Hats off to the Mill City Museum for going above and beyond simply keeping the kids in mind when they designed their space. After announcing to the preschooler that we were spending the afternoon at a museum she immediately demanded to know, “Is it a museum where we can touch things?”
And the answer is yes, child. A resounding yes. You and your sibs can not only get your little hands on the exhibits at Mill City Museum, but build, design, splash, taste and play with them. I wouldn’t be nearly so enthusiastic to take you if that were not the case.
Top 10 activity picks for kids at Mill City Museum
Straight from my children (whom I’ve brought ages 0-10 years), here are the Top 10 activity picks for kids at Mill City Museum:
1. Water play tables
The Water play tables demonstrate the river’s role in powering the early mills. Any museum that includes the chance to splash is an instant hit — thank goodness for the hand (and clothes) dryers.
2. A train play table
The train table gives kids a chance to simulate the path of flour from the farm to factory, then onto shipment down the river.
3. Life Size Puzzles
Putting together the life-size puzzles. The littlest one tired of this quickly, but the grade schooler determinedly put the whole puzzle together then flipped it over and did the other side. If the museum isn’t too busy, you can then turn the blocks and put together a different puzzle.
4. Tasty samples at the Baking Lab
The Baking Lab is always whipping up some tasty samples.
5. Play Doh
Yes, it’s usually a household staple, but at the museum there’s no need to clean up! Find it in the Baking Lab along with other hands-on activities.
6. Old-Fashioned Kitchen Play
Whip up a feast for the threshers’ dinner table using a wood-burning stove and mouth-watering props.
7. Design-your-own-cereal-box with felt scraps
A simple activity to remind kids that many of our favorite cereals started here.
8. Explore the Ruins
If weather permits, spend some time wandering the ruins of the Mill City Museum Courtyard. The indoor exhibits are built right into the remains of the Washburn A Mill, destroyed by fire in the 1960’s.
9. The Flour Tower
I debated adding this grown up favorite — a multimedia attraction that involves an 8-story elevator ascent. Most of my littles refused to ride it because there’s a simulated explosion during the show, but it’s a must-see for older kids and adults.
10. The Observation Deck
Once atop the museum, the view from the observation deck includes mill ruins, the Stone Arch Bridge, and the Falls that started it all.
Mill City Museum, 704 S 2nd St, Minneapolis
Hours/Admission: Find Current Hours & Admission Here.
Parking information here.