Best Twin Cities Baby Outings

Twin Cities Baby Outings
Everyone has their own schedule when they are ready to start getting out with baby. Some find staying home with baby cozy and relaxing for a time, while others need to get out right away. Once you are ready, we have a few ideas for great baby outings with the added bonus of some developmental benefits for baby.

Free Twin Cities Baby Outings

The Minneapolis Institute of Art

The MIA is my favorite place to visit with baby. There is a quiet room for nursing just off the block room and there is also a family restroom right there, so you can do a quick change when necessary. The galleries are roomy making it easy to navigate a stroller, although this would also be a great outing for a kangaroo carrier.

MIA Family Room Pillows.
We call it the “Block Room” – A great reason to visit the MIA with a Crawler.

Developmental Benefits: Visit the modern section with its bright colors, large shapes and high contrasts to stimulate babies growing brain and eye coordination. Learn more about visual stimulation for newborns from Dr. Sears.

Midtown Global Market

If it is nice out, you could trade this idea for a farmers market where you can also take advantage of the fresh air, but you can visit MGM even during the coldest Minnesota months. Get the open-market feel indoors. Browse their events calendar and you plan ahead for a little entertainment while you are there – there is often live music scheduled, kid-friendly bands, cultural festivals and other pop-up events.

Developmental Benefits: Get up and dance to the live music with your baby. According to What to Expect, active participation in music aids in brain development.

Baby Storytime at the Library

All of the local library systems offer some sort of baby storytimes. These developmentally targeted story hours are also a great way to mingle with other parents of babies. Parents can learn fun new ways to interact with their baby. We don’t track all of the library storytimes across the Twin Cities metro area on this page, but do keep up-to-date on our latest GUIDE TO FAMILY ACTIVITIES THIS WEEK.

We have roughly 101 library branches throughout the Twin Cities metro area. Look for Baby Storytimes and Playdates close to you:

  • Anoka County Library. Filter library events by Audience: Baby to find storytimes, play and learn, social hours and more.
  • Carver County Library. Filter the Carver Library calendar by Audience: Baby to find events. Note: I think this library is a little liberal in what they consider baby-friendly. You may need to further filter results by Category: Storytimes/Early Learning to filter out events obviously geared toward school-age kids.
  • Dakota County Library. Filter library events by Audience: Baby to find storytimes and more.
  • Hennepin County Library. Search EVENTS: Audience: Babies to find developmentally appropriate story times and play times.
  • Ramsey County Library. Filter library events by Audience: Baby to find storytimes, meet-ups, music and play times.
  • Saint Paul Library. Filter library events by Audience: Baby to find playdates, storytimes, and more.
  • Scott County Library. Filter library events by Audience: Baby. Besides storytimes, Scott County branches offer self-guided story stations geared toward baby through preschool audiences.
  • Washington County Library. Filter library events by Audience: Children age 0-5 to find storytimes and play dates geared toward the youngest children.

More: As baby starts to crawl and then toddle, check out Twin Cities Libraries with “Play and Learn” Spaces.

Mom and baby story time

Developmental Benefits: It’s never too early to instill a love of reading. Read more about the importance of baby storytime here.

Como Conservatory

If you are up to it, you can head out to the zoo for a short time, too. But the warm and soothing atmosphere of the conservatory feels like an ideal outing for baby. Besides the varied colors and patterns of the flowers, there are a variety of scents for babies to take in.

Toddler Girl Looking Through View Scope at Como Zoo, Saint Paul Minnesota
Checking out the big cats at Como Zoo

Developmental Benefits: Go in the early afternoon and the extra light exposure may help baby develop better sleep habits (Read the 2004 study here).

The Closest Park

In the early days, this can just be a stroller walk through the park, but once your baby can support itself sitting, you can use the baby swings, too.

Baby laughing in park swing

Developmental Benefits: Like the conservatory early afternoon light exposure may help baby develop better sleep habits. Maybe you’ll find, like the Finnish, that your baby benefits from outdoor naps while you get a little exercise pushing the stroller.

Paid Twin Cities Baby Outings

American Swedish Institute

Babies at the Castle is a program for parents and babies. Go on a 30-minute baby carrier tour of one in ASI’s Turnblad Mansion and its current exhibitions. followed by a short sensory play time, designed for babies up to 15 months. When they are a little older, you can graduate to the popularKids at the Castleprogram. Admission: $15 for adult and baby. Advanced registration is required.

Stroller Parking at the American Swedish Institute

Sea Life Minnesota

Normally, I would recommend the Minnesota Zoo over Sea Life since you get more for less, but when its just mom and baby this is less of a benefit. The price equals out when factoring in parking and the smaller, more contained space is a bit easier to navigate with baby. Sea Life is just inside the doors from the East Parking lot. If you want a break, pop into Barnes & Noble right around the corner. One of the two MOA public nursing rooms (East Mother’s Room) is right across the hall from Sea Life. (Since publishing this, Rosedale Center has opened a SeaQuest, offering an aquarium option for north metro families.)

Close up of a sea horse at Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium in the Mall of America, Bloomington, Minneapolis
Sea Horse

Developmental Benefits: Baby can follow the motion of the brighter-colored, slow moving fish to facilitate eye control.

ECFE Classes & Other Baby & Me Classes

Non-separating baby classes are taught by licensed Parent Educators. Each class includes music, play, reading activities and parent discussions. Bonus that you get time with other parents.

infant music class
Infant Music Classes from Songs with Sarah

Developmental Benefits: These classes are specifically geared toward age-appropriate developmental growth.

Minnesota Children’s Museum

The museum has a baby and toddler space called, Sprouts, where you can also find private nursing space and family restrooms.

Developmental Benefits: The Children’s Museum is all about learning through play, visit the Sprouts page for details on baby and toddler skill development from this exhibit.

A Few Other Baby Outing Ideas


I see the mall suggested as a good first outing. I may be biased since I’m not much of a mall person, but I find them overstimulating even for myself. It seems like it would too much for a baby to take in. My second problem is that my kids picked up Hand-Foot-Mouth disease at a mall play area. While I’m far from a germaphobe, that was enough to put me off of mall play areas after that experience.

Baby in a mall dressing room

Restaurants and Coffee Shops

If your goal is to just get out of the house, then these are good destinations. Anne has gathered a list of kid-friendly coffee shops here.

Two cafés, in particular, that are clean enough for crawlers:

We’ve also gathered a list of baby-friendly restaurants here. However, I see these as more of a way to get mom or dad out of the house with baby than a particular outing for baby.

Watch for Do Good Diapers Babies & Brews events at local pubs.

Baby eating in a restaurant

Inter-Generational Fun

Either visit the grandparents or visit one of the handful of Inter-Generational Events at local nursing homes.

Grandmother and baby reading a book

Mommy & Me Exercise Classes

Any of these classes would be a fun way to bond with baby if you are ready for exercise. I am so envious of moms who are able to jump back in. I plan for two years of exhaustion with every pregnancy — one during, one after. If you are not ready to exercise, trust me when I say the baby years pass fast even when you stretch them out over multiple kids. There will be time to get back into shape when you are not as exhausted.

Tori Levine, exercise
15 Barre Exercises with Baby


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