In Minnesota, family fun outdoors means embracing all four seasons. If you are on this page because you are looking for a new Twin Cities-area park, playground or nature center to explore, hundreds of entries can be found through our Parks & Playgrounds Search feature. Or, continue searching hundreds more ideas of things to do with kids in the Twin Cities through our Family Directory, including family outings, services, classes, camps, birthday parties and more.
Family Fun Directory of Things To Do with Kids:
Located in Saint Paul, the Minnesota History Center contains permanent and rotating exhibits focusing on Minnesota history. Many of the exhibits are geared toward the youngest of visitors. This is a good starting point when beginning to explore all the historical offerings in our state. If you find your family gravitating toward a particular subject, The Minnesota Historical Society may have options for digging deeper at other sites or in the Gale Library.
What's FREE at the Minnesota History Center?
Children ages 4 and under and Minnesota History Society members are always FREE. Museum admission is FREE for everyone from 3:00–8:00 pm every Tuesday.
In 2018, the FREE Irvine Gallery opened. This rotating exhibit explores community stories and issues affecting Minnesotans today. The 678-square foot space on the museum’s first floor will showcase MNHS-developed exhibits as well as exhibits created by outside organizations. Entrance to the Irvine Gallery is free, and the gallery will be open during regular History Center hours.
The Gale Family Library is dedicated to the history of Minnesota, and Minnesota family lineage. If you are interested in learning about your family or doing a research project, this library is a great resource. There is no fee to use the library. Keep in mind that the library is non-circulating, so you can't check the information out and return it.
Current and Upcoming Exhibits at Minnesota History Center
The Minnesota History Center's exhibits include on-going exhibits and featured exhibits. Exhibits are designed for the whole family to enjoy with many hands-on activities: a soda fountain, ammunition assembly line, airplane staircase, wind machine and weather vanes, a house to explore and touch--and loads of information for adults to digest. Read about our top picks for kids at the Minnesota History Center.
Then Now Wow features:
The Grainland exhibit is a fun interactive exhibit where you get to be a kernel of grain and experience the inside of a working Grain Elevator.
Minnesota's Greatest Generation
Explore how one house in St. Paul was lived in at different times with families of different ethnicities: German, Italian, African, and Hmong. Make sure to sit on the bed in the bedroom, play lawn games in the backyard, and peek into the attic.
Learn how the Minnesota Somali community is affected by and affects our community from the history of the first wave of Somali immigrants in the 1990s to their community today. This exhibit was developed in partnership with the Somali Museum of Minnesota.
Now - Spring 2020: First Avenue: Stories of Minnesota's Mainroom
This exhibit exhibit takes you inside First Avenue, introducing the sights, sounds and stories of this landmark venue that opened in 1970 and put Minnesota music on the map. The exhibit draws from the MNHS Press book "First Avenue: Minnesota's Mainroom” by Chris Riemenschneider.
Opens Dec 7, 2019 (Multi-Year Exhibit): Our Home: Native Minnesota
Learn about Ojibwe and Dakota and their modern and historic traditions, stories, research and archaeology. This exhibit will change every few years.
Architecture Elements of the Minnesota History Center:
The Curtis JN-4 "Jenny" hanging from the ceiling
And if you just want to run around to blow off some steam, check out the plaza outside on the 2nd floor!
*some images are courtesy the Minnesota Historical Society, used with permission
This article originally published by Gianna Kordatzky - February 11, 2014
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