-sized slide, and lots of materials to touch right at their level.
Now that my son is a little older, he can still enjoy Habitot, but rooms like Earth World, with its turtle tanks and kid-size ant hill, Our World, complete with a grocery store and city bus, and World Works, filled with problem-solving, real-world activities, are now just his size. Bigger kids can take advantage of the hands-on activities in these rooms even more, too.
During the summer, the museum lets the little ones get outside. The Rooftop ArtPark, up on the fourth floor of the museum, offers a safe place for kids to run around, dig in the sand, paint with water, and climb a tree fort; parents can just enjoy the sun and skyline view.
In addition to its permanent exhibits, the museum hosts traveling exhibits, too. We’ve enjoyed past exhibits that have highlighted our favorite storybook characters or taught us about the human body. On display now: Curious George: Let’s Get Curious (through October 7), which features science and math activities. Cyberchase: The Chase is On opens June 16 and is based on the PBS math mystery that presents math in a fun way.
Honestly, there’s something here for every kid up to age 10. The museum is stroller friendly if you’re bringing an infant along for the ride. It’s clean and safe, with ramp parking connected by skyway. It’s the perfect place for kids to get out any pent up energy. And the best part? They’ll sleep hard that night. I promise.
Tip: Head over the third Sunday of each month for free admission!