So it’s late July and you’re looking for a place to take the kids and cool off. Bet you’d never think of the Firefighters Hall & Museum in Minneapolis, huh? I never guessed my kids would leave soaked to the skin either, but they did and they had a marvelous time getting there. I should have realized what was going to happen when two of the volunteers who run the museum started filling up these cool, old-fashioned hand pumpers with hoses attached. And brought out the bucket of squirters. (And then totally left us to our own devices out back behind the building.) I think one-third of the kids’ aim went towards fighting fires on the “fire wall” display and the other two-thirds went squarely at each other.
Luckily, we’d seen a good chunk of the museum before the waterworks. I appreciated all the hands-on touches, such as the chance to:
- climb into a fire truck cab and tinker with the switches, operate the lights
- steer a ladder truck in a simulator
- pull an old fire alarm box and find out how the signal was received in re-created “Station 8”
- work an old fire station switchboard
- slide down the pole!
- try on firefighter duds
- And take a ride through the neighborhood on a real fire truck! (Be sure to eat your lunch at least an hour in advance.)
The friendly volunteers are a wonderful resource if your kids have questions or would like to see how some of the equipment works. And keep in mind, it’s a museum dedicated to fire, but it’s a surprisingly refreshing way to spend a summer day.
Firefighters Hall & Museum
664 22nd Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418
Hours: Open Saturdays 9am – 4pm or by appointment.
Admission: $7/adults, $5/seniors, $4/children ages 3-12