Wondering if the new branch of the Minnesota Children’s Museum at Mall of America is worth a stop? My short answer is yes, particularly if you are a museum member (which I have been for many years) and especially if you come planning to make a morning or afternoon of it at the Mall (which I did). As for the value in non-members making the trek out solely for the two exhibits at the mini-museum; that’s debatable. Personally, if I hadn’t been admitted free I would have thought paying $7.95 per person to play in the diminutive space at the Mall a bit steep when compared to paying only $2 more for all the flagship Minnesota Children’s Museum has to offer.
Currently, the two exhibits “playing” at the Mall are old favorites Ball-o-Rama and Dinosaurs: The Land of Fire and Ice. And when I say old favorites, I mean I was taking my firstborn through these same exhibits the better part of ten years ago. Now here I am with my baby — all four years of her — and she’s enjoying the same junior physics and paleontology lessons her brother did before. This brings me to the second factor in considering whether or not to head out to the Mall branch: the space and activities do not lend themselves to hosting an older crowd of kids. My opinion, if you’re looking to get your money’s worth, is that they are best suited for kids under six years of age.
Here’s a look at the current exhibits: Journey back to the time of the dinos with realistic sculptures, caves to crawl in, a junior fossil dig and other hands-on learning opportunities with Dinosaurs: The Land of Fire and Ice. Explore gravity and acceleration with a series of ramps, balls, and miniature golf holes in Ball-o-Rama. Below are my daughter’s favorites:
Bottom line: you’ll get much more bang for your buck (even with construction going on) and your older children will be more amused, at the Minnesota Children’s Museum in downtown St. Paul. But if you’re looking to spend a few hours at the Mall of America and take advantage of free activities like the Toddler Tuesdays program or the LEGO Store play tables, a visit to this museum branch rounds out a nice morning.
- Discount alert: through Feb. 6, 2016, both the Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul and the Mall of America branch are offering admission for $5/pp!